Pet Rescue/Adoption/Rescue dog behavior


QUESTION: "Our 5 year old spayed rescue dog, recently lost her pal. We adopted a 9 month recently neutered rescue dog. One of the dogs has thrown up a little in the next room. We suddenly heard them really fighting. My husband had to separate them and put the new dog in a cage. When we let him out 10 minutes later, the dogs got along fine.  Any ideas why they had the fight.  My husband and I went out for New Years. We put the dog in a sturdy metal cage for 4.5 hours. When we got home he had mangled the side of the cage and partially pushed out the back. He is a sweet dog but we are getting concerned that these are bad signs. If we can't contain him in a cage when we are out, until we know that we can trust him, I don't know how we can keep him. Any suggestions?"

Sorry to hear the problems have escalated with him. I'll start with the crate. There are crates they claim are escape proof. Scroll down this page: there are three on that page. I'm sure there are others to choose from if you google them.

Without being there observing I'll give my best guess as to what is happening. I can't really find a way to put this delicately; the vomit fight may have been over who was going to get to eat it. Dogs often eat their own vomit. This could be a sign of food aggression between them so watch them when they eat. I'd feed them away from each other.

The new dog is still finding where he fits in with your family and the other dog. To build his confidence you could try some training. Many pet stores like Petco & Pet Supplies Plus offer dog training at a really low price. Training makes him easier to control and also builds his confidence.

I have had issues with dog fights. To safely separate them take one by the back legs lifting the back end off the floor and back up with him/her. That way you don't get bitten during the scuffle. Depending on how intense things are you may need to do this with both of them at the same time.

The adjustment phase with a new rescue isn't always easy but worth it. I hope I was able to help and things calm down in your home.

Happy New Year!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your redponse.  I don't think it is good aggression. The eat near each other and then lick each others Niels and then play.  They share toys without incident. Since the one incident where we had to intervene which the mounting, Dexter tried to mount Roxie twice. She gave him a warning both times and he backed right off.  Could the all out fight have settled things?  We separated them for about 10 minutes after the fight and when they were reintroduced, they were fine. Now they are laying bear each other.

The crate we got from the rescue group is supposed to be heavy duty

Hi Amy,
Glad to hear they eat well together. Makes me wonder if the fight was caused from him trying to mount her again. Whatever caused it, it sounds like they found some kind of peace. I hope that it continues. I have two dogs that have scuffles. Most of the time they get along great. One of them just doesn't know when to stop until the other one stops her. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often. I hope your dogs have come to an understanding. I can't promise it will never happen again but for now it seems they've made peace. It can take up to six months for a dog to calm down after neutering. Takes that long for the testosterone levels to decrease. So you may or may not have other attempts for the next few months.

One of my adopters had to get the extra sturdy crate for her dog. She could break out of anything. Until she got heavy duty one. Some dogs just can't tolerate confinement for any length of time and become destructive. Before getting the heavy duty cage she left the dog locked in a room. The dog destroyed all the drywall and carpeting. But she swears by the extra strength cage. They are expensive. You could also get a cage bigger than the one you are using and put his cage inside that one. It may be cheaper to go that route. People sell them cheap at yard sales and craigslist. Just be sure to bleach it out really well before using any used cages for your dog.

I can tell by your letters how much love and compassion you have for your dogs. They are very lucky to have you!
I hope I was able to provide some assistance.

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Ruthie Augustein


Ask me anything about rescue and adoption. I've been involved in rescue for over twenty years. I have experience in rehabbing abused dogs, adoptions and rescue efforts.


I've run my own rescue for over twenty years. I have experience with timid and/or aggressive dogs. I have a 99% successful adoption rate. I am a hands on and out of my home rescuer.

I've written numerous (published) open letters to the local papers.

It's been a hands on experience. Though I have read and continue to read everything I can on the topic.

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