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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My three dogs have developed a pretty nasty habit that seems to be getting worse. So my yard backs up to a moderately busy street/side walk that runs parallel to my backyard fence line. "Their pleasure" is to run up and down the fence acting tough toward whatever they hear/see/smell. (They can see somewhat because it's shadow box.) For about the first 1.5 years all three dogs were together this was never a problem. Maybe once every week or two you'd hear a little screechy sounding snap that I always perceived as, "hey, im revved up and you're getting in my personal space."

I would love to chalk this up as dogs being dogs due to them bumping into each other under duress (hyperfocusing on their "target" along with adrenaline, etc). The problem is the dogs weigh 11, 16, and ~85lbs. The two smaller dogs don't bicker nearly as much with each other, (it's happened but uncommon), but both of the smaller dogs seem to instigate against the bigger dog and snap at him when he gets in their space. Usually the big dog ignores them (and that was his response for the first year or so) but lately he's been snapping back causing a reciprocating effect that's getting worse. There's been several instances where I thought for a second or two he may have killed one of the little dogs (and it looks like he is killing them) but there's never any blood or even scratch/scuff marks on them! I don't have to be a/the dog whisperer to know this kind of behavior needs get nipped in the bud ASAP before it escalates into something horrible

My gf and I have decided to let them out separately for the time being, and try to discourage them from "working the fence" to begin with. Ultimate goal is to start letting them out together again.

If anyone has any tips on how to best handle something like this, and/or validate if our plan sounds reasonable, I'd appreciate it. If it's a good plan, any tips on successfully accomplishing this? If bad, any suggestions for alternatives?

Thanks in advance
 

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Am Yisrael Chai
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Hey, it's a dog eat dog world. Just go with it dewd.
 

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Bumbling idjit
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Who is the alpha of their group?

It ought to be you, and it doesn't sound like it is. You've allowed for the two smaller dogs to engage in a certain behavior because of their size and now when the big one responds in kind it's a problem.

To paraphrase Heinlein, raising a kid is no different than raising a dog. You give them equitable treatment, exploit their interests, drive them to succeed, and challenge them. You demand their respect and they'll give it to you.
 

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Shouldn't the little dogs learn they will get their ass kicked if they don't stop it, or are dogs not smart enough to understand that?
 

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Native Mainiac
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My sister had the same problem with the strays she and her husband adopted. One was 90% pit bull and the other two smaller mutts of no determinable lineage. (maybe some terrier in there given the curly coats and more teeth than brains):upeyes:

The dogs got along well enough normally, but when they saw another dog outside the fence they would freak out and fight with each other. Finally the big dog killed one of the little dogs and put the other one in the doggy hospital to the tune of a couple grand. They employed a 'doggy psychologist' who diagnosed the problem as "misplaced aggression".:upeyes:

Doctor FullClips diagnosis would have prescribed single dose well placed 230 grain lead tablet behind the ear of the pit bull mix. He was a psycho dog all the time and they were scared to have him around their kids. Finally the dog made the mistake of biting a Tennessee State Trooper (not on duty, but visiting his father in Maine.

They finally came to their senses and sent the big dog to doggy heaven. The little survivor is now the sweetest dog in the world...and you can almost see the look of relief in her eyes now that the big bully is gone.
 

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My sister had the same problem with the strays she and her husband adopted. One was 90% pit bull and the other two smaller mutts of no determinable lineage. (maybe some terrier in there given the curly coats and more teeth than brains):upeyes:

The dogs got along well enough normally, but when they saw another dog outside the fence they would freak out and fight with each other. Finally the big dog killed one of the little dogs and put the other one in the doggy hospital to the tune of a couple grand. They employed a 'doggy psychologist' who diagnosed the problem as "misplaced aggression".:upeyes:

Doctor FullClips diagnosis would have prescribed single dose well placed 230 grain lead tablet behind the ear of the pit bull mix. He was a psycho dog all the time and they were scared to have him around their kids. Finally the dog made the mistake of biting a Tennessee State Trooper (not on duty, but visiting his father in Maine.

They finally came to their senses and sent the big dog to doggy heaven. The little survivor is now the sweetest dog in the world...and you can almost see the look of relief in her eyes now that the big bully is gone.
I learned here that pitbulls are not any more aggressive or dangerous than any other dog. Are they sure it wasn't the other small dog that caused all the damage?
 

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Native Mainiac
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I learned here that pitbulls are not any more aggressive or dangerous than any other dog. Are they sure it wasn't the other small dog that caused all the damage?
When the Doggy-Doc told them that if they dropped anything on the floor, not to make a sudden movement to pick it up, or to avoid eye contact with the pit mix when he was "upset" put the frosting on the cake. He'd have done good as a crack dealers guard dog perhaps, but he was not a family pet.

