Females Fighting

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Sameeee, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    I have a big problem and really need advice, I have 2 female shih tuz's, Presious 5 years old and Sassy 8 months old.I brought Sassy into my home afrer Presious's mate died to bring Presious out of her depresion. it worked they both got alone great. played together and I could love on both with no problems at all. then just a week ago for no reason Sassy started attacking Presious when Presious got attention. at first Presious would try to get away. now she is fighting back. the thing is everything is fine when all is calm. and I show no attention to either. but if I look or speak to Presious Sassy attacks. I have a harness on Sassy now so I can get her away. I took bad bite trying to get her off Presious. with the harness I can grab it and not Sassy, this is breaking my heart. they got along so good now it is a nightmare. Please how can I put a stop to this? or will I have to rehome Sassy which I really don't want to do.I love both my babies

  2. Mutt Experienced Member

    Is it only when you give attention? Or also if your husband/friends etcetra gives attention?
    Is one of them neutered? Sometimes it helps to neutere one of them, but it only works with the right one and not for every reason so don't do this without research (vets tend to suggest this)
    Does sassy do this with other dogs or only with precious?
    Are there any signs (body language) that she is going to do this?
    Is she responsive or 'does she go completely blind'?

    Sassy is in puberty now, so this is probably the reason why this didn't happen before.

    I have no experience with own dogs fighting,
    But Maybe it is an idea to divide a room in two/make two seperate sections so the dogs can't get to each other, but make sure they still can see each other (rabbit fences are very suitable for this).
    Then put them both in a seperate section.
    Then give Precious attention and everytime you do that throw sassy a treat (is that a motivator for her?), so not from you hand but trow it near her on the floor (this calms down because the dog has to pay attention to the treat to get it, sniffing also relaxes) do this when she is not reacting. So that sassy connects you giving precious attention to a treat (something positive)

    When things don't work, I would first contact a dog therapist (a positive one that looks at body language and not a ceasar milan one), I think you live in the US so I don't know who you have there. Before thinking about rehoming.
    MaryK likes this.
  3. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    Is it only when you give attention? Or also if your husband/friends etcetra gives attention?
    it is with both hubby and I
    Is one of them neutered? Sometimes it helps to neutere one of them, but it only works with the right one and not for every reason so don't do this without research (vets tend to suggest this)
    No both are not fixed
    Does sassy do this with other dogs or only with precious?
    Precious is the only other dog she has contact with
    Are there any signs (body language) that she is going to do this?
    Sassy looks at me puts her head over Presious's neck then attacks, I have no time to get to her before she attacks
    Is she responsive or 'does she go completely blind'?
    she lashes on to Presious and it's hard to get her to let go

    Sassy has had her 1st heat and there was no problem untill a week after it was over, Presious's heat is not for a month or two yet

    they still play and sleep together when everything is calm. I just can't give Presious any attention at all.
  4. Mutt Experienced Member

    I only have a (neutered) female with a (neutered) male, but heats can also have influence on these things (hormons). But I think others (intact female owners) can tell you more about that.
    MaryK likes this.
  5. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I'd spay both, really. It's no harm, and it helps to reduce the hormones (considering she is 8 months old, as Mutt said, she is going through puberty). It is a common problem. You are actually supposed to spay the "submissive" one, but there's no harm in spaying both.

    Is there any behaviourist in your area? In cases of aggression, the best thing to do is to call one. Otherwise, this will just escalate. A friend knew two poodles that one ended up killing the other one.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  6. Mutt Experienced Member

    Neutering can cause things:
    - coat change
    - puppy like behavior will stay
    - dieet should be watched as neutered dogs tend to get fat quicker
    - the operation CAN cause Incontenence (boxers, dobermanns and dalmation have a higher risk)
    - it still is a surgery
    I'm not against neutering at all, but saying there is no harm goes too far.

    Thats why I suggested it, but she shouldn't do it without research
  7. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Wow, so sorry this is happening to you. Having two intact females can be very very tricky, and something that most likely may be beyond anyone on this forum, unless you want to keep them separated, in which case baby gates can become your best friend. Your youngest is coming into social maturity, you'll have two adult intact females, which brings on it's own whole set of possible issues. The following article may help you to understand what you may be dealing with:

    If it were me, I'd first get them both spayed before this went any further, as heat cycles cause hormones to fluctuate, as in humans. I'd then seek the help of a qualified behaviorist. Not sure where you are, but if you'd like to go that route and need help in locating one, many on this forum would be happy to help. Some females do get along just fine. Yours have proven that they can't. The big question is WHY? You have many variables right now. Not sure how far you want to take this. I know you'd like to keep both dogs, and rightfully so. And not saying it can't be done. Just lots to consider, lots to be looked at. And I worry about the safety of both dogs, about the day "it" happens when no one is home, and no person is involved. Just something to consider.

