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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A relative needs some help with her "pack".

I've been helping - and it's been working, but now there's some new issues.

There are 4 dogs in the pack (listed in order of who was there first) - female 8 yr. old cocker/bichon/something leggy mix (best guess of breed), female 6 yr old beagle, male 1.75 y/o American bulldog, female 1 y/o yellow lab. All are altered.

There are 4 people living there. The bulldog went to and graduated from basic obedience classes. The lab went, but is still somewhat bad. The older 2 never went.

The bulldog is somewhat the alpha. He is never challenged, but is not really a leader. The lab is the problem. She had a very high prey drive and has now attacked the 2 female smaller dogs. Resulting in one needing surgery & stitches.

They are fed seprately, one at a time, the smaller, older girls first, then the bulldog, then the lab. Sit and stay while the others are eating.

They only get into it when one family member is alone with them. This member just had surgery & is not able to pick up or move over 5 lbs.

The lab challanges both females, but the beagle more. The beagle also rides the lab during play. They know this is a dominant behavior.

The smaller cocker mix doesn't like any of them and lays on the couch. She will give a growl or snarl, but would rather be left alone. She is in NO WAY a fighter, she would rather go upstairs and be an only dog;). However she is the latest victim of the lab.

The 2 big dogs are walked for at least 1 hour every day. Usually a ride, then a long walk. The little ones are not really high energy (except for the beagle nose) and prefer to romp in the large fenced yard (3/4 acre). Everyone is fairly well sociallized.

Any one have any ideas on making the lab accept her position of bottom of the pack? They rescued her from a bad (but not abusive) situation. They really do not want to give up on her.

One thing she also does is raises her hair on her back whenever she meets a new dog. They have sinced discovered that she does this, but is not aggressive towards the new dog, but wants to play?
 

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With mine, the boss dog IS going to be boss dog, and it works best if humans cater around that. As in, Bowie always gets fed first, patted first, greeted first, acknowledged first during games, y'know. If we fed someone else first and they dared eat? Hell ensued. He'd spend a couple days reinforcing the "me boss, you not" idea. We sit ours down, make them wait politely, then the human pats Bowie on the head and tells him "Okay" and he goes to his bowl. Work our way down the line, in order of dominance.

If, say, DH forgets and accidentally sent Coal to his dish before the next in command, Archer? Oh, very angry Archer. He would jump on Coal and thrash him. Entirely our fault, too. He'd continue to assert his dominance over Coal for several days, despite reassurance and Coal running from him/going belly up/cringing in his presence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They do the feed in order - and everyone is good - unless the DH just leaves the food out. He's been told, but says, he forgot or something like that.

So since no one fights with the AB, (I'm thinking he's the alpha) should HE be fed first? They feed the older girls first, then the AB, then the lab. Everyone must be a sit-stay or down-stay while others are eating. Maybe they should change the order?

I only get to see these dogs once or twice a month, sometimes less, but I am passing on the info that I get to them.

They use Dog Whisperer ideas, too.
 

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personally I think feeding as a pack and only allowing those who are calm to feed works. doing this can help to eliminate posessive behavior because everyone eating is calm. and you can also use NILF with this, if the dog's not giving you what you want (calm, submissive attention) then they dont eat. I dont believe in alpha dogs, or fighting. I think equality is the way to a peaceful pack. if they watch Cesar they'd see he doesn't cater to, or favor any dog.

ETA: hackle raising can be a sign of fear or insecurity, depending on the rest of her body language it may just be she's unsure. and if it hasn't caused a fight yet thats probly all it is.
 

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I have a good friend who keeps a rather large pack of dogs, males and females mixed. She has had similar issues over the years. What they are seeing isn't prey drive, it is the female lab trying to declare herself the "alpha *****" of the pack. A pack will have a top male, and top female. She has decided since she is bigger and stronger, she is going to be the top girl, and in a dog pack, getting the top position means "fighting your way up", until the older dogs submit and let her be the alpha. It is a hard thing to deal with, especially since the older 2 are smaller. If your friends want to keep the older girls on top, they are going to have to step in every time one of these fights happen, and forcibly make the lab submit, which isn't going to be easy. It means constant vigilance for the smallest signal she sends out to them, sometimes just a staring look, a small growl, or hackles up. Then WHAM, they have to let her have it. They would also need to keep them separated when there is no human there to supervise. I think if it were me, I would be inclined to figure out some way to just let her go ahead and become the alpha, since the alternative is so difficult to maintain. The hardest thing would be figuring out a way to let this happen without anybody getting hurt. If they were a pack of wild dogs or wolves, it would be natural for a young, bigger, stronger female to move to the top over two older, smaller ones. I had this situation between 2 males, and it wasn't pleasant to live with. The older male was smaller, and "lorded" it over the younger male when he was a puppy. Then the younger one got bigger and stronger, but the older dog refused to acknowledge this, and for the rest of their lives together, they would periodically have a fight. We had many trips to the vet over this problem. I wish them luck that it gets resolved peacefully!
 

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It often is not a vying for top position, but vying for the second position that causes the problems. Watch which dog goes through doors first, which one sits closest to you, etc. This is order ranking. If you throw a treat or toy out into the yard see if one goes to it while the others hang back. This is the order of their rank and the order they should be petted in, fed in, treated in.

And also, where do the dogs sleep? The dog(s) that sleep on the master's bed is the top dog, whether the human acknowledges it or not. If the lab is sleeping on the master's bed, she is being told that she is top dog. Tell them to keep all dogs off human beds. Ditto with the furniture. Turn the cushions up, close doors, do whatever it takes to keep all doggies on the floor. I know it seems simplistic, but rank is displayed by how high up and where the dog sits/lies. Your friend cannot really decide which dog is going to be alpha, but he can stop confusing things by keeping dogs off beds and furniture and seeing where the pieces fall.
 

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With your freinds situation I would take food out of the mix completely. I agree though to let the ***** that is fighting for top spot have it. Feed her first....but feed all in separate rooms or a crate and pick up bowls right away. If they cannot be controlled with only one person there, then put 2 away in crates or another room and take out 2 at a time when only one is there. Your freind's health is more important right now than trying to settle pack order. The issue will still be there when she recovers and she can deal with it then, Until then, just seperate the ones trying to joust for top dog/*****.
 

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with my pack momma dog knows im boss and daddy grudingly accepts it and baby boy(hes 6 now) starting to figure out hes not a puppy anymore and thinks he should be alpha. I remind him everyonce in awhile Im the boss. hold him to the ground till he gives up. after you get that established then just show your displeasure at the "bad" behaviour. My three all eat together and as of late baby thinks he can get vocal at the dish I correct him and its good for awhile. He only ever really challenges dad but mom knows when he has been bad and she'll jump him in a min its actually pretty funny to watch.
 
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