"Sibling" rivalry between two females

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meghan3's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-23

I have two female Dobies - a 4-1/2 year old spayed female (spayed at six months) and a 1-1/2 year old unspayed female (we are going to spay her at two per the breeder's recommendation). My older female has always been pretty mellow, and generally gets along with other dogs. My younger female has always been feisty, stubborn, and defiant, but also very sweet dog. Both have been through basic obedience training. Most of the time, the two get along wonderfully - sleeping together, grooming one another, etc. They eat from the same feeding station (two food bowls separated by a water bowl) and share a community toy basket. However, there have been some fights - the most recent one occured this morning, and the last one was about a month ago. Most of the time, the fights begin with the younger one aggravating the older one (nipping at her neck, climbing on her while she is walking around, and barking in her face). My husband and I usually tell the younger one to back off and leave it, but sometimes the older one will just get tired of it and snap at her - then it is on. It can be difficult to stop the fighting. for example, this morning, I grabbed the younger dog's back legs (like a wheel barrel) and separated them, but the older one came back at her. After several seconds (which of course felt much longer), I was able to get the older one to back off and immediately separated them. Typically, my older dog listens to me. The younger one is sassy and I routinely give her brief "time outs" to chill out, so I can get her to focus. In the past, we had a trainer come to the home, and he insisted that I need to make sure both dogs know I am the boss. Unfortunately, I don't think they really believe this, despite my best efforts. While my husband is concerned, he thinks this is just a matter of not letting their play escalate. I just don't know what to do. I adore both of these dogs, but these fights are scary and I fear one of them will really get hurt if this continues. So far, the two of them have just suffered a few nicks here and there, and I end up with the occasional bruise from trying to separate two large dogs. I would appreciate advice from others who may have dealt successfully with this type of problem.

astewtru's picture
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Joined: 2014-11-01

Start doing some research on Same Sex aggression in female dogs....Things could get worse.

meghan3's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-23

I've actually done quite a bit of research on the topic, and I know it does happen. There is so much conflicting information out there about why it happens and how to deal with it. My husband and I are just trying to be very consistent with our training, commands, etc. My younger one is still pretty hyper, and I do think there seems to be a correlation between some of her pent up energy, since these episodes seem to occur when we have a week where she hasn't gotten quite as many long walks/jogs. I'm also usually pretty good about picking up on the signs of a potential altercation, but I can't keep my eyes on them 24/7. I'm just hoping someone who has dealt with this might have some insight or tips for what might have worked for them. I've tried spray bottles (laughable), shaking a metal jar with chains (sometimes effective in redirecting their attention), and of course, blocking them with my own body (which isn't the optimal choice).

coffeehugger's picture
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Joined: 2015-02-20

I want to warn you, this can get so bad. This happened also to me, and I'll never forget it. My two grown sons and myself were upable to separate our two female dogs. By the time it was over, my son's dog was nearly dead. I didn't take the scrapping seriously enough and had no idea that would happen. If you find yourself alone, you will never be able to separate those two dogs.