    More will chime in with thoughts and suggestions, sit tight.
    MaryK, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  8. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Coat change is true for SOME dogs (although, as far as I've seen it's a very small percentage... I've never heard, first-hand, of a true case). But puppy like behaviour will not necessarily stay. She's 8 months old now. For a small breed, she's almost an adult.

    And diet must be adjusted because they are missing a couple of organs. Obviously, she'll need less food. All my dogs have been fixed and I only have had one overweight dog (because my parents feed her a lot of scraps, so it's not the spaying itself).

    I've never heard (first-hand) of a bitch with incontinence, but I know research has proven that SOME female dogs do get it when they are old (something like 2-3% risk increased, I believe?). But spaying does come with a whole new amount of benefits. No uterus/ovaries, no pyometra or tumors there.

    I read a couple of weeks ago some articles on the fixing ban that exists in Norway. It mentioned the point of a vet who worked in the USA for a while, then came back to Norway. I'll link it here.

    And, true, it's a surgery, but unless they have any kind of condition, it's a routine one.

    Maybe "no harm" was a bit too far, but there are small risks in exchange for very big benefits.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  9. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    Thanks all, like I said this nightmare is breaking my heart. I have talked to a few who have gone through the same thing saying even tho they got the girls spayed they still fight. so no matter how much I want my babies to get along I know even if I get them spayed it will never happen, I am thinking the only thing I can do is find Sassy another home where she will be the only one,
    MaryK likes this.
  10. Pawbla Experienced Member

    It depends on the case. Sometimes it calms them down, sometimes it doesn't. But you need a behaviourist if you want it to work. Otherwise, just spaying them doesn't do anything. It just makes the whole thing easier.
    MaryK likes this.
  11. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Sameeee, sorry for the brief hijack, I'll respond to your post too.

    Hi Mutt & Pawbla, re: neuter/spay:

    This is true, the coat can be much nicer in neutered animals. I've actually been able to pick out intact bitches based on their haircoat which can have a poorer, 'moth-eaten' appearance. This site has some info on that.
    What do you mean? Do you have a reference for this?
    The actual surgery has never been implicated (so nothing happens while the dog is in surgery that results in immediate incontience post-op), I don't think that's what you meant, just clarifying in case.

    The spay-incontinence question is up in the air. As intact bitches also become incontinent, it may be age-related rather than spay-related. A rather rigorous review of the current literature was published in a British veterinary journal this year:

    J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Apr;53(4):198-204.
    The effect of neutering on the risk of urinary incontinence in bitches - a systematic review.

    Beauvais W, Cardwell JM, Brodbelt DC.
    Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA.

    An increased risk of urinary incontinence in bitches has often been associated with previous ovariohysterectomy but remains controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate the strength of evidence for an association between neutering or age at neutering and urinary incontinence in bitches and to estimate the magnitude of any effect found. A systematic review of peer-reviewed original English analytic journal articles was conducted, based on Cochrane guidelines (Higgins and Green 2009) Of 1,853 records screened, seven studies were identified that examined the effect of neutering or age at neutering on the risk of urinary incontinence but four were judged to be at high risk of bias. Of the remaining three studies, which were at moderate risk of bias, there was some weak evidence that neutering, particularly before the age of three months, increases the risk of urinary incontinence. However, overall the evidence is not consistent nor strong enough to make firm recommendations on the effect of neutering or age at neutering on the risk of urinary incontinence.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  12. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Hi Sameee

    I'm sorry to hear about this issue. You said that this first happened a week after your dog's heat. Do you mean a week after she stopped bleeding? Because that is the 'fertile' time, after she stops bleeding, so she is still in heat at that point. There is a strong case here that you have a hormone-related trigger to the situation, though simply spaying the dogs will not solve it now.

    You must be careful about applying other people's stories to your situation. That old comedian, George Burns, lived to be more than 100 despite smoking all his life--this does not mean we should all smoke in order to live to 100 :)

    If you want to work on this, you'll need in-home help from a qualified person and you should start by spaying the dogs (why are they not spayed?). If there are things in your life which don't permit you to work on this, then re-homing (still get her spayed first, so she doesn't make problems in her new home!) the younger dog may be your best option. If you would like to work on this, you can share your city/state/country and perhaps someone will be aware of some reputable local resources.

