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Imagesheryl
Dec 18, 2010 11:50 AM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
*sigh* I have a problem. Well.... kinda. Anywho-

The story goes like this. I live in rural Tennessee and get a number of dogs dropped off near my house. I dutifully get their shots and spay/neuter them, some stay, some go. I started out here with 4 of my own dogs - two of those dogs are still around, the others left us in their old age. Right now there is 6 dogs here.

One of the dogs we still have is Molly. She's 3/4 German Shepherd, 1/4 Lab. She's about 100 # and is definitely in charge. She lives outside and in our basement, although she does come inside occasionally. Thankfully, she did have some obedience training as a pup, so she listens to me about 88% of the time.

One of the strays we got (long story) is supposed to be 1/2 Chihuahua, 1/2 Aussie Shep, named Katy. She's a very bright dog, maybe 35#. She rules the inside of the house and is my mom's dog.

Over time, Molly and Katy have collided a few times. Katy refuses to submit to Molly and has had a few stitches to prove it - which might well have been my fault for trying to separate them, I'm not sure. Finally, after one of the fights, Katy decided Molly was something to be afraid of. Very afraid of - to the point where when she went outside, she'd quickly leave the area, do her thing and sneak back into the house. Unfortunately, she tends to run, which gets Molly and another one of the dogs chasing her. They caught her last week and it was ugly.

Now I am having a very tough time with getting Katy to go out at all, no matter if I restrain every animal on the place. I tried to pick her up once and she peed all over me (that's when she knew I wanted her to go outside). About an hour ago, I tried calling her, not even touching her - she peed where she was (on the couch, groan,) came to me, sat down and peed all over the floor.

She's obviously flat terrified. I feel horrible about it, but am not certain that there's anything I can do. I don't know if taking her to another home would be the answer or if Katy will have to be put down. I hate the idea, she's a super dog, but this can't go on.....

Any and all advice or anecdotes are so welcome. I'm kinda at the end of the rope here.
ImageLance
Dec 21, 2010 6:40 PM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
This has been a very busy week for me, sorry about not responding sooner. I will need to think about it some.
One thing to keep in mind for future reference is that YOU are the boss, and you need to ensure you have the power to control the other dogs in all things, including limiting aggression. If any of my dogs start a disagreement, one sharp sound from me stops it dead. The 2 I have now are the same litter and have no real problems, but all dogs have occasional heated discussions. As the leader, your dogs must respect your authority to keep all of them in line, and not to fight amongst each other. This does take time and discipline, but is essential for larger groups.
As to what to do now, it will be a long and slow process, but eventually you should be able to show Katy that it is safe to go outside again, but you will have to prove it. Forcing her out will probably not work, so you may want to set up an inside spot for now for elimination. This is one instance when treats and feeding may provide the needed motivation to get her outside again. You cannot really punish her for urination at this point, as she may very well be performing submissive urination - urinating to prove she is the lesser. Punishing this will merely further confuse the issue.
I will try to encourage some others with more experience to provide some insight, as well. I hope you can work it out.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Imagesheryl
Dec 21, 2010 7:12 PM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
Hi Lance, thanks for the response.

No, I didn't try to correct her for urinating as I knew why she was doing it - or at least had a clue.

Strangely enough, she's started going out again since I first wrote. So, at least we don't have to deal with that particular mess. I have been putting Molly up every time Katy goes out so there haven't been any more altercations.

I'm very interested in knowing how to control the dogs when they're fighting. Absolutely nothing I have tried has worked, so I assumed it was one of those things that you just had to wait out, but now I'm guessing the trick is to do whatever training is necessary before a fight instead of during it. Molly has been through obedience training, but none of the other dogs have been through anything formal, just sit, down and back (to the house).
ImageLance
Dec 22, 2010 8:42 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Training a dog is not an easy task, and the majority of training is actually training the person to better understand how to handle dogs in general, and theirs specifically. If you are not very comfortable with dogs and dog mentality, don't start now with attempts at interference. You need to get a reputable and well experienced person to help you out. As you said, the control starts way before the fighting starts, so that when you do need control, it is already in place. You are the leader in everything, including maintaining pack peace.
My favorite dog author is Carol Lea Benjamin, but read lots of dog books, as well. Any information you can get will help you to develop a better understanding, and eventually better communication, with you dogs.
By the way, I think it is wonderful that you help out so many of these lost dogs. I know I can only really handle 2 of my own on a long term basis, so I limit myself to what I feel comfortable with.
Check back later, and you should receive some more input.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Imagevalleylynn
Dec 22, 2010 9:40 AM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8

With the fights that have taken place with you in the midst, is probably why Katy is behaving in a submissive way. She is probably reading it as you participating in the attack, instead of being her protector. When you have one dog that is obviously not seeing you as in control, and it is aggressive, you should not be putting them out for exercise or potty breaks at the same time. It is up to you to keep them all safe.
I agree with Lance, this will be a long process.

