My dog attacked my other dog. HELP!

8 years ago

My parents and I have a total of 5 dogs in our home right now. Three labs, ages 11, 7, and 2. My Mastiff/Amstaff Mix, Tyson, age 3. And a foster, Hershey, just over one year. He is a Pit Bull/Lab Mix. We have had Hershey for about 4 to 5 months now, so he is settled in with the "pack."

We have never had a problem with all of the dogs getting along until recently.

A few weeks ago, I noticed Hershey growling at Tyson in my bedroom when I was petting Hershey and Tyson came towards us. I immediately picked him up and put him in my mother's room with the labs. I haven't had a problem since then, until today.

Earlier today while petting Hershey on a chair in our family room, Tyson jumped up, and Hershey attacked him. I'm assuming out of jealousy or protection. I seperated it quickly, before anyone got hurt, and put them both in their crates until they settled down. I let them out of the crates and they were fine.

About an hour afterwards, I was sitting on the floor in the living room and Hershey came up to me, so again I started petting him. I heard Tyson coming towards us by his nails in the kitchen. Hershey began growling. Tyson walked into the room and Hershey immediately attacked, ripped open Tyson's ear a bit, but over all they were both fine. Again I crated them.

They now have been out of the crate for a few hours, and I won't show either of them affection in fear of what could happen.

Both of them know I am the master. They respect me, do as I say, and never show any signs of aggression. If I stare either in the eye, they bow their head or look away. If I say "No," or "Get down," they do so. They both sleep with me, or on me. They both are crated when no one is home. They receieve the same treatment from everyone in the house.

I have no idea what to do in this situation. The easy way out would be to tell the rescue to find Hershey another foster home, but I know it's not that simple. It's also incredibly difficult for me to get a hold of the woman in charge of the rescue, she still doesn't know what happened.

I feel as if this is either a protective act, or a jealous act by Hershey, but I really don't know. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!

Comments (18)

  • cynthia_gw

    Sounds like Hershey is resource guarding. You are the prized object. You need to start training and treating the two dogs together. They typically get along right? Walk them together, have one on either side of you when petting. Have both sit, stay, give paw whatever in the same room but at different stations and take turns petting and treating them while the other remains in a sit or down stay. Make it a game. Training is fun. Keep the training sessions brief. 4 months is not a long time and your new dog is not integrated into the pack yet. Pick up a copy of Jean Donaldson's 'MINE'. That has helpful exercises in. Meanwhile practice management by being vigilent and separating before Hershey reacts. You have a lot of dogs in one house and that many dogs requires management not just training.

  • annzgw

    The link below offers excellent info on training and living with Pits/Bull Terriers and Pit X's. Be sure to read the articles on Behavior and Training, and Aggression.
    My advice would be to not let either dog sleep with you, especially since dog sensitivity has reared it's ugly head. You may wake one night and literally be in the middle of a fight. The other reason not to let them sleep with you is because you're fostering the dog and the family that adopts him may not want a dog that sleeps in the bed. It's easier to allow a dog in the bed than to try and teach him to stay off, so leave spoiling him to the new owners.
    I'm also curious as to how much exercise these 5 dogs get, especially the youngest one. DS owns an 8 month old Pit X and she spends half her day running. Then she collapses into zombie mode along with their Boxer.

    The rescue needs to know this has happened and anyone considering him should be made aware of it. Hopefully the rescue you're working with understands the breed.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pit Bulls

  • jomuir

    Why on earth would you allow a breed like that in your home is beyond me.

    Keep the pit mix and expect more of the same incidents in the future.

  • sylviatexas1

    since he's a foster, I my own self would probably try to find him a permanent home.

    If you're thinking about keeping him (happens all the time), you may be in for a lot of intensive work & the results might be less than perfect.

    Bless you for taking in a pit mix;
    they're lovely dogs, but sometimes they're not good with other animals.

    I wish you the best.

  • mazer415

    Sounds like your new charge is in need of a tude adjustment.
    First, put him on a leash when in the home. He should be on the leash at all times. This leash should be held by you or someone else AT ALL TIMES.
    Next get him into behavioral training ASAP.
    For in the home - feed him last, pet him last, start making him sit and stay when going through every door. I can tell you right now, with 100 percent certainty - if you do not start training this dog right now, and correcting its behavior immediately - you are going to have a huge dog fight on your hands.
    This dog needs its attitude corrected - seperating the dogs is going to make things worse not better. You need to teach the new dog that it is not the king of the pack. No letting the new dog on the furniture without an invitation. As soon as another dog comes near, put the new dog in a corner and tell it to stay, you can use eye hooks in the wall (be sure and get it in a stud) to teach it to case scenario is to find the new pup another home especially if you can not spend the time to correct it and retrain it, which will take vigilance and time and lots of energy. Do NOT leave this dog unsupervised with any other creature.

