Hi I wonder if anyone has any advice? I have two Border Terriers - boy 3 years old, girl 2 years old. My Sister has come to live with me, she too has two Border terriers - boy 8 years old, girl (my boys Sister) 3 years old. Everything has been fine for the last 7 months, now suddenly the two girls hate each other. The four dogs have lived very happily together, eating, playing and walking together every day since May this year. They have had three nasty fights over the past week, so we are now keeping them apart by living in different parts of the house. Not an ideal situation for any of us. We have had the pups since they were 8 weeks old. All of them have been neutered. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Post by BorderTerrier on Nov 12, 2013 18:05:07 GMT
Wow, 4 Borders in the house, sounds a dream to me, the owner of 1!
The situation you are in is quite bizarre, as you say you have had the pups since they were only 8 weeks old and the bitches were fine until only recently. Sometimes dog owners are warned that two bitches are more likely to fight than males and males, or males and bitches, but of course every situation is different and complex and it depends on what the dogs in question are like.
I would suggest you re-introduce them. Try it in a natural environment at first, as dogs are more likely to accept one another when they are on strange land, and it is not their housing quarters. Make sure you do this slowly however - rushing them smack bang together at step 5 when it would take 10 steps will most likely send you back to step 1!
Best of luck and hope your BT's can soon live a life in harmony together.
deb;Could it be the dogs have come to realise the situation is permanent and are staking their claim? When we adopted our late F.C.R. she used to steal things from our B.C. he didn't mind,and allowed her to do it.After a while,he started grabbing things back from her,(but wasn't aggressive).We laughed and said he has realised she isn't a guest. It must be a very difficult situation,and the smallest thing could have triggered it.Is there anything however small that could be the reason? You really need some expert advice,as you can't carry on living in separate parts of the house.Hope someone on the forum can help you.Good luck.
Thank you all for your replies. Both girls have been taken to the vet, both on pain killers and anti-biotics for the bites they've inflicted on each other. We have had some advice from a dog behaviourist, but I think it is going to be a long hard road ahead. A professional dog handler has also suggested the slow reintroduction on neutral territory. We are willing to try anything to keep our family of humans and dogs together. The behaviourist wants the wounds to heal first, as one of them (the youngest) seems very subdued just at the moment and has lost her confidence. Will keep you posted how we get on.
Just an update on the two girls. Nothing seems to be working to make them tolerate each again, so we have fenced off half the garden, and my Sister and her dogs live in the annex away from the main house. Not ideal, but neither of us can bear to rehome either one. It has changed our lives completely, but we feel this is the best option for us for now. If anyone comes up with any miracle cures, please let me know!
deb004, thank you for updating us. So sorry nothing seems to work although it can take quite some time to to see results. Luckily it seems that you have the space to find a solution, although not ideal.
Happy days with Roman, Osiris & Lexie (remembering Chloe & Penny)
Hello! Sorry to hear that things aren't working out with the two dogs. Have you found any trigger for the aggression or is it immediate upon seeing eat other?
I don't know if this would work for dogs, but it works for cats and it might be worth a try... Start feeding the two girls on each see of a door, when they are totally comfortable with this, feed them and part way through open the door just a minuscule bit, they shouldn't really be able to see each other very well through it but will be able to smell and hear each other very well. Once they are okay with this and you have them happily eating like this for a few nights, try opening it slightly more and repeating. don't allow them to be able to actually get at each other, having a stair gate on once side should help this. Eventually after a few weeks or even months you should be able to feed them on each side of a stair gate in full view of each other, and then you can begin trying to introduce them slowly as you would introduce two unknown adult dogs. i would recommend getting in another behaviourist for the first meetings (Not the feeding part, thats preparation!) because you may find that you and your sister worry and that can panic the dogs. You can both work on your own fear in time but it is vital that you don't accidentally make the dogs nervous, so a behaviourist should be able to help with that.
It should work, as dogs can be very possessive of their food and if they are able to happily eat so near the other one, then they should be more comfortable around each other. It also means that over the period of weeks or, better for these dogs months, they are associating something very positive with the other dog, as basically every time they are good around the other dog they get a very good food reward (since its hard to eat while being aggressive haha). You may find that in the beginning of each stage they growl while eating but this should calm down after a while so don't worry, don't give up and don't go too fast for the dogs or it will set them back. While doing this try to stop all other contact between the dogs (So they can't see each other through the fence or anything), so that they aren't able to get any negative experiences with each other.
As I say I've only done this with cats, and it would be important to find out if there are any underlying causes for the aggression, but it should work very well with dogs.
Just remember that on a first meeting off lead they will want to establish who is of a higher rank which can look like fighting but isn't, another reason it would be important to have a behaviourist there so that they can distinguish between the two types of fighting and can ensure that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible. hopefully one will submit quickly and they can slowly become friends. After the first meeting like this don't suddenly put the dogs together no matter how well it went. Have first meetings in various places and situations, and slowly increase the time they spend together, and continue feeding them within sight of each other. Don't have the males with them during these meetings for a while incase the males are a trigger, eventually you can introduce the males into the scene as though they were two new dogs.
Hope this helps, I know it would work with some dogs as long as it is done with patience and not too fast. Hope it works out! It would be interesting to find out what caused the change in behaviour as that could be a key to fixing it.
Are your girls spayed?...the most common cause of fighting is hormonal fighting especially in adolescent/juvenile bitches.
I have never had this problem myself but having to have baby gates/or other forms of separation does not seem the ideal situation and hopefully you can find something that works but if it does not you may have to admit defeat and rehome one or both?