Dog fight

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Irish Pixie, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    We have 4 dogs. Three of them were playing outside yesterday with DD and a neighbor girl, they were snowboarding and sled riding. Well, the mastiff cross (130 lbs-almost 3 years old) was very excited, running around and playing in the snow and knocked over the beagle. The beagle got mad and went up got in the mastiffs face and barked at him. The mastiff grabbed him by the throat and was thrashing him around when the retriever/lab cross rammed him and he dropped the beagle. The lab cross and the mastiff cross were going at it so bad that my DH had to separate them. We got them in the house and put the mastiff in a crate. The beagle was pretty badly torn up on his shoulder and neck-he ended up needing sutures to close 4 of the wounds. The lab cross had puncture wounds in his leg and shoulder and completely ripped out a top canine tooth. The mastiff's ear is torn and a puncture wound behind his ear. The yard and front porch look like a battle zone.

    Now we don't know what to do with the mastiff cross. I don't know if we will ever be able to trust him again. The Vet said that the way the wounds to the beagle were such the the mastiff cross was trying to kill him. We talked about trying to find a home for him with no other dogs, but there aren't many people that want a dog that large. The last resort would be to put him down.

    Has anyone had a situation like this? Do you think it will happen again? If we kept the mastiff cross out of situations where he'd get so excited? Right now they've been kept separate since it happened.

    Any suggestions, or help would be greatly appreciated.

    Stacy in NY
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Is the Mastiff/cross neutered?

    You probably know unneutered males are much more inclined to aggression. If not, though, I'd neuter him pretty fast.

    Also you need to establish yourself as the top dog. I had a very dominant male hound (poor pup is no longer here :( ) - his behavior never crossed over into dog to dog aggression, but that was, in large part, because I was dominant over him and had for years managed his behavior with other dogs.

    The only time I did not step in with a sharp NO was when a pit bull jumped him :eyesrolling: - and that pit bull got what he deserved! ;)

    Also, think MANAGEMENT! Stop situations which might lead to aggression before they start.

    And finally, it sounds like you had a bit too much excitement going on yesterday - you don't want any dog behaving like that around people, especially kids. That running back and forth easily turns into predatory behavior.

    So, my advice:
    1. neuter neuter neuter!
    2. establish yourself as top dog
    3. management - anticipate all situations which might lead to aggression and stop them before they can even get started
    4. NEVER allow any dog to chase around barking, run the fence, etc when kids are playing or passing by, etc.
     

  3. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    Put him down.

    You have children. NEVER own a dog you can’t trust when you have children or grandchildren. Who is more valuable? An over excited dog who made one mistake, but might make that same mistake again – or your children?

    You can’t give the dog to the pound, because what if another family with children adopts it, and it attacks one of them in a moment of excitement? Or a house with no children, but grandchildren? Or a neighbors child???

    Dogs became as docile as they are because of 10,000 years of human beings killing the untrustworthy one’s, and letting the good dog’s breed. It is immoral to let a risky dog live, because of the harm it can do to other dogs and people, and because it has aggressive genes that could get passed on.

    Kill it humanely. Ideally, pay the vet to do it. Unfortunately, that’s the only answer IMO.

    But, it is your family. You can choose to expose them to whatever risks you wish. Just please don't expose other peoples families because you are too weak to be responsible for your own pet.
     
  4. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Some things you might want to think about first, should you be considering putting him down.

    Much of what happened yesterday is your fault. And, if you do not learn some very simple things, it will happen again.

    The pup needs to be neutered.

    In addition, you have a dog pack on your hands. Learn to handle it. Establish yourself as dominant and train those dogs so they'll stop on a dime with a simple NO from you.

    NEVER EVER allow a single dog to get too excited around children, much less more than one.

    NEVER EVER allow a dog to run fences or get uncontrollably excited around children.

    If you do not get this situation in hand, it will happen again. It is very important you take responsibility for your part in what happened. You're a horse person: think of out of control horses. Same thing here. Same principles (be sure you do not ever hit, as that will aggravate any agressive tendencies and is nothing but harmful in every way for a doggie).

    Apply principles of horse training, establish yourself as dominant, manage any situation before it gets out of control, neuter neuter neuter and start figuring out how to train these dogs.
     
  5. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    First, and foremost, ALL the dogs are neutered and have been neutered since they were 6 months old. None of our dogs run fences..we live on 113 acres and they only go out of the yard when one of us is with them. I wasn't out in the yard when it happened, my DH was the first on the scene and he broke it up-the girls were sledding alone (ages 17 and 15). All the dogs are subordinate to us-the beagle is the most willfull of the bunch. The beagle has always been alpha dog and all the others have backed down to him until yesterday (the other two still do) We haven't let the mastiff have contact with any of the other dogs he's in a crate downstairs. He has never shown aggression to a human or other animal prior to this-he's afraid of my pygmy goat.

