Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Two: Bites

Last week, I covered the scenario leading up to a devastating incident in which my younger dog, Trout, attacked my older dog, Layla, and the two dogs fought. While the fight was ended quickly with the fast actions of myself and my boyfriend, the injuries that the two dogs sustained took a bit longer to heal. This week, I want to talk about the story the injuries told me.

Where a dog bites another dog is very meaningful. Different bite locations tell us about the dog’s intentions during the fight – one reason why I always ask where one dog bit another when I’m working dog aggression cases. The severity of the bites is also very meaningful and gives a good idea of how safe the dog is to work with. Past history is a great indicator of future behavior, which means that knowing where and how hard Layla and Trout have bitten other dogs can tell us a lot about what they’re likely to do in the future.

IMG_1941After the fight, both dogs had injuries. Trout’s injuries initially appeared worse. She had a gash over her eye that was bleeding profusely and was eventually closed with two sutures, as well as punctures on her cheek and ear that were also bleeding but which didn’t require any medical care other than thorough cleaning. Since she’s a white dog, the blood from her wounds was starkly visible and very shocking. She fussed at her injuries, trying to paw at the gash above her eyebrow, so her paws quickly became red with blood too. She also had blood around her mouth from Layla.

Injuries to the face and ears such as those Trout received are the most typical injuries sustained in dog fights, and they can certainly be alarming at first. Ears and tongues especially tend to bleed alarmingly, and the wounds on ears often have trouble clotting as the dog shakes his or her head, reopening the wound and causing further damage (not to mention the crime-scene-like atmosphere that the splatter of blood such head shaking creates).

That said, injuries to the face tend to be the least concerning to professional dog behavior consultants. They’re the most common, as the skin there is thin and easily torn, and are also indicative that the dog(s) were not fighting with serious intent to harm but rather disagreeing. It’s the difference between a bar-room scuffle and a knife fight in an alley – there may be a broken nose or cracked knuckles in the bar room brawl, but no one’s actively trying to kill their combatant. Dogs who bite at other dogs’ faces or ears are angry, but not usually serious about causing damage.

Next up in the hierarchy of seriousness are bites to the sides of the neck, shoulders, or hips. These bites are a sign that the dog is taking the fight to the next level, but still is not yet intent on causing serious harm. Even more concerning are dogs who bite at the base of the skull, over the jugular, or on the other dog’s legs. These dogs are trying to disable or kill their opponent. The very most serious of dogs, who typically go for the underside of their opponent in an attempt to disembowel them, are intent not on disabling but on causing death, and dogs who injure in this way should never again be allowed in the presence of other dogs without extremely careful management such as the use of leashes and basket muzzles.

IMG_1943Layla’s injuries initially didn’t look too serious. She was missing tufts of fur and had extensive bruising over her chest and breastbone, and a deep gash on her right hind leg just above her knee. However, these bite wounds concerned me much more than Trout’s very visible and bloody battle scars. The wound in Layla’s back leg required the placement of a drain, and the entire wound took eight sutures to close. Layla was not able to bear much weight on that leg for close to 24 hours, and even today after the external wound has healed she still experiences some weakness and trembling in that leg after exertion, for which we’ve made an appointment with a veterinary rehabilitation specialist.

Bruising without punctures - a Level 2 bite.

Bruising without punctures – a Level 2 bite.

So, what do the pattern of Layla’s injuries tell us? Trout began by biting me on the elbow as I attempted to block her attack, bruising but not puncturing the inner part of my arm. This sort of bite is considered a Level 2 bite out of 6 using Dr. Ian Dunbar’s bite scale, which starts with Level 1 bites (snapping without making contact) and ends at Level 6 bites (where the dog kills the victim or consumes flesh). Generally, euthanasia is recommended as the safest option for dogs who cause Level 4 or higher bites, which refers to dogs who bite deeply enough to puncture more than half the length of their canine tooth, and who may grab the victim and shake or tear flesh as they slash.

After launching herself over me, Trout then began biting at Layla’s chest and over her breastbone, again bruising (and removing tufts of fur), but not puncturing. During this time, she had decent bite inhibition, a term that refers to how strongly a dog bites down. Bite inhibition is one of the most accurate predictors of rehabilitation in dogs. A dog who snaps without making contact or who bites without puncturing skin is much less likely to cause serious damage in the future, while a dog who has hurt another dog badly enough to require medical attention is much more likely to cause that level of damage in the future.

The fact that Trout was biting at Layla’s chest and over her breastbone tells us that she was much more serious about “winning” the fight than was Layla, who was biting at Trout’s face in an attempt to back her off. However, initially Layla had worse bite inhibition, actually breaking skin on Trout rather than just bruising. This is something I know about Layla, and one of the main reasons I am so careful when introducing her to new dogs. While she’s never seriously hurt another dog, she’s punctured the skin on a face or ear on a handful of occasions.

The intensity of the fight likely escalated after Layla physically hurt Trout. Trout suddenly became even more serious, biting Layla’s back leg badly enough to badly injure her. This wound was deep and wide, as Trout grabbed onto Layla’s leg with all the force she had and then shook her head from side to side. Layla also had bruising and extensive swelling on the back side of this same leg, and I suspect that had we not intervened Trout would have continued to try to seriously injure or kill her housemate. Note that I don’t think that Trout initially meant for the fight to go so far. The earlier bites where she only bruised rather than puncturing tell a story of a dog who started something she wasn’t able to handle, then likely got scared and began to fight more intensely. Of course, guessing this is anthropomorphic and it’s entirely possible that there were other motivations driving Trout’s actions. However, since we can’t ask her and she can’t tell us, I can make a good guess about what happened based on the evidence at hand.

As you can see, knowing the level of commitment and seriousness that different bite locations and varying bite inhibition levels convey provides a great deal of information on the involved dogs’ intentions. They also tell us a lot about safety, providing insights into the future behavior and possible liability repercussions of working with any given animal. Any dog who has done damage to another in the past is likely to repeat that performance given the wrong set of circumstances, and it’s important to go into any behavior modification program with your eyes wide open to the future possibilities of working with your dog. As sad as it can be, I absolutely believe that euthanasia is an appropriate choice in certain dog-dog aggression cases if your dog’s past history indicates a serious danger to other dogs in the future. And of course, no dog who has injured another should ever be bred, as there’s often a strong genetic component to dog aggression.

However, that doesn’t mean that all dog aggression cases warrant euthanasia, and it’s also important to know that given sufficient management and training, dogs who have a history of causing harm can absolutely live out the remainder of their lives safely and happily. In fact, this is one of the most common behavioral cases I take on, as I love helping people have success with their dog aggressive or reactive dogs.

Next week, I’ll discuss what I did to keep Layla and Trout safe after their fight. In the future, I’ll also discuss what I did to help the two girls learn to live peacefully with one another again. I’m happy to report that, other than some lingering weakness in Layla’s hind leg, both girls’ injuries have completely healed, and they’re back to coexisting well. In the meantime, have you ever witnessed a dog fight? What did the injuries tell you about the dogs’ varying intents? Please share your experiences in the comments section below!

