Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Hi all. I haven’t been around much lately so I apologize. Penny, of all dogs!, is showing agression towards our 16 1/2 year old beagle/basset. She’s always teased and tormented her (just like a kid does) because she gets a reaction out of Suzy. Suzy is deaf and therefore “sees” the world differently than a hearing dog. Lately, Penny’s teasing/tormenting has turned into agression towards little Suzy. Yesterday, Penny picked Suzy up (grabbed on to the winter coat she had on) and shook her like a rag doll. Suzy was unharmed (but scared to death) but Penny shook her head side-to-side 3 times before I could intervene. I grabbed onto Penny to stop the altercation. At the same time, our alpha dog, Lexi, was trying to discipline Penny. It was a free-for-all. Most of the fights Penny and Suzy get into are either in the kitchen or near the kitchen (where Penny is fed). There has never been any biting, just serious “discussions” in the form of growling and screaming. I wanna think that if Suzy hadn’t had on a winter coat, Penny wouldn’t have grabbed her at all. All this agression, of late, is unprovoked. Penny is a sweetheart with us and even strangers. One couldn’t ask for a more loving dog. Penny still plays with Lexi without a problem. This always involves our oldest dog, Suzy. At first, we thought she was teasing Suzy simply because she could. Now, it’s been a brutal winter where we live. The dogs cannot get out very often; only usually to go to the potty. We know Penny is not getting enough exercise because of the cold winter. All of our dogs are mostly inside our house, vs. being out in the bitter cold. I’m sure the weather is NOT helping. Furthermore, it seems Penny is getting very territorial with our kitchen.
I wish I could help you, but I've never experienced anything like this. If it were me I would look into finding a behaviorist who can come to your home to help you sort things out. In the meantime I would keep them separated. It sounds really scary. I hope that everything works out for you.
I would contact a trainer. Temporary measures: I would separate them unless you are physically there to supervise. I would pick up all toys and things the dogs consider high value. I would put Penny in training mode. Make sure that you are in charge of EVERYTHING - food bowl, toys, sitting on the furniture. Do not allow her to make decisions - even while the other two can. When feeding I would put them all in a stay (but especially Penny) until released to eat. If food situations are the worst, I would feed out of sight of each other - move bowls - even feeding one in another room. If that is not possible, separate their bowls as far away as possible so that their backs are to each other while eating. Under NO circumstances are they to share bowls.
I would get a physical for Penny, making sure that there is not something physically wrong. For example, thyroid disorders can make a normally cheerful dog, grumpy. Not that I suspect anything wrong, just to rule out....
I hope this helps until you can get someone who is trained and can deal with specifics.
Please keep us updated.
I agree with Nancy's advice. My thought is that some of this is because Penny is not getting the exercise she needs which seems to build up frustration that takes lots of different forms. My Murphy needs lots of exercise and when the weather is too cold for him to get the outside exercise he needs I send him to Daycare a day or two each week. I also do lots of "inside stairball". I use a soft ball and we play fetch inside the house. I can usually tire them out if we do this a few times a day. I would not allow the "serious discussions". As soon as you see or hear anything that looks like there could be a problem I would intervene. I still have to do this all the time with my two boys and it prevents it from going any further. I have also always let them know that I OWN everything in the house. I don't know how you are feeding them, but if you are leaving food out in the kitchen that could cause problems. I feed my two boys at the same time, but in different rooms. The food stays down for 10 minutes and then I pick up the dishes. It sounds pretty strict, but with Murphy's past issues I have no choice. The shaking is a prey drive behavior, and it would concern me. I would definitely not have Suzy's coat on when Penny is around. I'm not sure that most trainers would be qualified to help you with this - it would take someone with a lot of experience with dogs that demonstrate this type of aggressiveness. If you have a Specialty Vet with a Behaviorist on staff, I'm betting that one consultation would be a huge help. I truly believe this is manageable, and a few changes in the way you deal with Penny will solve the problems. Also with Spring coming she will be getting the exercise she needs which will help. I would not leave them alone for now. Good luck.
I agree with Jane. The shaking shows prey drive and an intent to severely hurt. Dogs generally have a leader, in your case Lexi and after that no one cares who is next. There are always exceptions of course.
Move Penny's food area now - to the garage or somewhere that the dogs do not generally go. Keep a tab on Penny's collar so you have something to grab her by with less risk to you in case this happens again.
Try and find a good dog behaviorist in your area, now. This was a serious attack, not just a minor dispute