    There are good books out there to refer to as well, Fight! by Jean Donaldson and Feeling Outnumbered.
    MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  13. Pawbla Experienced Member

    When you said that, I remembered something.
    I was looking into getting a Sheltie, and the breeder mentioned something to me, when discussing sex:
    "Males have a nicer coat, because females coat fluctuate according to the their heat cycle. When they are in heat or they have puppies, their coats are pretty bad."

    Also, Feeling Outnumbered is a GREAT book, I loved it. It's not very advanced so it will suit you perfectly.
    MaryK likes this.
  14. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    I am going to give her to an older couple without other pets. where she can be loved and spoiled. now just to find the right couple. this is like giving up my child but Presouis was here first and she is my baby and I love her just as much. she does not deserve this.
    MaryK likes this.
  15. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I'd recommend you to spay before surrendering her, to avoid problems.

    Also please note that the issue CAN be solved with professional assistance. They WOULD NOT fight with a bit of behaviour modification. I know several cases that were solved (just as many as I know that didn't get solved, but it was because the owners never got professional help).
    MaryK likes this.
  16. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    I am on a small fixed income so I can't do either right now, giving her up would be the for the best. I took another bite tonight braking them up, this is not fare to Presious. she has not done anything to deserve getting attacked. I had hoped there would habe been something I could do myself but it is way over my head.
  17. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Don't you have free spaying/neutering in the USA? I thought there was! You should try calling your local rescue, and tell them about your situation... maybe they can help?
    MaryK likes this.
  18. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Until you find her a home, can you get a couple baby gates for targeted areas and keep them separated? With the use of baby gates, the dogs can still be near you when you you're in a certain room, and even near each other, yet no harm can come to either one - nor you. You're right, it's not fair -- to either one of them -- to be put in this situation. And you can't continue risking getting bitten each time there's a flare up. Sounds like this is escalating. Please keep them separated before some real damage is done. Have either of the dogs gotten punctured or injured in these altercations? Or have both managed to be 'lucky' so far? Just wondering.

    Pawbla, no, to my knowledge there's not free spay/neutering in the US. There are low-cost clinics, but don't know where one might get it free. And as for a rescue group, so many operate on shoe-string budgets, most likely they'd ask that the dog be signed over. Not sure a rescue group would just step in and spay a dog free just for the asking.
    MaryK likes this.
  19. Mutt Experienced Member

    sorry, sorry kind of polluting the thread.
    But somethings about the neutering:
    For noobs like we (or at least me :rolleyes:), coat changes are only visible on (semi-)longhaired coats.
    But experts can see the difference in undercoat with shorthaired coats, even with coats as short as boxers (I've been told).

    semi-longhaired (golden retriever) coats will keep growing, the undercoat will keep growing, the coat will 'fluff' (don't know the right english word, in dutch I would say 'pluizen'), felt and tangle.

    Some pics to illustrate this:


    the dog has a lot more coat than before (no haircut was made, breed: stabyhoun)


    note that the dog has no short legs (regulair built, like a lab for example), but that it's all hair (breed: stabyhoun)


    (breed: rough collie)

    (breed: american cocker spaniel)
    as for incontinence yes I've heard a first hand story about a young dog (it's online, but in dutch). Are there much dogs who will suffer from this after neutering? no, but there is a chance (our vet warned us, that there was a very small chance and a higher chance with the breeds I mentioned earlier). So I think someone should know about it, so they are aware of it. I don't know the how's however
    I have no study about this but if you like I can take a look if I can find one.

    I also heard other people telling that the dog kept puppy like behavior. My boy was neutered when he was 1,5 years old and has made no change at all, same for my girl (neutered when she was 8 months), but then again it can happen, so I think people should be informed about this.
    If this is true I don't know its hard to tell, becuase maybe its just in the nature of the dog.

    It should be clear that I support neutering and totally see the advantages it has, but I've been reading for some time on some dutch forums and there they aren't very fond of neutering without really good reasons (without knowing if it will even work for the problem)
    MaryK likes this.
  20. Sameeee Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry but I am kinda miffed right now and have to vent. I had hoped I could get some type of training advice that I could work on to hopefuly slow this problem down, but all I hear is "get her spayed but it won't stop the fighting", getting her spayed is not the answer here. she is going to have to be redrected to a better behaver. and thats something I don't know how to do but hoped to learn. or be pointed to the right place for the info.

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