56 responses to “Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Two: Bites

  1. Sent from Yahoo Ma

  2. This is super interesting! We have had intermittent fights in our multi-dog household over the years. I haven’t ever thought about bite location so explicitly, but the scale you describe aligns with my experience of less versus more bad fights. The worst dog was a 23 lb Shi Tzu mix who was very quick to jump into conflict (though she didn’t initiate) but went directly to the back legs and would latch on. Twice my husband was bitten in the face because he picked up another dog to try to get it out of the fight, and this little dog would leap up and hang off the other dog’s back legs (and yes, perfect example of why NOT to try to break up a dog fight like this…).

    The aspects of that dog’s behavior that I focused on more was her desire to jump into fights with little provocation, and her lack of interest to leave the fight when she had the opportunity. I generally think that most dogs would prefer to avoid a fight, and I’ve routinely seen my other dogs greatfully remove themselves from a fight as soon as they can. By that I mean that if dogs A and B are fighting and I can restrain A, B will immediate cease and remove themselves rather than continuing to attack at A. For years I knew that if my #1 reactive dog who would initiate fights got into a fight, I had to grab and restrain her because she would keep trying to re-engage. It was a huge turning point when I saw her starting to actively avoid conflict and appease the other dogs to avoid trouble, and when she took an opportunity to disengage herself from a fight.

    Anyway, I managed to send that little Shi Tzu back to my in-laws from whence she came, where she is the only dog. Thank goodness she was so small, as a larger dog with that behavior would have inflicted serious damage. I probably would seriously consider euthanasia for a larger dog who behaved that way, and certainly would not keep a dog like that in my multi-dog household.

    Looking forward to your next installment!

  3. I have a newly rescued Pit Bull Mix. Male, 2 1/2 yrs 42lbs. He lives with three other dogs all get along great. The other dogs are smaller, except one his size. They play rough but play well. I have a friend with a 100lbs Shepard who comes over often. The Shepard is 11yrs, and has spent his entire life in a kennel. His owner was afraid due to his size, but he is a gentle giant. It took me 3 yrs for her to trust having her dog around other dogs. One day Morgan (Shepard) was over at my house. He and Rascal (Pit Bull) were playing chase in the yard. When they came up on the deck, they were a little crowded, since Morgan loves Rascal, and was getting into his space. Not sure what set it off, think it was due to us playing with a laser just before, (laser is now in the trash), but suddenly Rascal had Morgan pinned on his back. When I got them seperated, Rascal had no marks, but Morgan was limping and crying. He was also shaking all over. After removing Rascal to another room, I examined Morgan. (His mama was in tears and shaking just as bad) There were no punctures, or blood. His shoulder was soaking wet from siliva. I believe he pulled a muscle which was causing his limp. He walked it off in about 20 minutes. I brought Rascal out then on a leash and they seemed to be fine. Rascal was acting submissive because he knew he did wrong. When I brought Morgan over to my house the next day, Rascal ran right up to him, kissing the leg he attacked the day before. I am always keeping a close eye on them, but believe it was a fluke, but taking no chances. Rascal has two healed bite wounds on him from before I rescued him. One on the shoulder, and the other on the side of his neck.

  4. Amelia Looper

    I’m wondering to what extent one should take the size of the dog into consideration when looking at location as well. One of my dogs has been in a couple of fights over the years and has always lightly scratched up the legs of the other dog, but she is only 12 inches at the withers. Given that the bites were inhibited I assumed she just went for what was closest to her face, not that she was trying to disable the other dog. Another example, at a clinic where I worked we had a Beagle come in multiple times for severe bite wounds to the back from a Dane. Maybe this isn’t true, but I feel like I’ve heard before that another bite site of less concern is the loose skin of the scruff or back. But given the severity of the Dane’s bites to the Beagle, I worried that in a fight with a larger dog the Dane would have gone for the belly and killed the other dog. Not that a small dog isn’t perfectly capable of rearing up and biting a larger dog in the face, or that a large dog isn’t perfectly capable of going for the underside of a smaller dog. But in the heat of the moment, when there’s a large size difference, might they go for the easiest target?

  5. Very interesting, I had not previosly considered that the location of the bite may have any significance

  6. Jeffrey Baker

    My dog has been involved in two fights at the dog park where she may have bit the other dog. In the first case, she got into a fight with a pet wolf (yes, it was/is a full-blooded timber wolf). That dog was much taller than Ruby, my 75 lb pit bull. As the fight never progressed to the point where the animals ended up on the ground, the legs may have been the only thing Ruby had access to (her head is about level with the wolf’s knees).

    The other fight was with another pit bull that weighed about 20 pounds less than Ruby. The other dog started the fight (it lasted less than 15 seconds), and after the fight the other dog had a bite on its legs. I’m not entirely convinced that Ruby was the cause of that bite. The other dog had been in tussles with several other dogs that day. I did not see Ruby bite the other dog’s legs, and, I was right on top of the fight when it started.

    Neither bite required stitches, but, is this something I should be worried about?

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      Although the the bites were not severe, it does sound like Ruby’s tendency is to go for the legs — disabling bites. Were they front legs or rear? If I suspect that size differential and access may be influencing bite location, I’m going to be less concerned about front leg bites and more concerned about rear leg bites.

      I would be worried for the following reasons. First, these *are* leg bites, not face bites, and that is somewhat more concerning as to intention. Normally a snap or “nip” to the face should be plenty to resolve a normal social conflict. Second, Ruby’s breed does play into this a bit. Some pit bulls do retain strong instincts to fight to kill. This is what makes a game bred, original pit bull a pit bull, just as actually being able to herd sheep is what makes a border collie a border collie. This type of aggression is very easily triggered in some dogs, or with greater difficulty in others. There is, in my opinion and experience, a greater *chance* that a pit bull will escalate to kill bites out of a situation that most other dogs will resolve with little contact (or that most other dogs wouldn’t even respond to with aggression). Your Ruby is enormous for a pit bull, so she has the ability to do a lot of damage.

      Third — you did not mention this, but what is Ruby’s age? With any dog, we can’t really know what the adult configuration of a behavior pattern looks like until the dog has reached full social maturity. We generally say this occurs at age three, although some dogs mature a bit earlier, and some giant breeds may not be really mature until four. If Ruby is under three, it is harder to be confident that she won’t exhibit intense, less inhibited aggression if triggered.

      Fourth, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, people do tend to blame the pit bull, so you may come under fire way more than I would with my Border Collie or Sara would for her MWTCD (Layla). This does not affect the damage Ruby does to the other dog, but may affect the owners’ perception of damage or danger, and this could become a serious problem for both of you. (I must add that in the “publicly perceived culpability scale,” someone bringing a pure wolf to a dog park probably will take a much harder hit… and should.)

      All that said, we know that in two fights, she did the same thing, caused relatively little damage, and did not escalate. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior *in a similar context.* If she is adult, you probably will not see much intensification in the context of a quick scuffle.

      The most important thing to do is identify what is triggering the fights and try to modify the contexts to prevent Ruby from being triggered again. If a dog gets into a lot of fights (and “a lot” is highly individual from dog to dog), it will escalate damage because of prior learning. You and Ruby cannot afford that. I personally believe very few dogs (and no wolves) should be in dog parks. I would try to find a few dogs Ruby plays well with and set up private play dates. This is far safer and perfectly adequate to keep dog skills fluent.

