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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
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I need some help

You know sometimes when something not so good happens and you don't really have anyone to talk to about it because they don't understand and maybe you're a little paranoid and what you say is a little extreme or over the top. Well this is going to be one of those things. Now you're wondering why this is in the dog section. I'm gonna tell you.

For those of you that may not know, I own two pitbulls, not sure if they are pure or mixed. I rescued them when they were 16 weeks old and picked them out of a litter of 9 puppies. I picked them because they were the most submissive dogs and constantly slept and played together when I visited them for the 6 weeks before I could bring them home (it took so long to bring them home because I was moving into a new house) When they were little I found that anything edible that couldn't be chewed and swallowed right then and there was not allowed because it caused one of them to get a little to upset. One would growl and snap and the other one would just walk away but my trainer and I decided that these were trophy items and cause more problems than they are worth. They are now 2 years and 5 months old (little flags must be going up for some of you) A couple of weeks ago I brought home some new toys. Those big nylabone chews shaped like a tire and the other one was shaped like a pork chop. They seemed to be getting bored so I thought new toys would help. They don't play together much any more and don't even sleep together unless they are in their crate at night. They used to be inseparable and that didn't make sense until tonight. Anyhow, they were really excited about the toys, they each took one and separated. My one decided it would be fun to keep shoving it in the other ones face and then growl at her if she even sniffed it but I thought they were playing. Later that evening the toy was in between them. One was laying on my feet and the with the toy about 3 feet in front of her not paying attention. The other one snottily strolls over stretches her paws out putting them ontop of the toy and lays down and procedes to growl at the other one. The one on my feet (Baci) is apparently sick of all the crap the other one (Dolce) has been giving her all day and they go at it. No real biting no breaking of any skin just really loud viscious barking. This definitely was not play barking, those of you that have had dogs that have gotten in a fight you know what I am talking about. When pits make this sound its so much more scary. Luckily I was calm enough just to say (really loud at 11pm at night) "Hey, Hey, hey knock it off" and they did. I picked up the toys and looked at them and said "no more". I had a big long rant at them and told them it wasn't allowed the toys were going in the garbage, blah blah blah. Yes stupid me instead of taking them to the shelter I threw two toys away that were worth 20 buck a piece I was a little shaken up and mad so thats where they ended up. They seemed a little on edge but no more fighting after that. A couple of days ago my husband fed them. They have been eating out of the bowls side by side for almost 2.5 years, sticking each others noses into each others bowls. Apparently Baci stopped eating for a minute and Dolce went in to eat what was left and they just started going at it again. No blood or punctured skin at all. My husband (I love hime dearly but sometimes he is such a baby) ran out of the room because he got scared. And now today I was standing out on the deck and the dogs were both at my feet. Baci was licking my knee, a common pass time with her, and then out of no where they started with the viscious barking so yes I did the hey, hey hey knock it off thing and they stopped.

I don't know if its because of their age and they are "turning on" or its because of the summer. Dolce doesn't look happy lately, she seems obsessed with the wild life on the other side of the fence and if there isn't any there she sits and waits. As I said they never really play together anymore but today I thought things were calming down. They were outside on the deck and from where I was looking inside all I could see were 4 feet sticking up in the air and they were rolling around and then got up and Dolce was cleaning Baci's ears and they looked happy. I don't know what to think at this point.

Should I be worried, should I look for different signs. I couldn't even think of the thought of having to choose one and keep the other, its gut wrenching and I guess thats why I am sounding off to you guys. Would they be better in separate homes, will they just get over this. Do I wait till it escalates into a blood bath or am I just being paranoid and that probably wouldn't even happen. I just want them to be happy and have everything they deserve and right now I feel like a failure, I feel like all those people that opposed my adoption of these two are saying I told you so. I'm just so upset and I need someone to help me sort this all out in my mind. I'm so upset because all of the worst is spinning through my head right now.

