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!
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,