      I’m sure Sara will have some great comments, but this topic is also near and dear to my heart so I stuck my big nose in.

  7. I would just add that redirected bites to humans tend to be harder than the bites to the “intended victim” dog would be. At the moment Trout bruised your arm, the bite she was “feeling” toward Layla would probably have been a small pinch.

    Excellent article. I also grill clients in detail about the location and severity of the bites. This is almost always an aspect they have not considered. It’s always a relief to be able to tell a client insisted “A tried to kill B” that the single shallow scrape on B’s muzzle tells me there was no intent to kill.

  8. This is very similar to what we have been dealing with. We have a male husky who is 13 and a female doberman who is 7. We brought in a male dobe about 2, two years ago. The boys had a couple of early tussles but then nothing. Fast forward eighteen months and now the young one has attacked the older one more than once. This last time required stitches to the ear. We are working with a trainer but I am still so nervous it is going to happen again. It seems to be a territory issue. Do you have suggestions on how to calm down the issue?

  9. happytails3611

    I have a similar problem with my male rottie mix, Max, and my male German Shepherd Dog, Prince, both of whom are rescue dogs. Max is about 8 years old and Prince is about 4. When Prince first came to live with us, he and Max got along fine. Both also get along with my 8-year-old Beagle, and 16-year-old Shih Tzu, also rescue dogs. About six months after Prince came to us, Max started snapping at him. Max hates it when Prince sniffs his private parts, although Max sniffs everyone else. Over the years, the snapping changed to full blown fighting but the bites were always on the ears or face. None of their fights ever necessitated a vet visit. Recently, I’ve noticed Max will charge Prince even when he just walks into the room where Max is. He’ll try to bite his face, and sometimes, Max goes for his legs. The other day, Max bit Sammy’s ear because he got too close to his food bowl. Max has never been food aggressive so I’m very worried about this latest behavior. When my husband goes out, we keep Max and Prince separated by a baby gate. We’re getting tired of living like this but I don’t know what to do. We consulted a trainer and her advice was to re-home one of the dogs. That’s not happening. I would no sooner give one of my dogs away than give one of my children away. I promised to give my furbabies a loving home for as long as they live and I plan to honor that commitment. So I’m very interested in reading this story and hope to learn things that will help with my dogs.

  10. I lucked out in that the only dog fights that have happened in my household were due to resource guarding in my doberman, who has the most exquisite bite inhibition, and has never even broken skin or bruised on our standard poodle — they mostly slobber at each other, and it’s all face to face arguing. Once, I stuck my hand in between them like an idiot, and she didn’t even bruise my hand.

    Thankfully, quite a bit of remedial work has made it so that fights are close to non-existent at this point, so even the slobbering has gone away.

  11. This is a very interesting article–thanks for relaying your insights on what happened. I was wondering where you found the information regarding the placement of the bites. I did a quick literature search and was unable to find anything. If you could direct me to any information I would be grateful, I find this topic fascinating.

  12. I’ve been lucky so far. My previous dog was dog reactive, but with careful control, he never caused any wounds. My current dogs are very social and generally stay out of any altercations. My older dog, who is the more excitable of the two, has been involved in a couple scuffles. Once as the victim of a large shepherd at the dog park who went for her stomach and legs, but didn’t break the skin, and she didn’t retaliate at all. More recently we were having a meet and greet with a potential dog sitting client, and the other dog wanted nothing to do with mine, but obsessed over her toys. My dog confronted her and gave her the ‘put down my toy’ look, which was answered with a ‘hell no’ look, and they scuffled, both only snapping at the face. There was a small scratch above the eye of the other dog, and no injuries to my girl. Needless to say, we did not end up sitting that dog.

  13. I have two female dogs, a Scottie and a Pappillon. They get into fights about five times in a year. Typically over toys or jealousy over attention from a visitor. It seems like a dominance issue on the part of the Papillon. It goes on until we stop it and a couple of times when we’ve gotten in the way we’ve been injured. It’s frightening and especially if our grandchildren are here. They are 4 and six and very respectful of the dogs who don’t want much to do with them. My question is should one of them be rehomed? I think the Papillon should be an only dog. We really love them but want what is best for them.

  14. Pingback: Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Three: Management | Paws Abilities

  15. I have never seen a full blown fights but I rather not see one. I adopted a rescue mutt from a high kill shelter two years ago. I have two senior labs at the time, one was 11 and the other was 7. The 11 year old is no longer with us. Around 3 months after we adopted him the dogs coexist nicely. I got a trainer who I did not know was aversive to help me socialize the rescued boy. Not sure if he would become fearful anyway or that she flooded him too many times and used a prong on him but he became fearful and he started to instigate fights with the labs over tight spaces and treats in the kitchen. He caused no injuries to the labs but got bitten in the face by both labs. He was only 9 months then. When he was one we took them on a camping trip, he was very aroused on this trip and attacked the labs again. This time no one got hurt because we stopped in time and it was quite easy to separate them. He got into two other fights at the daycare with 2 old black labs there so we don’t know if there are any connection with the two labs at home. Again he did not cause any bite to the labs but he got bitten again on his ears and mostly face. He has put a few bites into humans, all trainers and all provoked. His bites look like scratches or abrasions. Would this be level 3 bites and does this mean he is not closing down his mouth enough to puncture ? There has been no bite since Sept. 2013 but we managed them quite carefully. Looking forward to part III.

  16. Pingback: Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Four: Training | Paws Abilities

  17. The injury our middle dog sustained was a bite on the nose – one puncture. No sutures – the e-vet used bandage/glue stuff. They do tend to get growly with one another in tight spaces. One night I came home at the same time Hubby was bringing them in, and as we went in the door, the middle one and the husky got into a snarling match in a tight space. Our vet did suggest a behaviorist, and I’m calling this week. Also, she suggested the baby gate option, which is handy. Several of our elkhound folks have suggested ways to break up the incidents, including a member of our group who’s fostered both elkies and huskies. I’m just wanting to figure out what’s going on and fix it. The ages of the dogs are: 8 y/o, 5 y/o and 18 months. All female, all spayed. First 2 are mother/daughter. I’m strongly inclined to think that this is husky adolescent behavior trying to dominate. But the elkhounds are having none of it. The older one has made that clear to the husky with a real “sound and fury” dust-up, with no injuries. It’s this incident that has me worried.

  18. a few days ago my dog got into a fight with a rottweiler, he grabbed his muzzle and didn’t want to let go. he usually grabs the face, the cheeks or the ears and holds on and doesn’t want to let go and i must intervene, basically take him off the other dog. but later i noticed that he has a big puncture wound on one of his front paws, around the elbow. and i now think the the rottweiler started the fight by first biting his leg. after i read your article i now think that my dog is not very serious about causing harm as he usually bites the face and the ears and rarely cuts skin but often grabs and holds on (by the way what exactly does it mean when a dog doesn’t want to let go?). but the other dog bit his leg so it was more serious when it comes to intentions, right? thanx for your answer.

  19. My big dog name jojo who is five years old bit his daughter who is just four months old in the face and nose we have been applying ice to the wounds because we can not afford a vet . What more can we do.