Step 1: Confine Molly when you get ready to take Katy outdoors. It would be best to have all the other dogs confined at this time. Let Katy be the only one out there.
Do not make eye contact with her, just open the door and tell her come on Katy, lets go outside. Sound positive and nonchalant, don't hesitate but walk directly out. Hopefully she will follow you. You have to remember she is trying very hard to be submissive to you, so you can't do anything that will intimidate her. Let her initiate contact with you. Pretty much ignore her. Keep treats in your pocket, when she comes up to you, quietly give her a treat without acknowledging her or looking at her. You need to gain her trust back. When she no longer feels you are to be feared she will quit the submissive piddling.
Without actually being there and observing the dynamics of the group of dogs it is impossible to say just which dog started the situation. Sometimes it isn't the one you though was the problem.

I also agree with Lance that you need to seek help in getting the aggressive dog under control. That is something that can't really be done long distance as it takes some one observing the behavior of the dog to really know what is triggering it. Many times it is the owner/handler sending the wrong signals.
Look for a reputable obedience class in your area. Here is a link that can get you started on a search.http://www.akc.org/events/obedience/training_clubs/index.cfm?action=search_state&state=TN

Sometimes it takes some one watching you with your dog to find a way to fix things.
Hope this has been of some help.

I see you have already started on a good path in solving your problem. Group hug
Imagesheryl
Dec 23, 2010 8:02 PM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
Thanks for the advice & info, Lynn. From both of you.

The strange thing is that Katy went directly from the one peeing incident to being as friendly as ever - there no longer appears to be any trouble between she and me.

She's also going out when she needs to, she seems to trust that we'll take care of Molly - or believes that she can get in and out without Molly noticing. But as per your advice, I've kept all the other dogs in when she goes out. So now the only contact the two dogs have is when Molly comes in occasionally. There's never been a fight between the two inside.

I've started reading a book that I had purchased a while ago - Pat Miller's "The Power of Positive Dog Training", which has been helpful in deciphering some of the behaviours I'm seeing. I'll also look for the author that you recommended, Lance. It looks like it's going to be books here, for a bit - I live in a very rural area and I'm afraid the closest of the AKC recommended obedience courses are at least an hour and a half drive from here. Not that Molly would mind - she loves the truck...

Katy:

Thumb of 2010-12-24/sheryl/cb7182
Imageflaflwrgrl
Dec 23, 2010 8:17 PM CST
Name: Ann
North Central Fl
Sheryl, I think you've gotten some pretty good advice there & I have nothing to add to it. But I did want to say that when I read your first post I was so moved by your situation & felt so bad for what was going on but had no helpful words to give. I was quite worried that things would just keep getting worse. I'm overjoyed to hear they seem to be improving at least to the point that Katy is not submissively urinating & goes outside for such. HOORAY!

Love that face! Great picture.

One last thought.....might it be possible to have an excellent dog trainer come out to your place even if only one time to observe & give some direction for you? I realize that might be rather pricey but then again maybe not as much as you might think. You could at least look into the matter & check prices.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
Imagevalleylynn
Dec 23, 2010 8:49 PM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
Great idea Ann.
Sheryl, love that Katy girls face. : )
So relieved for you that things are better. Sounds like you are very serious about being observant and researching what to do.
Keep us posted on how things go.
Imagesheryl
Dec 25, 2010 5:52 PM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
Thanks Ann - I know it sounds like a real train wreck, and for a bit there, I thought it really was. Thankfully Katy is more resilient than that, poor girl.

I've searched a little more and it appears that the Parks 'n Rec dept in the nearby town has several levels of obedience classes; Basic obedience, Intermediate Dog Obedience AKC Canine Good Citizen, and a Puppy Kindergarten. I'm thinking that it would be good for Molly and one of our other "permanent" dogs to take the classes, it's a good thing for DH and I to do together, too, so we both understand what needs to be done.