  • kitasmommie

    Responding to jomuir's comment.....
    We have a pit mix that I got from a shelter when she was just a little thing. Sweetest dog I've ever had. Mutley is 9 years old now. Has never been agressive to anyone - be it human or animal. I've even taken things out of her mouth that I don't want her to have - including bones.
    ANY dog can be trained to be agressive - just like they can be trained to not be agressive - it's all in how you raise them.
    Don't blame the breeds - blame the owners.

  • jomuir

    Kitasmommie, you are entitled to your opinion & I'm glad your pet has worked out. I also am entitled to my opinion & it's based on the fact that the vast majority of fatal and near fatal maulings are committed by bully breeds, pitts, rotts, etc. There is not a vast pit bull conspiracy against them, reporters report what is happening, they aren't out there suppressing all those violent attacks by golden retrievers and poodles.

    I see it as a choice I make to err on the side of caution. I wouldn't ride a motorcycle w/o a helmet, wouldn't car surf, etc. Thus I avoid a breed of dog known to be statistically much more likely to hurt or kill someone (also statistically more often elderly or children are victims). I HATE seeing news reports of grieving owners after their bully breed has maimed or killed a loved one.

    I know most pitts don't attack, and I've known and liked some pitts before in my life. But I would never consider getting one, there are so many other safer breeds out there in need of homes.

    And if anyone wants to chime in about ankle biters, or that other dogs bite, too, I agree w/that too.

    But I would take my chances on getting bitten by a cocker spaniel or chihuahua etc any day over a pitt or rotty. I'm confident I would survive an attack by them, not as confident about that pitt. Some of this is hardwired, and training comes in after that. So I respectfully maintain my original opinion. And hope that OP doesn't return one day to tell us about another attack by her new dog.

  • PMFascetti

    Listen Jo, just because a pitt bull visciously mauled my dog Maxine, a pretty little Cockapoo Lhasa mix, and I had to kick a Rot off my Little Maxine while taking a walk, doesn't make those dogs bad breeds. I also had to protect my Sheltie from a wild Pitt Bull last summmer, but I don't think the dogs are bad.
    These breeds are good for dog fighting, and their owners are good for psychiatrists.
    It's a viscious cycle and everything and everybody has their own special place!

  • arkansas girl

    Pit bull maulings are committed because stupid ignorant AZZHATS train them to be mean. There is nothing mean about the breed in general. Someone needs to do their homework and you know what they same when you ASSUME!!!!!!? UGH! The ignorance never ceases to amaze me...PEOPLE?????

  • arkansas girl

    And another thing...when I was a kid my family had a cocker...meanest dog ever! If someone came between him and my mom, he's bite them. He was so jealous! OH and something else, the only dog that ever bit ME was a 4 lb CHIHUAHUA!!!

  • gigi7

    I will chime in here and completely agree with arkansas girl and son, several years ago, married (no kids yet, thankfully) and a complete animal lover adopted a golden...that dog completely mauled his arm..after a big time ER visit and many rounds of antibiotics, he was fine....they had to have Teddy put down....made us all sick, but something was wrong with him surely....and we have two rescue pits, and one found us one freezing March afternoon...I know no one has time to hear the long story, but he's so precious...I have no doubt that he was abused in some way...but he's in our home (of course under supervision as they all are) but he's so very sweet and not one bit of a problem....not with food, not with anything...and if I had taken him to our shelter, they would have IMMEDIATELY put him to second chance, no nothing. I knew he was quite young, less than a year at the's been 4 NOT blame the breed! Ignorance is the worst enemy of these dogs...and I'm all for spay/neuter and not breeding them, selling them by PetSmart as I see all the time. Most of them end up euthanized. or worse. My daddy had a pit bull when he was a little boy.....loved that dog to pieces... in the 1930's....someone ran over him intentionally and the doggie crawled over and died on Daddy's feet....he never told that story without crying. Dad didn't cry, ever.
    I will be the first to say, I never thought I'd have a Pit I can't imagine them not being here...and, for the record, they are both fixed...and were immediately! Makes a HUGE difference.

  • fl_gypsy

    'Why on earth would you allow a breed like that in your home is beyond me. Keep the pit mix and expect more of the same incidents in the future.'

    Why would you question what type dog a person has if they are a responsible owner, as sarah appears to be. She has realized that there is a problem and working to resolve it. This dominance/jealousy problem could have risen with any breed dog, not only a Pitt. I have been around/worked with dogs all my life; the three times I was bitten was by a Cocker, a Jack Russell and a Sheltie. Pitts are not the top bitters, but as larger dogs they do more damage when they bite. A lot of smaller dog bites are also not reported making their bite statistics lower on the list.