  20. Connie Carswell

    I have 2 Great Pyrenees, a male and female, that are around 2 years old. My son who lives with me got a puppy that was 8 weeks old about a year ago that is a German Shepherd and Bull Mastiff mix. My female was good with him and let him crawl on her and played with him when he was little. She is the dominant dog of the 2 Pyres. Since the puppy grew up he has been biting at her a lot. If I go outside or call her in the house he starts aggressively biting her on her legs and at her stomach. She will push him away but not fight him. Now she is whimpering some when he does that. I have not seen injuries yet. My son says it is just play but I do not like it. It is getting worse and after reading this article I am more concerned. My son’s dog also killed over 20 chickens of mine (all of them) when the coop door was accidentally left open when he was in the yard. He acts like he has a strong prey drive. I could not even walk past him with a rabbit or chicken in a dog carrier without him attacking it. He has not bitten a person. I am very concerned for my female pyr though because she will not be aggressive with him. I saw my male fight him once for a few seconds and was so vicious that my son’s dog quickly ran from him so there were no injuries. Is my female in danger? Thank-you for any thoughts on that.

  21. I came across this article in a desperate search to find answers as to what is going on with my beloved dogs. Its going to be a long post but I want to give a full background..We got our first male dog almost ten years ago. He was our sole dog for 4 years. When we moved to a place that allowed more pets we decided to get him a companion. That’s when we added a female puppy. They took to each other well. She was 5 mos old when we got her. Then a friend had a litter of pups and would bring one in particular by with him whenever he stopped by and our 2 dogs absolutely adored her they would act as if it was there puppy and get all sad when she left. She we decided we had to her. It was a perfect fit for a really long time. All 3 had separate crates but would always be together trying to cram into one and sleep on top of each other. They shared everything food toys etc.. Never any problems. About yr and half later we bought a house and began remodeling because all the construction crews we had to crate them long hours while everyone was there not because they were aggressive but they love attention and would always be in the way. We would rotate them tho. Then one day the male mated with the youngest female not intentional but it happened. So long story short feeling bad for keeping them locked up we began keeping the girls in one room and keeping our male in another while construction continued. The puppies were born and grew into a healthy lil bunch. All 3 adult dogs was good with them although we kept them in a seperate bedroom n only let them arpund them supervised.then one day my mom came to visit n all the puppies escaped n came running towards her excited. They male there father reached down and grabbed up the male puppy who was also a lil fatty 26 lbs at time and viscously attacked him. He survived but we was forced to put our male down. The females were luckily crated at time but they seen it all happen and surely noticed there pack leader was gone. We had him 10yrs n never had a problem before this. We rehomed all the puppies and decided to keep the one after nursing him bk to health. The girls remained together and every thing has been good. Until now. Even though the girls have spent every day together practically for last 4+ yrs the eldest has been having issues. One minute she is all lovey laying on top of the male pup n her bf of 4+ yes the next she is growling n wanting to fight with them. 3 weeks ago she was fine could have all 3 out no problems. But she just has changed. She tried to after the male because they was told to get down off the bed so my boyfriend could get his blanket. We gpt thwm apart before an injuriea but when his mama seen her go after him she came outta no where and went after her. It was bad but no one required vet care. We kept them sperate for a week and made sure they was healed up but they kept laying by the others cage when one was out. So we thought it was safe to have them together again. Then that same night we put them together both females was snuggled up on couch together with me and I asked them to get down so I could go potty. The one jumped down and got up on bed with my boyfriend and as soon as the one that’s been acting out of character got down she immediately growled and I knew what was coming before I could yell NP and grab her they was at it again. This time it was bad. They literally messed ea others faces all up.. Not to where vet care was needed but its been 3 weeks and there scarred up. We haven’t let the girls bk together I can’t handle the fighting it breaks my heart. And I can’t put another dog down for the life of me. Putting our male down was hardest day of my life. I love them like there my children and when there out by themselves or the mama female and male pup there fine good as can be. Always wanting love n giving us love. But its the same the eldest female who keeps acting out constantly wants to be by other females cage licking her thru it teyin to love on her but I don’t wanna risk it anymore. I’m so afraid the next time imma lose one or both females. Idk what to do.. I don’t wanna leave them locked up n rotate them but I don’t want to see them harm each other. I’m lost and could use some advice on what to do? Why after so long together and never having any issues is this happening? Is there any way to have harmony again? The eldest was in heat at the time and I think she was having difficulties with it, could this have been the problem? The other female who had pups already has been fixed.. && the male pup (well he is no longer a pup) doesn’t want no part of fighting. He as we say is our lover he runs when he feels like something is going to go down prpb because of being attacked as a puppy he wants no part of it.. I desperately need advice. Are my females trying to seriously harm each other or is this just a natural spat between females maybe vying for pk leadership since our male was put down? Could my eldest female be acting out because she misses him since they was so close?? We can’t even mention his name with out her crying loud n looking for him frantically.. Any advice would be helpful..

    • I have just went through what seems like the exact same thing you posted my two females got into a big fight my lab beat my pitbull pretty badly after reading the post about the bites the locations my pitbull hurt ears are tore up she’s got bite all over back stomach legs my black lab is pregnant this is not the first time they fought it’s the worst they were both in heat I’m not sure if my pet is pregnant or not but I know it’s not just the jealousy on the last part since We rescued this Pitbull she doesn’t even want to fight back but my lab will not stop I took her across the street to have a playdate with the neighbor and I had to bring her home I couldn’t even let her in the door she was already growling I was wondering how did your situation turn out I’m wondering when I can let my lap back in the house she’s been outside by herself since this happened four days ago she’s never spent the night outside and she wants in this house bad but I’m so afraid if I blink my eyes she’s going to jump on my Pitt who still isn’t healed all the way somebody please help my lab is not even 2 years old she is the aggressor the pit she’s 5 and had a hard life and doesn’t deserve this thanks anyone I would love to reintegrate my dogs and have a happy family again

  22. I live on a rural “dump site” road. Over the last 6 years I’ve been surprised by many new dogs.
    Two of the six are females named Clara (1.5 year old Pit mix) and Lucky (6+ year old Aussie mix). After over a year of peaceful cohabitating, they started to fight. Clara is the stronger and seems to be the aggressor. She is obsessed with Lucky after the initial fight which left both with injuries to the head and shoulders. When they see each other Lucky gets scared and Clara crowds her space which quickly escalates to fighting.

    My husband and I have been scouring the internet for information like this. The bite scale and explination are very helpful in putting the fights into perspective. We are keeping them seperated and supervise time together in the hopes we can break the obsessive while I’m looking for a local behaviorist.
    –Are there any in North Alabama you could recommend? Or resources that coul help narrow down the search?

    Thank you

  23. Thank you for this post. Our puppy was bitten by another puppy on her hind leg (similar to the location of Layla’s wounds) earlier this year during a very brief puppy play date. It didn’t require stitches but the bites were deep enough that they didn’t scab over within 24 hours and out of precaution we took her to a vet who prescribed antibiotics. I realize any bite isn’t good but your post makes me realize that we probably made the wrong decision of downplaying the severity of the bite to our friends when they later inquired and offered to pay any vet bill. I now realize the minute we told them the bites weren’t serious enough to take our girl to the vet we did them a dis-service. Thank you again for this and all your posts. We are thinking about fostering or adopting another dog and your posts are a great help in preparing us for a multi-dog home.