    We would never consider sending the dog to the pound. Our only two options were personally finding someone that would give him a home, or put him down. It's looking like putting him down is becoming the only option-by a Vet we would never do home euthanasia.

    Stacy in NY
     
  6. june02bug

    june02bug Well-Known Member

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    Sedition said it all. Your only option is to put him down. If he would grab the dog and to that... when a kid says or does something he doesn't like or he feels they are "challenging" him... You know what could and probably would happen. I wouldn't think twice about it. If he was mine he would be gone. I couldn't pass it along to someone else by giving him away... he can't be trusted, period. The lab-cross on the other hand sounds like a wonderful protector.
     
  7. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Does he have fear aggression? I have a pup with fear aggression - he was never socialized before I got him and it's very difficult to deal with. I love my fear aggressive pup and he's a doll with me and my family, but not with others. It really is close to a fulltime job working with him :( .

    In any case, sounds like you have a handle on it. Good luck whatever you decide! It's a hard, hard thing to do.
     
  8. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    The retriever/lab cross is a wonderful dog, as is our 4th dog, a lab/husky mix (more lab than husky) Both of them are very good protectors of the house, and us. The beagle is a handful at times-doesn't listen as well, and pushes the other dogs around. He's also the oldest at almost 10.

    I'll have to call the Vet and make an appointment to have the mastiff put down-it's too bad because prior to this he has been a great dog. What a wonderful thing to do at Christmas.

    Stacy in NY
     
  9. june02bug

    june02bug Well-Known Member

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    We posted at almost the same time. Since your "kids" are older, they are all neutered, and the beagle is alpha thats a little different. It sounds like he is trying to/starting to challenge for alpha. Totally natural but it does sound like he went to far. That would be a very tough call to make for me. I wouldn't want to loose a good dog because I acted to soon but I wouldn't want to risk loosing the other dogs to him or even more important risk injury to yourself, DH, kids or guests. I wish you peace in whatever decision you have to make, I know it will be a hard one.

    Your beagle sounds like a typical beagle. They really are a hoot. We have some friends of the family who had a beagle who passed not long ago. That silly, stinky dog was older than dirt (over 15, i think), but a true beagle to the end. Lab mixes have always been some of our best.
     
  10. melina

    melina Well-Known Member

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    Ok, everyone keeps saying "pup". This is a 3 year old 130 pound dog of a breed that was developed to protect property. In the absence of alpha human, beagle probably tried to put mastiff in his place and got deposed. In the dog world it happens all the time, and if DH hadn't stepped in, beagle would have been killed, and probably the lab with him. We can't have packs of dogs and then not expect them to act like a pack on occassion. I think the key here is that the dogs were not supervised by the alpha human. The options are few. Divide when not supervised, supervise at all times, dispose of the aggressor, or wait for it to happen again. My personal choice would be to divide and conquer. If the mastiff is a great dog otherwise and rock-solid trustworthy with humans, I'd keep him but be sure he's never alone with the other dogs. And never, never allow any unsupervised play and running. They are a pack, pure and simple, and will act like one.
     
  11. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's fear aggression. He wasn't well socialized when we got him from the pound. He's always been very loving, he thinks he's a lap dog and will try to get on anyone's lap, well as much of him that will fit. He's always licking the beagle's head, and playing with the kittens. This just came out of nowhere.

    Thanks for your help.

    Stacy in NY
     
  12. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Hehe. Yea, my fear aggressive pup thinks he's a lap dog too - given he's a lab.ridgeback mix, it gets a little uncomfortable! :eek:

    He also does the submissive licking like your mastiff. And if he came to you with poor socialization, he might have some of the fear aggression - your saying he's afraid of the pygmies is what made me think of it. It's very, very, very difficult to work with and, from what I understand, usually comes from lack of socialization or innate temperament problems or both.

    In any case, whatever's going on with the pup (sorry, can't help it Melina, they're all pups to me ;) ), it does sound like you have your hands full and a sad preamble to Christmas. :( Sorry you're having to deal with this. :(
     
  13. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    KincoraFarm

    I’m sorry that’s the decision that you have to make. It’s a hard one, and one that I’ve been forced to make myself twice. That’s the reason I no longer adopt adult dogs from the pound, in the past they have been a risk to my family (before I had children…) because they were not properly treated or even socialized. Puppies, preferably young puppies, only.