    I've seen Pitts who were wonderful "people/kid dogs", who were wonderful pets and great with other pets and I've seen Pitts who were wonderful pets but couldn't be trusted around other pets, same as can be found in any breed. I can't say I would never have a Pit because I've had too many rescues to say never but I probably wouldn't go out and intentionally get a Pit due to not knowing bloodlines or how the animal had been raised. At one time there was a guy here in Florida who bred Pitts just for fighting. He took the worst of the worst and bred them over and over. If you got a dog from his bloodlines in error, you could very well have a problem because this IDIOT had bred them to be vicious. I've seen people who want their Pitts to be bad and train/abuse them to be so. Sadly, in cases like these the dogs are the ones who suffer. Personally I think that people of this ilk, people who fight dogs and people such as this breeder need to be put into a cage and forced to fight in the same manner which the dogs are forced to do. Animal abuse laws aren't strict enough in my opinion. People who abuse animals have no respect for any kind of life as far as I am concerned.

    Bless you sarah for fostering.

  • jomuir

    You're right, pitts aren't the only biters out there. But they are so much more prone to attack and when they do bite the consequences are much worse than other breeds. One can't train away genetics and they WERE bred to fight and kill.

    Why spend resources on a breed like that when there are so many other breeds being euthanized every day across our nation that don't have the same propensity for violence? That will never make sense to me, no matter how many good folks on this or any other forum try to convince me that it's the owners.

    It's not the owner, it's the DOG.

  • sylviatexas1

    Terriers too were "bred to fight & kill"...

    I never have had a problem with pit bulls;
    I met one very territorial male that watched me like a hawk, but I never challenged him (just as I never would challenge any dog), & we got along fine.

    The only "bite" I ever got was from, of all things, a hyper-active, super-friendly Aussie, & I don't know if that dog even realized he bit me;
    he kept wagging his tail & grinning & licking.

    I'd never leave any dog alone with a small child;
    *every* dog has a prey drive, & children don't always know what behaviors threaten a dog or how to read doggie body language.

  • jomuir

    Thanks Sylvia, you are bolstering my case with your 'bite' from an Aussie. I promise, if a pit bites you, both you & it will be aware, cause it most likely won't be planning to let go of you anytime soon.

    Yes, terriers were bred to fight, but mostly against rodents, not equal or larger size opponents, which leads them to be more tenacious & fearless. Add in that huge jaw strength & we have a recipe for disaster. Now toss in ghetto mentality, need a tuff dog to guard your dope? Get a pitt! Poor handling & breeding has made a dangerous breed worse.

    And Fl_gypsy, it's true that "This dominance/jealousy problem could have risen with any breed dog, not only a Pitt". The problem continues to be the high risk of death or severe injury from a pitt, not a cocker, jrt, or sheltie. Cockers ARE notoriously hard to work with, I worked at a vet yrs ago & we had our share of them that snapped at everyone except their owners. But I can't recall the last time I read about a baby being mauled to death by a cocker. My goodness the pregnant lady in SF area mauled to death sleeping on the sofa! She & her DH had moved to have more space for their pitts.

    The hits just keep on coming, and statistically, they're coming from pitts, rotts and their ilk. What a lovely day it was when our old neighbor got a presa canario puppy and proceeded to dump it in the backyard 24/7. I was thrilled to read about how vicious they can be, esp. considering I had a sweet little poodle back then. All's well that ends well, she was foreclosed on in short order.

    Oh, arkansasgirl, I have done my homework, trust me. I am not trying to convince anyone of the facts on this subject, but I will def. stand up for myself. I am not name-calling anyone & have been polite, if not a bit too blunt for some.

    Here is a link that might be useful: interesting reading if you're interested

  • sylviatexas1

    The fact that an Aussie bit me bolsters your very insistent case against pit bulls?

    Maybe you could go into politics...

  • jomuir

    'The only "bite" I ever got was from, of all things, a hyper-active, super-friendly Aussie, & I don't know if that dog even realized he bit me;
    he kept wagging his tail & grinning & licking.'

    Just responding to what you said accidental bite is a lot different than an intentional one, and my point is that you'd know the difference between the 2 if it ever happened to you.

    No politics here, just facts ma'am.

  • sylviatexas1

    No, the "point" you keep hammering at is that pit bulls are more likely to bite, & *my* point is that I've been bitten by ONE dog who was NOT a pit.

    Aussies 1
    Pit bulls 0

    MY experience, which is all I am talking about, is that an Aussie, one of those hyperactive maniacally friendly souls, has bitten me while no pit bull has.

    Please don't deny my honesty by representing your very slanted viewpoint as "just the facts".

    MY post stated facts;
    your rebuttals are attempts to contort my factual statements into a very broad condemnation of one breed based on the fact that a dog of another breed bit me.

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