  24. Roxanne Ojeda-Valentin

    Hi both my dogs are always fighting by barking back and forth at each other and not aggressive bitting. This morning as I was waking up both my children for school the dogs got into a really bad fight to the point that I couldn’t separate them and I didn’t realize that my black Shephard bit my little Maltese until the Maltese was bleeding from the top of his head a behind the neck and I really don’t know what to do now I am afraid of our Shephard attacking my children

  25. Amanda Oakley

    Great article! This question is for anyone on the thread. After two long term housemates and growing up together since being puppies, how do the dogs interact with each other a day or so after? Are they cautious? Or friendly like nothing happened? Does the one that got hurt more severe take back to the one who hurt them or do they try to keep them at a distance? Any feedback would
    Be greatly appreciated!

  26. Thank tou for this post, it has been very insightful for me as a multi-dog owner! Reading through your post, I became concerned that my 4.5 month husky could become an aggressive housemate :/. When she and my middle dog (approx 5 yrs old lab mix) are playing, the husky goes for the labs hind legs. There have never been puncture wounds and I’ve always found it “cute” and figured it was due to the size difference of them. Is this something that I should be concerned with?

  27. Hello, I came across your site looking for answers. I have 2 male Lab-Pit mix dogs that are siblings, nearly 2 years old. They have been getting into scuffles lately, and the last 2 scuffles drew blood. First scuffle, Samson, attacked Bruno and wouldn’t let go of his ear. We cleaned all of the collected blood out, looked, and there were no major tears. Samson got a little bit of scrapes on his head. Yesterday, and I have no idea what set them off, I believe Bruno attacked Samson, really scraped up his face, nose, cheeks. Samson’s face is swollen. Samson then attacked Bruno in the front legs. Bruno is limping, I cleaned everything out with soap and water, peroxide and then applied neosporin. One of Bruno’s elbows is swollen, and looks like it has fluid around the joint. I can’t feel anything broken, and he seems to want to walk around on it. I wonder if it is swollen and bruised. I have been putting ice packs on his leg (elbow) and trying to massage it. There are a couple of small puncture wounds on the legs and a scrape. Since this happened yesterday, I am keeping them separated, one is in a crate while the other is laying in the living room. This switches off between the dogs.

    My shoulders and arms are sore from trying to get them apart. They both look a but worse for wear, but are not needing stitches or surgery.

    These guys are from the same litter, grew up together, and have both been neutered. They usually cuddle together, play well together, and don’t usually have a problem. But every so often, and it is happening more frequently, they get into these terrible scuffles. The last scuffle before this was nearly 2 weeks ago. We had to pry Samson off Bruno. I have raised these guys since they were about 7 weeks of age, so they have really become members of my family. My husband works a lot, so he isn’t here during the day. These are my boys, and I don’t want to have to put one down.

    I don’t know if this is just sibling rivalry, because they are nearly 2 and want to show dominance, but it is getting pretty scary here. I was shaking once it was over, and had dog’s blood on my legs.

    If anyone has any ideas if this is just sibling rivalry or if I should euthanize my dogs, I would appreciate it. I also have a nearly 13 year old pomeranian female, who has never been involved (Thank God) in these scuffles. I love my boys, and they are my babies, but I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I am afraid for both of them.

  28. I took my dog three times to a behaviorist. It’s very expensive and not something most people can do. It was also minimally helpful. If a dog attacks his housemate, no behaviorist or you can stop it. It will happen again. That is part of the dog’s nature, IMO. You can minimize it, but it will happen again. Best to keep them totally apart, as if they don’t live together, if you want to be sure the smaller more passive one doesn’t get attacked again. Even if the aggressor doesn’t try to kill the other dog, the other dog shouldn’t have to live in fear and live where he’s attacked without warning repeatedly. If the aggressor can’t be rehomed (like mine…she has people issues, too), then putting her to sleep may be the best option. There’s a screw loose with a dog who has issues with people (even if she doesn’t attack them; with my dog, I seem to be the only person in the world that she trusts and who she doesn’t growl at when she is looked at in her eyes), and who also has issues with her passive housemate who may sometimes cross too near to my aggressor’s food bowl or whatever. THAT CANNOT BE FIXED, IMO. I’ve been working on it for several years, and she is on Prozac. The attacks may get less or less violent sometimes, but they still occur. That is part of how she reacts to the world.

    • I want to add to my above post that I KEEP MY DOGS FROM INTERACTING AT ALL TIMES. I never let them get too close to each other. I keep the aggressive one on a leash at all times, so she can stay in the room with us. I stand between them when I take them for walks, even when they stop to smell a scent…I purposely stand between them. I don’t allow them to touch noses or anything. After several years of dealing with this, this has worked best. The aggressive dog is on Prozac which helps a bit, but not totally. The aggressive dog seems to want to be the only dog. So she can sleep in my bed with me and the passive dog, but she is tied to a nearby table with her leash, so she can’t reach my other dog’s side of the bed. I tried keeping her in a separate room at night, but she cried. She seems happier with this. She is acclimated to the leash. I also put a muzzle on her in the car, so we can all go in the car together. If I take her alone, she doesn’t need a muzzle. MY MAIN GOAL IS NOT TO HAVE MY OTHER DOG LIVE IN FEAR OR BE ATTACKED EVEN ONE MORE TIME. I should state that the attacks are not life threatening or seem to be intended to harm. She grabs my other dog’s ear every time and pins him to the ground. The ear bleeds a lot, but she has never gone for his neck or back or anything else. So it seems like a dominance thing, rather than seriously trying to hurt my passive dog.

      I’ve tried numerous things over the years. Correcting the passive dog when he’d do things the aggressive dog didn’t like, correcting the aggressive dog, encouraging nose rubbing and sniffing, not letting them get too excited, etc. The only things that have worked have been putting the aggressive dog on Prozac while keeping the two dogs from physical contact at all times. When I leave the house, I keep the aggressive dog tied to a table in the bedrrom, then I close the door, then I tie a rope from the door handle to the fridge so she can’t open the door. And THEN I put the passive dog in a separate room with the door closed. They can NEVER be alone together without me there. I go to lengths to prevent the aggressor dog from getting out of her closed room. She freaks out over storms, so has gotten into a closed room before when it was raining and I wasn’t there. The main thing is to protect my other dog, which is my duty as a responsible owner. I don’t think a responsible dog owner would take my aggressive dog because of all her issues. So I’m stuck, unless eventually I have her put to sleep. If there’s another bad attack, I might be forced to do that, to protect my passive dog.

  29. Talulah's "mom"

    My dog was recently bitten at “doggy daycare” on the neck and back. It was explained to me by the operators as “not being her fault”, which I read as unprovoked and therefore of concern. Additionally, it was two bites. Should I be concerned about this? What does the location and number mean? She has been there a couple of days a week for 3 years and this is the first time this has happened.

    • I wouldn’t take her back to that daycare, as long as that other dog is there. I don’t approve of a bunch of dogs being unleashed in the same area, anyway. That’s asking for trouble. I kennel mine sometimes, and they stay in their cages, until they are walked, which is several times a day…they are always leashed or caged, as are the other dogs. Safety over possible fun or possible harm.

