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Dogs/odd behavior


Hi! I have a question about my aunt and uncles dog, Ellie. She is a mixed breed about medium size short hair and around 6 years old. They've had her for many years. We've brought our 7 year old female Brittany spaniel, Dixie out there to play with her for the past few years and they have always gotten along, just a few playful fights. Just a few weeks ago Ellie attacked our dog Dixie but we stopped Ellie. It happened again not long after that and she was biting onto my dogs neck and it was kinda bad but we stopped her. Now they told me that Ellie just killed a wood chuck. We are now scared to bring Dixie out there because Ellie has started this behavior. Like I said, they've had her for many years and she's never acted like this. They're now thinking about maybe giving her away. Is there a cause for this behavior? I don't think it's normal, but if it's how she's going to be for the rest of her life then they may give her away. I'm thinking there could be a reason she has started this scary behavior but I'm not sure. Any advice would be great!


Hi Kyle,

It is more common to have aggression problems between two female dogs, than it is to have aggression problems between two neutered males, or a male and a female. Ellie killing a woodchuck has nothing whatsoever to do with your your dog though.
If it's safer not to bring your dog to your uncles home because the dogs have been fighting, do not bring your dog to your uncles home. Either that, or make sure both dogs are kept on their leashes at all times, so that they could be easily separated at the first sign of aggression.

It is not at all unusual that any dog would go after a woodchuck, if it had the opportunity. Many dogs have the natural instinct toward some predatory behavior. Just about any small animal can trigger the dog's predatory response.  It's up to us, as their keepers to be mindful of this and prevent situations that could be dangerous. Nobody would be able to tell you why exactly Ellie has suddenly gotten it into her head to go after woodchucks after all this time.

The answer is not to give Ellie away because of the woodchuck incident, the answer is for your uncle to supervise his dog.  Now that Ellie is in the habit of looking for woodchucks, this behavior may continue. Your uncle could also take steps to remove the woodchucks from his property. Giving away a dog that's been loved after 6 years seems like overkill, when diligent supervision and training is the answer. You can read suggested methods of training a dog out of predatory behavior, here:

Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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