    It is unfortunate that we as human beings, have the responsibility for the safety of the other animals and people around us. Most people don’t accept this responsibility, because they are weak, selfish and petty people. It takes a strong person to make a decision that will destroy a pet just because they “might act bad” in the future. But any dog, even a rat dog, can be dangerous.

    I view dogs like power tools or firearms. Treated right and with respect, they are 100% safe. But once in a while, one starts acting funny. And I get rid of it. Any one of my fingers is worth more than a new $100 circular saw, and my children never being attacked by a trusted family pet – is worth far more than that pet’s life could ever be worth.

    It is a true saying. “It is only a Dog.” Animal lives are worth less than human lives, or even human trauma. Anybody who disagrees with that has a defective “self-preservation” gene, and needs to become bear-scat to prove their point.

    And get yourself a new puppy! It’s amazing how fast you feel better when you get a new puppy to replace a bad dog. Australian Shepard’s are my favorite. They behave much like your lab/retriever. Very docile and easy to dominate. But when somebody is fighting – watch out! Here comes the peacemaker at 200 miles an hour!

    My Aussie mix breaks up cat fights. The cat’s will be playing, and here she comes tearing into the room. She just tears in, knocks one cat over, and lays her chest down on top of it. Never nips or bites, just “squish” and the fight is over. She does the same when DW and I go out of town and she stays with my mother and her rat dogs. Her rats are fighting all the time. A Silkie terrerier and something called a “Papion”, which looks like a fuzzier Chihuahua. There’s not 15 pounds between the two dogs, my “wildcat” is bigger than the both at 16 pounds. I think he’s half-Bobcat by the ear hair, but he doesn’t have any spots – so just a big cat I guess…

    One problem with Aussies. They herd everything. Sheep, chickens, cats, children. It doesn’t matter. The dogs just run out in front and cut any animal that is separating “from the herd” off. It’s funny with toddlers. They get frustrated and mad, because they keep trying to tear off in one direction, only to stumble headlong into a 30 pounds of dog (and 10 pounds of fur!) every time.
     
  14. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear about your problem.
    We had 2 male Belgian shepherds together, and they would occasionally fight like that. The smaller dog always came out the worse for wear, but the size difference wasn't so great as a beagle and mastiff! They lived together in our house, the larger dog was raised as a puppy with the older, smaller, one. The fights started when the younger dog got to be about 3 yrs. old. I think it was all about jealousy of attention, and trying to establish who was "top" dog between the two. They never had any aggression toward us or any humans. Just dog-on-dog. Before you opt to put the mastiff down, you could try keeping them separated when a human can't be with them, and then watch closely when they are together, to see if there are any inclinations of further fighting. With our dogs it was only once in awhile, but we had to keep on top of any "excitement" situations that might cause a fight to start.
    By the way, after the older dog passed, we kept the younger dog as an "only" dog for about 6 mos, but he was acting kind of nervous and strange, had never been alone before while we worked. So, we decided to get another dog as a companion. I saw an ad for a litter of Border Collie/Lab cross puppies. I thought that sounded like a good combination, and wanted to get a female.
    By the time we got there, there were only male pups left. We noticed that one of them was very "laid-back", he would lie on his back and let the other pups jump on him and bite, he didn't fight back. He was also the biggest pup.
    We chose him, and haven't regretted it for a moment. He has turned out to be a perfect personality type to get along with the Belgian. He lets the Belgian be the "boss" at all times, even though he actually became a bigger dog (100 lbs. vs. about 85 lbs.) His low-key temperment is a perfect match to the rather high-strung Belgian personality.
    So in summary, we found that the dog-fighting was a personality thing, a result of 2 dogs who both thought they should be number 1. Now that we have a dog who is happy to be number 2, no more fights !
    Good luck with your situation. I hope you don't have to put your dog down.
     
  15. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the "lack of alpha" position. My dogs do the same thing. if they get playing to fast and furious and I am not IN the playing, they turn on each other if one gets to ballsy... its not meanness, its just that pecking order thing. when I am with them all I have to do is use a lower tone of voice and they all toe the line. The begle is part of the pack, and may have even been the mastiffs alpha in his view... but the beagle got in his face when there was no other alpha to growl at both of them to behave and.... well nature takes its course. larger dogs get noticed more because they are so big... if a beagle gets in your face its almost cute, a mastif does the same and you crap your pants.
    I wouldnt leave them as a pack alone wioth the kids ever now. I wouldnt leave them as a pack alone, I would chain the mastiff and the lab till I got back home.
    from your discription it seems like the lab was acting as an offended alpha male, as he attacked the mastiff for attacking the beagle... very low ranking pack members can be pretty agressive when given the chance, but most always are submissive. you got one that is looking to move up the ladder so to speak.
    I wouldnt be so fast to kill him, he could live a comfy life on a chain or a cable run for a few months to watch his behavior.
    It sounds like in the heat of the pack playing, you got a beagle who bit off more than he could chew, and a mastif that half lost his cool and half took an opertunity instinct programmed him to do, and a lab who acted in an very admirable way as a protective pack member. the lab I wouldnt worry about, the beagle I would watch, if he challanged a mastif he could challange a kid, and I know beagles arent really "dangerous" but they do bite.
    the mastif I would put on a cable run and observe for a while. that little bit of a fight may, or may not go to his head. he may never want to go near another dog out of fright, he may now try to take on any dog he sees. put him on a cable run and study his behavior before you kill him, if he wasnt agressive before. But he is a mastiff... it is what he was bred for, the fight may have turned a light on in his head...
     