  30. We have two dogs. Since we introduced the second dog to the family about a 6 months ago, they they have consistently gotten along well. There has been an occasional “correcting” growl here and there one way or the other, but nothing more. Then one dog (the one we had first) had to have surgery on her face to remove a small tumor. When she got home from the vet with her e-collar on and the newly stitched surgery still a bit wet, our other dog immediately attacked her, specifically biting at the stitched wound on her face. No real damage was done, but the incident was quite scary to watch.

    To allow the dog with the stitches to heal a bit more before we took any more risks and to try to “re-set” the dynamic between the two of them, we sent the biter to the kennel for a few days. We reintroduced the two very slowly and carefully, outdoors in the “neutral territory” of a favorite walk spot. The biter was at first visibly curious/anxious about the stitches but then seemed to calm down and become comfortable with the situation after a while. Unfortunately after a few hours of peace back at home, the same thing happened again. Without any warning, the healthy dog suddenly lunged for the other dog’s stitched surgery spot. She did some damage this time, re-opening the stitches before we could separate them. Clearly these two need to be separated until the stitches heal fully. But we are worried that we have a “vampire” dog on our hands that is likely to attack any dog at the sight of blood. Given how frequently dogs (and humans) injure themselves, this is going to come up again — so any advice on why this is happening or how to deal with it will be appreciated. Thanks!

    • I’m just a person who is having one dog attack the other dog. They used to be like two peas in a pod…then bam! One dog started this behavior. Warning: It continues to this day, several years later, even tho the attacker is now on Prozac. I am now down to keeping the attacker on leash at home at all times when the other dog is there. I never let them interact. I don’t think rehoming the attacker is possible at this point, and not safe.

      My thoughts on your situation: The attacker has decided he’s now the top dog. The house is his, you are his. The now weak original dog doesn’t belong there. It’s now the attacker’s house. “Go away” he is saying. “Get outta my house.” “You’re interloping on my territory.” The victim dog was gone for a short while, during which time the attacker got used to having the place as his own.

      He may also be jealous because of the attention being showered on the sickly dog.

      The primary concern is to protect the sickly dog. They should not be left alone together at any time. They should not be allowed to interact at all w/o the attacker being on leash, and you present and supervising. They should be fed in separate rooms. I suspect this will progress to involve food and treats.

      Please do not regard this as not that big a deal, which it may seem like, as time goes by. I did, at first. But it IS a big deal. The attacker could seriously hurt the other dog, or another dog….or a child. Once a dog has shown that his interaction with the world involves attacking others, you can expect a repeat.

      The attacker may need to be an only dog. Since you haven’t had him that long, and since he doesn’t have issues with people (he doesn’t, does he?), I would really try to rehome him. Don’t end up trying to “fix” this for several years, and then find it can’t be fixed, and by then not many people will want a dog who has been attacking another dog for years, and he’ll be older. (I can’t rehome mine at this point….she also has issues with people, now, too.)

  31. My two dogs had a fight tonight. Angel is an 18 month old German shepherd – black lab mix. She showed up on my doorstep th day after my mother died. When I decided to keep get the vet said her age was about 12 weeks. My wife had suddenly passed away 12 weeks prior, thus the name Angel. She was my only dog for a year and a half. My son’s 8 year old Englush Setter had snapped at their daughter so they decided to give the dog away. I thought She and Angel would be good company for each other. Angel is extremely aggressive toward Roue. Never lets her move without cutting her off. when I drove in to the carport tonight, heard them fighting on the other side of the gate. Angel was overpowering Roue. I had to literally pry her off of poor Roue. Blood was everywhere. Roue had a bad bite to the neck that was bleeding a lot. Her paw was bloody as was her side under her left front leg, I put Angel in her kennel and took Roue to the vet. What concerns me the most is Angels aggressive behavior toward a dog that was not overly affectionate to me. Should I be concerned that she might be aggressive toward one of my grandchildren. Other than jumping up on them she hasn’t shown hostile emotions toward humans. She hasn’t been around other dogs very much. I don’t trust her around other animals now. Should I muzzle her? At what point is she a danger?

    • IMO, and it’s just my opinion..the fact that Roue had a bad bite to her NECK is important, and is bad. Dogs bite others on the neck when they mean serious harm. Example: One of my dogs attacks my other dog sometimes (I’ve taken serious steps to stop it..I NEVER let them interact, now.) But the dog attacks the other one by biting his ear and grabbing it and pinning him to the ground. That is not an attack to CAUSE SERIOUS HARM. That is an attack to put him in his place and to show dominance.

      You now know that is how your dog handles certain situations. You are on notice. Your dog attacks. She could attack a child or an adult. That is what she does in certain circumstances. Dogs don’t look on children as adults; kids have high pitched voices, make loud noises, and make fast movements.

      It is important that YOU NEVER LET ANGEL GET TO ROUE AGAIN. You must be right there to supervise, so you can intervene. In fact, I would find Angel a home where she can be an only dog, or find Roue a new home. AN ATTACK TO THE NECK IS SERIOUS. It’s where a dog bites to go for the kill.

      Angel has let you know that she does not want the new dog there. Period. That is her home. If you wanted Angel to be dog sociable, she had to have been exposed to other dogs at a young age. That time is past. Please find one of the dogs a new, good home. Angel needs to be an only dog.

      Don’t go through this for however long it will go on (and it will go on). Roue could get killed or seriously hurt. So could others. Take care of this now.

  32. I have an 8 month old pit bull..Nina. A jack Russel 10 years old, 8 pounds, Piper. They hi t lizards or anything that may be hiding anywhere. I opened a closet and both wanted to explore first…they both stood their ground and finally Nina bit piper by grabbing her neck. Four puncture wounds…what does this mean. Does Nina go.? Please hel

  33. When should I let my dog come back in the house I put my aggressive dog out

  34. I have a year old German Shepard husky cross who I need some advise on. He is generally a good dog but has had out bursts. First one was with his real brother and him had a fight when they got a little too rough and my partner tried to split them up and got bitten (blood drawn) we had to go to the hospital but was just a puncture not stitches. Dogs had no marks. The second one was my spaniel stepped past him whilst he was fast asleep and he lashed out at him and I had to take my spaniel to the. Yes as had a puncture and split behind his ear. He needs training for jumping up and heel work but is training and boot camp going to be enough for him to not do these things? I’m worried for my spaniel.