If the trainer there can observe us with Molly, too, that would be a bonus - I'd really like to know what's going on.
Imagevalleylynn
Dec 25, 2010 8:17 PM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
Hurray! Sheryl, I am so happy to hear that good news. Thumbs up
Let us hear from you on your progress. Group hug
Imageflaflwrgrl
Dec 25, 2010 8:54 PM CST
Name: Ann
North Central Fl
Ditto what Lynn said. YAY, YAY! DO be sure & let us know how things go. Smiling
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
Imagesheryl
Dec 26, 2010 9:30 AM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
I sure will. Now, I have horse issues!
Imageflaflwrgrl
Dec 26, 2010 9:32 AM CST
Name: Ann
North Central Fl
It's always something. Blinking
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
Imagesheryl
Dec 26, 2010 9:34 AM CST
Name: Sheryl
Middle Tennessee, 6b
LOL, it's true. I guess if you don't like train wrecks, you gotta stop playing with trains.... like *that's* ever going to happen...
Imageflaflwrgrl
Dec 26, 2010 10:11 AM CST
Name: Ann
North Central Fl
Rolling on the floor laughing
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
ImageLance
Jan 11, 2011 8:25 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
We have not heard about your situation for a little while, so I thought I would check in and see how it is going. I hope all is going well, as it sounds like it was headed in a good direction.
I will provide another word of caution, this time for trainers: I took a dog training class only once, and found the trainer to be rather horrible. The only benefit I got was teaching my dog to pay attention to me under varying circumstances and especially with other dogs around. The trainer knew very little about how to teach the people, and I can only think he was teaching the class because he had certified search and rescue dogs, and probably knew someone at the parks department.
When you sign up for a class, let us know how it goes, and what you think about the trainer, as well. If they seem to have limited dog handling ability, keep going as you already paid for it, but remember your biggest benefit may be the atmosphere as opposed to the instruction.
The reason I have only been to one class is that the dog I took lived for a very long time, so I only recently have 2 new ones to train. Now I need a helper so they can both go together to a class, and gain the experience of listening with many distractions, but my main helper is only 7 at this point, and much lighter than both other dogs. All I need is more time, money, and maybe 2-3 of me to keep up with everything I feel like doing.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Imageflaflwrgrl
Jan 11, 2011 8:50 AM CST
Name: Ann
North Central Fl
Good points Lance. And you're right; there are "dog trainers" who train dogs & ones who train people & ones who train both. I like Ceasar Milan's way of putting it ---- "I rehabilitate dogs, I train people". Whether you agree with his methods or not, you know where he's coming from & what you're going to get. It's important to know that.
One thing I've noticed a trend in is the way people perceive an acceptable way for dogs to greet other dogs these days. And that seems to be with frenzied exuberance which is fine for dogs who know each other quite well & are accustomed to playing with each other. BUT, that is NOT how canines acceptably greet a "stranger dog" & can cause the new dog to react as if being threatened which in turn causes the greeter to react threateningly. It would be nice if people understood this & did not allow their dogs to greet newcomers with such zeal. Dogs should meet & greet new dogs with calm behavior. People seem to think the uncontrolled exhuberance is cute behavior but in reality it is a stick of dynamite waiting to be lit.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
Will Rogers
Imagevalleylynn
Jan 11, 2011 10:09 AM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
I agree with you Ann on dog greeting. It is also helpful if a young dog is taught proper greeting with a seasoned dog being used as the 'stranger dog'.

Lance, you could sign up for the class and alternate the dogs every other week. I have done that. Both dogs benefit from the time spent in training.
ImageLance
Jan 11, 2011 10:15 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thank you for the suggestion, I may have to try that. My current 2 have not been apart from each other, as they are littermates. I am a little concerned how they will react with separation from each other if the other one does not have some sort of company. When they were neutered, of course they were separated for a short while, but still with me. I know Turk does not like being alone at all, so maybe that would be a good experience for him, as well.
Proper greeting of both people and other dogs would seem important, and all too often not taught.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
Imagevalleylynn
Jan 11, 2011 10:21 AM CST
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR zone 8
That really would be a great opportunity for them to learn Lance. With your knowledge and understanding it will be a great experience for them.

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