Nobody knows how the dog was brought up, most likely not in a good loving environment. My sister and her husband really tried to give it a good home, but when the whole family is living around a psycho dog and kids are invovled, somethings got to give.

I'm used to dogs and wish I could have one, but I wouldn't put up with a foamy mouthed barker to greet my friends and family who come to visit no matter what the doggie-shrink tells me. I've never been too worried about being attacked by bone-headed Golden Retrievers who just want somebody to throw the ball or even German Sheppards who want somebody to throw a piece of firewood for them to retrieve (or gnaw into toothpicks). Round headed big dogs, a la Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Mastiffs always make me think twice. While the Pit Bulls raised in a good home may not be more "aggressive", they surely are a whole lot more "dangerous" than a pissed-off Dachshund or Brittany.

I think the little dogs were scared to the big one, as would anybody be scared of a 300 pound crazy homicidal roommate.
 

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So when the little dogs go after the bigger dog, its not a problem, but when the big dog just wants to be left alone, it becomes a problem?

Who is the dominant one?

I see two overall solutions. One is to let them hash it out. Its very unlikely any of the dogs will kill each other, and its important for the little dogs to learn they can get their butt kicked, and that they aren't in charge.

Another, is to get a shock collar system, and use it until you mold their behavior into how you like. If they little dogs instigate the bigger dog, give them a taste of the shock collar, so they learn the behavior is wrong.

From what I have seen small dogs, especially ones that are coddled, seem to have poor attitudes towards other animals. Its almost like they have little man syndrome.

If anything, from what I read, I would imagine the two little dogs are spoiled, with the larger dog being the less favored of the three.

I feel bad for the bigger dog, because the bigger dog probably knows it wrong to do anything back, and it thinks it is supposed to sit there and take it. Sounds to me like the little dogs need a wake up call.

I probably wouldn't change my routine around the dogs, I would change their behavior. If they are all inside dogs, it will eventually happen inside more then likely.
 

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"Their pleasure" is to run up and down the fence acting tough toward whatever they hear/see/smell. (They can see somewhat because it's shadow box.) For about the first 1.5 years all three dogs were together this was never a problem.
It probably was a problem for your neighbors and people walking by your fence. It just wasn't a problem for you.
 

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Had the same problem last year between a Malinois and a mixed breed smaller dog. She would not leave the mal alone and after spending 5000.00 and over 200 hrs.training on the mal, There was no way he was going anywhere. Bought a shock collar off ebay for 50.00 and shocked her on the lowest setting every time she started and yelled a command in Japanese. In less than 48 hours, she got the idea ! From time to time she will try again but the mention of that command and she remembers quite well ! I also used the collar a few times to break the Malinois from leaving the property line when we were doing bite work. He learned fast as well. Some people say it's cruel but I have felt the shock and it does hurt like a mother but, if used properly, it only takes a few times,and its not a cruel as letting your dog run out in the road to get run over by a car or to bit a child like I've seen a few times. Also it does not hurt to put the dog on it's back from time to time to let it know who the alpha really is. Got that advice from guys who train and sell 15,000 protection dogs.

P.S. What Johnnyreb said is right on !
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Who is the alpha of their group?

It ought to be you, and it doesn't sound like it is. You've allowed for the two smaller dogs to engage in a certain behavior because of their size and now when the big one responds in kind it's a problem.

To paraphrase Heinlein, raising a kid is no different than raising a dog. You give them equitable treatment, exploit their interests, drive them to succeed, and challenge them. You demand their respect and they'll give it to you.
I have done a lot of reading and am always working on the psychological aspect of establishing/maintaining pack leader status. I'm not convinced how successful I've been here, but any shortcomings that may be present are not due to ignorance or laziness.

The two little ones nipping at him occasionally were never a "problem" per say and never seemed to escalate until recently at the fence line. We tolerated it because it only occurred when he would bump into them, step on them (thankfully usually a piece of their hair or tail and not across their spine or something), and it does appear it has helped to make him more sensitive to their personal space which I would like to believe has helped us get this far without a broken leg or back from him. Withstanding the subtle undertones of sarcasm, I appreciate the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are any of them in heat, and does the recent fighting correlate to the heat cycle? Dogs in heat, in an amped up state like running your fence line, can bring out aggression.
Negative - they're all fixed. (BTW if I didn't mention it in the OP, he's a boy, they're girls.) I would gander to say a dog in heat could be escalating the situation at times but it's become consistent enough that I don't think it's a weighted factor. Appreciate the feedback though.
 

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My take: the dogs are getting amped up to tackle the prey or threat outside the fence. Frustration at not getting at their goal is taken out on each other. More exercise might help, but I agree that a remote collar system and serious training would probably be required to stop this behavior. If there's no blood it's probably ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So when the little dogs go after the bigger dog, its not a problem, but when the big dog just wants to be left alone, it becomes a problem?