  35. My 6yrs old pitbull (juice)and 10 yrs old englishbuldog( Rocky.)grew up together but Rocky was always the one was in charge and juice was mostly respectful. In the past here and there they had fights over food but usally rocky would start it and juice would fnish it by attacking his cheeks. But last night’s fight was diffrent. This time juice could not stop with left cheek he went for ear and neck too. Juice pined rocky down, grabed him by his left ear and draged him all around the floor almost like he was trying to shake 60 pound dog. But when rocky try to get away juice keep pounding on him with his front paws which caused rocky to relase all his bowels all aroud the floor. Rocky at one point went still this stopped the fight briefly juice let him go when rocky got back up and juice came back pin him down again and try to bite his left side of his face. Juice would leave rocky but would come back at him over an over if he would move or made a small noise They countinued on like this until we arrive home. My mother and sister was not able to separate them (mostly they were scared of my pitbull and they said their scream made him attack rocky more) but once we got there rocky was on his left side laying still and juice was standing on top of him not letting rocky get up, but when we told him move he left. Fight ended rocky was injured mostly in the ear, check and one under bite mark under his chin one l shoulder required 1 to 2 staples. No internal injuries just lots of blood and poop. But now my husband wants juice gone because he belives my dog was trying to kill his Rocky. That is another story thanks for listening

  36. I am having a hard time accepting and letting go of the violent attack between our foster dog and our dog we’ve had since she was 5 wkd old. The foster had been with us a yr, was 3 when we took her in and had moved around a lot as well as suffered from constant scratching and missing hair from biting near her tail. Her precocious owner gave her 3-4 25mg tablets of Benadryl as well as Xanax to calm her scratching and keep her hyperactivity down. She only wieghed 70 lbs when he took her. Within the year we stopped the Benadryl completely, caught up her shots, gave her regular oatmeal baths, walked her and played with her daily and she was a house pet just as our other 2 fur babies. She slept with us and acted as a lap dog and weighed a healthy 105 lbs for what we guess was a lab/Great Dane/ shepherd mix. Very aggressive bark and at times scared our guests by growling and snipping protectively at them until she knew they weren’t a threat. In the 1 yr time we showed her love and affection but on 2 occasions she got rough with our 7 lb Maltese/dachshund mix that is 7 yrs old. On both occasions they were barking at the fenced dogs next door and our big dog grabbed the small dog by the neck and shook her while we screamed and intervened. On the 2nd occasion she brought blood to the ear and neck but were small wounds that did not require a vet visit. Both times we thought the big dog was being protective. On 2 – 3 other occasions they fought over being jealous from attention from family members. Once it was violent in nature but we were able to stop it before any bloodshed. A week ago, my 15 yr old daughter and I were home alone, my husband the big dog’s favorite, went to the store. My daughter was playing with the big dog throwing her toy to fetch and the 7lb dog jumped in her lap and claimed territory with a little growl…then it happened! The 105 lb dog lunged at her in my daughters lap. Straight for the theist and neck! My daughter screaming and pulling at her collar to stop her. I ran in and she had her shaking her like a rag doll! I firmly yelled at her to stop, it became more violent as the dog shook her more with me pulling her and literally using force to stop her. She began hissing and threw my daughter and I like we were nothing, my daughter called my husband to hurry and return as the violence kept going and she had bites on her hands, but only scrapes. I went in to remove the small dog from her mouth as she gasped for air and continues to bite down on the her, trying to turn her over and bite more, my hand received several sever punctures, and I finally wrapped my arm around her neck and tried to stop her! As she took a breath and before she could bite down again, for what I’m sure would’ve been the kill, I swooped the small dog up in one hand while the big dog bit my other hand, then handed her to my daughter and told her to run out the front door! It took a few moments to get the big dogs attention and then she reluctantly went in the back yard, as she was still looking for the small dog! My husband came in and we rushed the small dog to the ER, 26 staples later she survived. But it has been a touch and go recovery. We are both still on antibiotics her staples will be in another week. We had the dog removed from the home and requested she be sent to a rescue, as we had to quarantine due to my ER visit and report. We have a young son, and I cannot imagine what would have happened if he had been there instead of my daughter. My heart breaks because we loved the dog, she was loving to us and I feel bad that I let her go without trying aggression therapy. But I did not recognize the dog that attacked, it was the most violent thing I’ve ever witnessed. It felt like my big kid was trying to kill her little sister! And I am convinced that would’ve happened if I hadn’t intervened, even if it meant I got some battle wounds.
    I guess I just need help recovering from the trauma, and reassurance I did the right thing removing her from our home. But the images won’t leave me, and I’ve cried everyday. To add to this tragedy our oldest fur baby of 16 yes died 3 days later, she had a stroke and stopped breathing within moments. We knew she was old and it was close. I had prayed she pass peacefully and without pain and it seemed she did. Just not sure how much of the attack she witnessed and if it led to her fast deterioration.
    Just had to share, I’m so traumatized by this event. I’ve never had a violent pet or had to say goodbye due to fear.
    Thank you for your blog!

  37. We have a five year old female Akita. We just got a nine week old male Akita puppy. Our family is getting older. I was concerned that our female is getting lonely as with our kids getting older and busier she is home alone a lot. And it was my eighteen year old sons only request for a birthday/Christmas present. Kill two birds with one stone. Our female has attacked him twice now. Once when he first came home when he was walking free with no apparent cause and then again about a week later after we thought we were making some headway at getting them adjusted to each other. She was attempting to engage him in play earlier that same day. He did not do anything to instigate either attack. We admittedly did several things wrong in trying to get them adjusted to each other. The first attack she rushed him while he was walking across our hearth. He received a nick to his ear. The second time he was laying on a squeaky toy chewing on it. She came up and sniffed him a couple times then attacked. My theory is she feels ownership of the toys as we did allow her to take toys away from him several times earlier that day without correcting her. I’ve read since then that this is wrong to allow.

    We are concerned that he maybe scarred emotionally from these attacks. We are wondering if there is anything that we can do to get them to become friends or do we need to rehome the puppy?

    • Rehome, definitely! Before you’re too attached to the puppy. She’ll kill him, even if she doesn’t mean to. But she may mean to. She does not want him there, and she is violent about it. If you won’t handle it, she will, she is telling you. Dogs that attack like that will always attack. She may go months without doing it, but then ultimately she will. That’s how she handles certain situations. They can never be left alone together, and should not interact at all. I keep my two apart at all times. ALL times. The aggressor is on a leash at all times, even when I take them out to potty. Even when she’s asleep…I let her sleep in the bedroom, but she is tied to a table on the opposite side of the bed as the non -aggressive dog. When I take them both in the car, she must wear a muzzle, since she has attacked him there, too.

      I’ve been injured, My non-aggressive dog has been attacked numerous times over the years, although not seriously hurt (the aggressor goes for his ears every time, which end up bloodied, with my small dog shaking with fear ). I can’t rehome the aggressor, and I’m not in a situation where I can rehome the smaller non -aggressive dog. But once I get settled, I’ll have to consider what to do about the situation. I’ve worked on this for YEARS…medication (which she is on ), vets, a behaviorist, advice, books. An attack ALWAYS happens again. That’s how she handles certain situations. She can NOT be trusted…EVER. Around people, around children (altho she’s never attacked a person) or around other dogs.

      If you are in a situation to rehome the non -aggressive dog, DO IT. It’s the right thing to do for the non-aggressive dog. He shouldn’t be made to live in fear or suffer through attacks.

