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dogs [Dec. 6th, 2012|11:34 pm]
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I have 4 dogs,Charlie,  a 5 year old smaller (30lb) mix breed(male, altered), Bella,a 3 year old slightly bigger mixed breed (femal, altered), Jasper, a 10 month old schnauzer mix (male, altered) and I recently took in my father in laws 10 year old boxerish loooking dog, Ace (male, not altered).  When I got Ace I took him to the vet for a check up and to get him altered but the vet said he wouldn't recommend it at his age.  

I have had all 4 of these dogs since July, everything has been fine.  They have a communal living area, with individual beds and food dishes. In the last week, Charlie has started violently attacking Ace for no reason.  Ace is a larger and un altered male dog, but he absolutely does not fight back, he cowers and screams when Charlie gets aggressive with him.  I have tried seperating them, but that isn't practical for the long term, and Charlie is pretty much attacking Ace on sight now.  Charlie is also showing signs of aggression towards myself and my teenage daughter (who I would say is his primary care giver).  

What is happening?  I have made a vet appointment for Charlie next week, but I just have no idea what could be causeing this sudden change in behavior.  Anybody have any thoughts?

[User Picture]From: dustyshakleford
2012-12-07 05:38 am (UTC)


Has anything or anyone new happened or come into your life in the last week?
[User Picture]From: megan322
2012-12-07 05:40 am (UTC)


No, everything about the household has stayed the same, I can't think of anything that might be stressing him out. :(
[User Picture]From: dustyshakleford
2012-12-07 05:42 am (UTC)


I don't know either.
[User Picture]From: lierre
2012-12-07 07:07 am (UTC)


From the information given it sounds like a real mystery :(

From what you could tell, did Charlie used to be in the position of alpha and Ace is moving in there now? Sometimes dog expressions can be subtle until it's outright aggression like what you are seeing now. A lot of people believe that it can also be stressful for dogs in a pack living situation where it is unclear to them who is the alpha (should be primary caregiver ideally), but also they are in that position themselves and are losing control, hence my first question.

Good luck, hope it gets figured out before someone gets hurt.
[User Picture]From: pickleboot
2012-12-07 08:22 am (UTC)


that's a pretty easy one. you have an intact dog in with altered dogs. eventually, the dog that has been there the longest is going to pick on the intact dog. the smell differently, and they rub the smell off on you, so your dog, charlie, is smelling it on you and reacting. the best thing to do for now would be to crate and rotate the dogs, meaning crate charlie when the boxer is out and vice versa. the other option is to take both dogs to the vat to make sure that nothing is wrong with either dog. charlie might be reacting to a mass on ace, he might be ill himself, you don't know. intact dogs run a higher chance of issues down the road just as intact females do, so it's a possibility. while at the vet, i would ask for the name of a good certified behaviorist, not trainer, behaviorist who can come and assess how the dogs interact and then help you come up with training plans and all of that. it really does help. we've used one with our dogs and i can't tell you how much help it has been to us.
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2012-12-07 04:11 pm (UTC)


Theres really like next to no information here (not that its your fault), so my best guess is something happened with Charlie--Ace stole his food, Ace was prancing around too confidently, Ace was treated differently, someone new came by, someone slammed a door, who knows. BUT that being said, its totally typical for an intact dog to get heavily picked on...but im really surprised it took this long. I am not surprised its occurring. I also second the crating. Its not ideal, but yes, you can generally keep two dogs separated.
[User Picture]From: jiffypopp
2012-12-08 01:59 am (UTC)


I want to suggest a good group for this type of thing.. dogsintraining here on LJ. It may (likely) be a neutered vs unneutered issue or a health issue rather than behavioural, but they are experienced and may have some insight on how to handle it for the time being!

If the dog is otherwise in good health, neutering may be something to think about if the benefits outweigh the risks. The vet should decide that and can run blood tests to see if they can handle the anesthetic. I work in rescue and have seen dogs as old as 13 spayed/neutered, as long as they are in good health.
[User Picture]From: megan322
2012-12-08 11:28 am (UTC)


Thanks, I will try that group. I have made a vet appointment for Charlie, to make sure there is nothing else going on with him and I plan to ask the vet about the possibility of neutering Ace. When we got Ace the vet said he wouldn't reccomend it at his age if we weren't having any problems, which we weren't at the time. So maybe he will think it is ok since we are having problems now.