  16. I have to share my story with you before you do anything!

    My husband had an 8month old trained birddog (female)when I met him. I moved in and brought my dog 2yo husky mix (female)of similar size who had a repaired broken leg. For 2 years those 2 were buddies even shared licking babies faces. Very well trained dogs...that stayed off the livingroom carpet when told....left to roam property not chained. Well one day something must have set the two off and the birddog went mental and left husky in need of euthanasia. We had to smack the birdog with a shovel on the head to make her let go. Keep in mind this is a dog that doesnt kiss or touch your hand when taking a biscuit and will drop biscuit and leave it if you told her. She gets along with neighbors dogs who are also loose. We kept her and she has never been naughty again. She has since saved my little girls life, protected the goat herd and mothered our kitty. I trust her more than my fellow man eventhough she killed my own dog which I cared for deeply.

    Freakish things do happen and you have to really examine the dog in all aspects before making a choice.
     
  17. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    Well, we reintroduced the dogs this afternoon. There was a slight tension between the mastiff and the lab but it dissapated quickly. The mastiff went right to the beagle and licked his head. The beagle, being quite out of character, kept his mouth shut. The lab and mastiff are laying asleep at my feet right now.

    We decided, based a lot on a crying teenager, to give Seamus one more chance-if ANY aggressive behavior surfaces he'll be put down that day. However, he will never be alone with the other dogs, and no more playing that wild outside. DH or I will be there to supervise. He is well crate trained so that's not a problem. He still acts like a pup-playing, bringing us a ball to throw, he catches snowballs in his mouth and eats them, he's still at the goofy and awkward stage and I really don't think he realizes how big he is. I pray that that was a one time incident that happened.

    What is a dogs normal temperature? Champy, the beagle, had a wolloping dose of penicillin and cortisone yesterday, and is on amoxicillin twice a day now feels warm to me, but is shivering. It may be due to pain-he's stiff and sore and the sutures probably hurt like the devil. I want to carefully watch him for signs of infection. We found another wound that the Vet and I missed right behind his leg but it's closing and doesn't look bad. All the wounds involved skin only there were no internal stitches just the outside metal sutures to close the skin. Digger Dan, the retriever/lab mix, is doing well and is able to eat soft dog food without hurting where the canine is missing. It was ripped completely out of the jaw. Seamus, the mastiff/lab cross, ear looks good and he's on pencillin as well.

    Thank you for all your help. My family and I appreciate it. Happy Holidays to everyone.

    Stacy in NY
     
  18. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I think that's okay. Things do happen sometimes.

    I surely don't regret hanging onto my fear aggressive lab/ridgeback, although I've really had to do some serious management stuff to make sure he and everyone else are always safe. He's a big lovey-bear with me and a few others, but I cannot ever, and will not ever, leave him alone and unattended with strangers.

    I'd call the vet about your beagle. :( For sure. You might need to give him some mild pain meds or he might need some more vet work maybe. Poor pup. :(
     
  19. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    I think you are doing the right thing, giving him another chance. It is a dog social order thing, not a human or other animal aggression problem. A lot of the mastiff type dogs tend to be dog aggressive, particularly with other males, neutered or not. Males that I've had, that would get along at all with other males, have been few & far between. I even had two bitches where (due to ignorance on my part - both went into season at the same time, & I didn't separate them right away), the one almost killed the other - after that, both hated each other, & one stayed a flock guard, & the other became a house dog; they had gotten along fine for 3 years, then had to be kept separate for the next 10. Great dogs, both of them, just didn't like each other.
     
  20. june02bug

    june02bug Well-Known Member

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    Stacy,
    I think you made a good decision. A dog's normal temperature is 101-102. He may be running a little fever with his body recovering and maybe fighting an infection. Just like we do when sick. The very large breeds... like great danes ( personal experience) and I'm sure mastiffs also... usually stay in puppy stage longer than smaller breeds. Average 2 years I think and sometimes longer.