  38. Today was the hardest thing I ever had to do. First off i had two male pits King 5 and duke 2. They are father and son, well recently the son has been attacking his dad leaving him with first just marks then became more serious with having his ear bitten on the lower part then behind his ear in the back and today he ripped his ear off not completely but hanging.. so to make it short I think this was the right thing I had put my oldest down because he was suffering and to make him not suffer anymore I had him put down. I couldn’t go I couldn’t face king that I had since he was a pup be out down in front of me. I been in tears for hours just asking myself did I do the right thing?? This is like my kid where talking about I do feel better because he is in a better place and nothing can ever hurt him. One thing that will always touch my heart when I cleaned up his wound from last night he laid down I laid next to him and he just gave me kisses like thanks mama for helping me. A dogs bond is something you can’t describe in words. I love you kingster always have and always will

  39. Your article was very useful and helpful.
    We just adapted this very sweet a year and a half old pitbull. He was doing great playing with other dogs at dog park and suddenly 6 different dogs started fighting over tag of war rope brought by one of the owers. Mine bit on one of the dogs by his neck and didn’t let go. It was very scary that he didn’t let go while I was yelling at him no and trying to break it off. He eventually did and the dog was fine but he was only one actually bit on him which i giess he was taking it to the next level. All other dogs were just barking and kind of attacking but not actual physical contact. I will learn more about the behavior and be a responsible ower as I’m very scared to take him to the dog park now…

  40. I just had a situation happen…My son was jumping on me and my dog Ruby growls at him b/c he teases her sometimes. Well, she was on my lap when he jumped on me not to hurt her or anything, he was just messing around. she lunged at him growing and barking at him, like she always does. Then my other dog Onna, starting lunging and growling and it escalated into a fight. i was trying to break them up b/c I was holding ruby in my arms as I laid on the couch and didnt want to get bit. our other dog actually bit some of her ear off unfortunately on the end. She just nipped her ear but grabbed it just right to tear the end of her ear off. As she snapped at the ear I pulled Ruby away which I think may have caused the tearing of the ear. Since the incident our dog Onna has been punished. She hasnt ever done anything like that before. Onna isnt good with other animals but has been fine with our dog Ruby., They would have some spats but most of the time they just play. I dont know if my dog Onna was protecting my son. She seems to get like that if my son is horsing around with me and my little Ruby doesnt like it and goes after him, then the other dog will growl and bark at her and they do that to each other, but has never bit the ear like that. I think it was a fluke she grabbed it just right and she grabbed it as I was pulling her away, which I think my have caused the tearing of the ear. I can tell my dog feels bad it happened. She has been in lock down in her crate for a day now. What is your opinion on this situation?

  41. Pingback: When Should a Shelter Dog Be Euthanized for Behavior? – Ethics in Animal Care

  42. Recently I rescued 2havaneese . Daily for no reason they will attack each other or my older Maltese. Usually it seems to be a jealousy thing. I’ve had them 12days. I don’t want my oldest dig frightened in his home. These dogs can be super sweet yet the unexpected attack is a lot to deal with. At what point do I decided to return them to the rescue. I don’t want to do that yet it may be necessary.

  43. I have a Pomeranian and the other day when we was gone I can home and he was hurt very bad my roommate has a pitbull I sort of knew this was going to happen sooner or later what should I do I know the pit bull has been aggressive to other animals he ran behind my horse and bit him in the leg he got in a fight with the dog out back and I’m just scared he’s going to hurt one of these little dogs that I got

  44. I have a one year old siberian husky named Ash. He loves our 2 other older golden retreviers. (They are 11) Only issues is if he has a chew or treat, he will leave them on the ground in the open or try to hide them and walk away coming back to it when he wants to. One of the golden retrievers trys to steal his all the time he quickly runs back and goes at his face never breaking skin and the other one drops it. The other golden who eats everything he can get into his mouth has learned to stay away from it. Recently we had company over and another golden retired who is bigger then ours and is 2 years old. I hardly am around to see the fights as they happen when I’m not in the area and I have to run in there. Neither if them break skin but cry and make alot of noise and my family yelps and gets scared. My husky has had some sort of chew around the area or even if they play to rough they have broken out into a fight. But has come to a point to where my other family who is visiting thinks my husky is awful and immediately makes mine the bad guy and never ask if he is hurt (the last time they fought my husky held up his paw and was sore to walk on for a bit them was fine).they got into a fight this morning withc was a bit more escalated but still no broken skin on eaither dog. I ran out of bed my boyfriend in front of me and grabbed the other dog and be for ei got the I yelled ashes name came around the corner and he was already behinde my family holsing his paw up. I wish I was there to see where they were biting and what happend before it. Ones I have seen as soon as I yell his name or grab him or even poke him beforw he goes into the mood he stops. However There dog has attacked and broken skin on the face of one of our older Goldens before when we were at their house. So for the past week we have seperated my husky with his best friend from the rest (we also had a tiny dog here). Because they were afriad of their dogs getting hurt when he has never broken skin on any dog before. The seperating causes him to howl and whine so we eaither give him half the house or just my room. Today we are trying the whole house( was a fight this morning because a chew was near) I always make sure to put up toys or treats of his or keep them away from other dogs so he doesn’t feel the need to protect his chews but sometimes we miss them, like I said he does hide them and will watch them when they play if I’m in the room. Is this a serious problem I should be worried about this? We take him to pets mart and other toy places and on hikes he has never had issues there besides being scared of a dog and peeing a little. We havnt takin him to the dog park in a while because we get nervouse and the last time a young dog kepted following him around for 20 min I noticed it because I would look and see the dog still there and my husky came to me and I got his collor and the other dog tried humping him and I would try to push the other dog off while holding on to my husky the owner came over and as she was getting her dog my husky snapped at the other dogs face. I tried apologizeing and she said not to it was her dogs fualt.

    • Well I just rembered on the one golden of mine when he steals chews he may have a small tooth mark I forgot about that. But nothing big. And don’t think I have ever seen any on the young golden retriever who is bigger then ash

  45. Our rescued male Shepard/ lab mix has been attacking three of my other dogs. Until recently he has only caused damage to ears. He has attacked his own male offspring by biting his shoulder and shaking his head. The offspring also suffered ear injuries. I need to add he has punctured my husband’s arm while trying to break up a fight. We’re at wit’s end. He is otherwise a good dog and I love him but euthanasia has recently been discussed. I can’t have him keep injuring our other dogs. It’s a constant source of worry. Any suggestions?

    • Sounds to me like your dog needs to be rehomed into a one-dog family. There’s no need to put him down if another home can be found. Since he’s a rescue dog, can you return him to the rescue so he’ll get another chance at a forever home?

  46. I have tried to contact the person I rescued the dog from and they don’t respond to my call. I’m very scared to rehome him as I have had bad experiences with puppies I’ve sold. I know all to well black dogs rarely are picked for adoption. I can’t bear the thought of someone using him for a bait dog or mistreating him. I would rather him die peacefully than having an abusive life. I have a call into my vet to get his advise also. I’m so sad and conflicted.

  47. My lab and pit bull had a very bad fight last night. We’ve had the lab for 3 years and pit bull for 5, neither have shown aggression before, but last night was a brutal fight. My lab needed 5 staples in his neck and my pit bull needed 1 in her ear. They were outside using the bathroom and we don’t know what triggered the fight. My husband wants them both gone, or at least the pit bull because she did so much damage. We also have a 2 year old son. I don’t want to put him at risk. Do you think rehoming the pit bull is an option? The adoption agency thinks she was provoked. Do you think rehoming both is needed since we don’t know what happened?

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