Who is the dominant one?

I see two overall solutions. One is to let them hash it out. Its very unlikely any of the dogs will kill each other, and its important for the little dogs to learn they can get their butt kicked, and that they aren't in charge.
I'm continuing to consider this.. thank god the boy is a gentle beast and even though it SOUNDS and LOOKS like I'm going to walk over there to a bloody pile of flesh and fur, never a scratch.. but the dog IS quivering trying to figure out WTF just happened. I.e., I definitely see short term improvements following an incident but not sure if it's adding up to long term.

Another, is to get a shock collar system, and use it until you mold their behavior into how you like. If they little dogs instigate the bigger dog, give them a taste of the shock collar, so they learn the behavior is wrong.

From what I have seen small dogs, especially ones that are coddled, seem to have poor attitudes towards other animals. Its almost like they have little man syndrome.
Shock systems are not on my short list at the moment, but are absolutely being considered. Collars along with an electric perimeter fence.

If anything, from what I read, I would imagine the two little dogs are spoiled, with the larger dog being the less favored of the three.

I feel bad for the bigger dog, because the bigger dog probably knows it wrong to do anything back, and it thinks it is supposed to sit there and take it. Sounds to me like the little dogs need a wake up call.
Given the details available one could assume this, but I'll go to the mat with you whether the information I provided is culpable in you forming that conclusion. To clear the air, this couldn't be farther from the truth and both me and gf go out of our way to be fair. If there was a "favorite" though, it would definitely be the big boy. We've tolerated the nipping because it's never been excessive, it's never been an issue (until recently, and I only say that because it seems to be escalating), and both me and my gf feel it's played a major factor in keeping them safe from his rambunctious behavior, mostly getting stepped on, squished, etc. When he gets hyper, he can (and has) seriously hurt them before accidentally.

He has literally knocked one of them out with a tail whip, this was at only 7 or 8 months old. We had it docked shortly after that. (In top of the safety hazard, he had recurring bouts of "happy tail" where it hits objects, bleeds, and on top of causing a nightmarish looking mess of blood spatter is an infection/health risk for him.)

I probably wouldn't change my routine around the dogs, I would change their behavior. If they are all inside dogs, it will eventually happen inside more then likely.
Thankfully, so far, that hasn't been happening. We're very concerned and love ALL our dogs :)wink:) VERY much, which is why I felt prudent to try and get some more thoughts/suggestions here on GT. Thanks a bunch for the feedback.

The DNA test on him said something like high 80s lows 90s (honestly can't remember and gf not here) that he is half staff terrier (pitbull), and half american bulldog (some pitbull relations but different)? (GF works as a vet tech, it wasn't that expensive, $100 I think.)

To the pitbull quibblers, I know this is unlikely to help you being ignoramuses, but I'd encourage you to see some of my responses that reflect how gentle this dog is in aggressive, high stress situations. These are all my first dogs, all rescues, and kudos to me for not buying the church of pitbull hysteria because this is an AWESOME dog. He is and always will be carefully supervised, as should all big/working dogs that we take on as pets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My take: the dogs are getting amped up to tackle the prey or threat outside the fence. Frustration at not getting at their goal is taken out on each other. More exercise might help, but I agree that a remote collar system and serious training would probably be required to stop this behavior. If there's no blood it's probably ok.
Honestly, this was my first thought. They're running back and forth along the fence and bumping into each other. If they had more room to maneuver I'm almost certain this would be a non-issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
THIS is a true statement. I'd hate to be your neighbor and have to put up with that. Severe lack of training and discipline.
Whatever is causing you to project and insult me sounds like a personal problem, because I don't think a reasonable person could presume I'm a bad neighbor and deadbeat dog owner from what I've posted here. Regardless, you're way off base. I'm a very conscientious neighbor and devoted (albeit new and learning) dog owner.

Consider some training and discipline to keep your smug attitude in check before you forget you're on the Internet one day and talk to the wrong person that way.
 

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Kill the murderous pit bull. There, end of thread.

I can't believe every dog behavior thread devolves into more pit bull bashing within 3 posts. You don't like them? Fine, don't have one. But leave those of us that do have them alone.
 

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Sorry Zeus, no personal offense meant. But there is a lack of respect for your neighbors and the people on the sidewalk behind you if you continue to allow your dogs to run up and down the parallel fence barking and challenging other dogs who are legally there. I'm glad you are trying to fix your problem of your dogs fighting each other, but you have to respect the neighbors also. Even if they aren't fighting with each other they shouldn't be running up and down your back fence challenging other innocent people walking their dogs legally.
 
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