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Re: fighting between father and daughter

Posted by:  Marie Evans
Posted on:  December 15, 2002 at 14:00:51

In Reply to: fighting between father and daughter
Category:   Behavior Problems
Posted by:  Jerry L. Brewer
Posted on:  December 12, 2002 at 08:24:14

Question:

: I have a male who will be 7 in January. He has been with us since he was 8 weeks and he has been neutered. His daughter was born in our home and she is four years old. She has been spayed. He is a strong dominant male. All her life the daughter has been submissive. All toys belong to him, he gets first opportunity at everything. I think you can get the picture. All her life once or twice a year he would growl at her until she would lie down and go belly up, then he would stand over her and growl. He has never bit her or made any attempt to hurt her. It was more like he was reminding her of her place. About three months ago she decided she had enough of this humiliation and she attacked him. Now, they cannot be in the same room together without a fight. Yet at the same time when they go outdoors they will play together for hours with no problem, it only happens inside. I got complete physicals for both dogs to rule out any chemical inbalance. We have been attending weekly obedience sessions with only the two dogs and the trainer. We are now giving at the recommendation of the vet an anti-anxiety drug. Naturally I do not want my dogs permanently on drugs. Indivudually each one is sweet and loving as only a Jack can be. The mother also lives with us but neighter or daughter have a problem with her. I guess what is so puzzling is the ability to get along out of doors and the fact that they have lived together for so long and then this suddenly happens. My question is have you ever heard of anything like this and do you have any suggestions that might help?

: Thank you


Response:

Hi Jerry,

You have done your homework well by getting these two checked out and into obedience school although this problem seems to be stemmed in pack order status.

I don't know if anti-anxiety drugs will actually help this situation or not. Have you discussed with your vet having a behaviorist come to your home to see how the two interact?

Has there been any change inside you home no matter how remote it seems to you that might have upset the pack order? This can be something as simple as one of the humans being home all day when they never were before (something that seems so mundane to us can create havoc within our dog "pack"), any change inside the house like a major remodeling? It's amazing how much dogs love routine and as I said even something that seems so mundane to us can rock their world.

Something has happened inside your home to upset their order, you will have to do some serious thinking about what happened when all of this started. A behaviorist might be able to help you with this.

In the interim I suggest making sure that there are no "buttons" around that will trigger any more attacks. Pull up toys, treats, bones, food bowls etc so these things aren't issues of contention. Feed the dogs separately and crated if necessary. If you have to, keep them separated. Many terrier owners end up having to do this with with some of their dogs. So they start a schedule when some are allowed together while others are either crated or outside and then they switch allowing everyone some inside time.

Hopefully you will be able to get to the bottom of this sudden change in their attitudes towards each other.

Regards,
Marie