If you read through all of this god bless you! BTW, I was able to get into the middle of the two of them, at one point before this little war started and the one dog was growling at the other with a toy in her mouth and I had no problem taking it away from her. They show absolutely no people aggression at all, just each other
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 12:54 AM
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I'm really sorry about whats happening with your dogs. I wish I could offer some advice, but I don't know much about pitbulls. I know that it must really be hard for you though, especially since they can hurt each other. I get so frustrated when my kitties fight and do the power trip thing. I hope that everything works out!
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 12:57 AM
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Hmmm...I've heard of this before. Just throwing ideas out...I'm no expert. Do you feel one is trying to be more dominant and perhaps you are feeling sorry for the submissive one? I once read that it is better to treat the dominant one in a special manner because "rewarding" the low man on the totem pole only escalulates the situation. Are you and the husband clearly the leaders of your pack?

I don't blame you for being shaken up. My two males have gone at it on occasion and and it always sounds much worse than it is with no injuries. I never discount this sort of problem though because I have heard of dogs seriously inflicting injury onto each other.

You probably have already thought of this, but how about an animal behaviorist coming to your home to sort things out? In the meantime, keep them seperate for feeding, chew toy time. I know it is especially important to make them work for food and chew toys to show you are pack leader. Make them go through basic obedience steps before they are rewarded with any meals.

Sorry I'm not much help Hang in there!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 01:03 AM
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first of all... YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. SO don't say that.

I can understand how you feel even though i've not had pits. This is really where the pitty owners/lovers can give better advice for sure.

It seems to me like keeping them together is not making them, or you happy. As hard as it would be, maybe rehoming one would be best. Again, I am not sure as I don't know much on the breed... so I defer to Mandie and the other pitty people here.

No matter what you know you have us to lean on. We are there for ya.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 02:04 AM
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Dena I am so sorry you are going through this, other than rehoming them the only other suggestion I have to help control the aggressive one is what we had to do with Ajax.......... Ajax was very aggressive with his brother Beau from day one of fostering them, now poor Beau is just a mental case (sort of speaking). During Feeding time all the other dogs except those 2 get fed in their normal spots, now Beau and Ajax get fed in the kitchen while being gated in, Ajax is forced to sit and watch Beau eat and when Beau is all done then Ajax get's to eat, this has helped both in the food aggression and his attitude/aggression towards his brother in general. It has made a great deal of improvement on the yelling in the house because of Ajax, and it has also helped Ajax realize that he is not the BIG man on the todem pole and actually treats his brother and the other dogs with a little more respect now. Now if I can only get him to listen otherwise he would be the perfect dog I wish you the best of luck as I know this isn't easy for you, and the ony advice I could give is what I have done myself..... Hugs to ya, keep us updated!!!
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 02:20 AM
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Thanks for deferring to me Chrisanne!
How often is this really happening? Once a day? Once every two days? Several times a day? It sounds to me like what is happening is what happens when most pits reach that age...actual adulthood. Normally, it doesn't get any worse than what you are currently experiencing with dogs of opposite sex, but when both dogs are the same sex, they often need to be in different homes. However, pits of the same sex (females only) will often get over it quickly espcially if they are littermates.
Kali and Orion often do this, sometimes its a couple of times a day, sometimes it's only 2 or 3 times a week, and sometimes they go for a good long while without any episodes. As long as you can curb it with your voice, you are doing good. With Kali and Orion "Enough" works for us. What I've noticed with my two, is that Orion will want to play, Kali doesn't and he will badger her until she reacts and it will escalade. There is a lot of noise...growling, barking, snarling, but neither one is really doing any biting or damage to the other. Kali is telling him to "leave her alone". This usually happens in the summer months when it is hot and sticky and she just doesn't want to be bothered with playing...(he's too dumb to realize it's too hot for all that)
As far as the incident with the toys...well, we get that too. It sometimes seems Orion only wants whatever Kali has at the moment. Often she'll let him have it and go get something else. He then wants that something else of course. What seems to be going on there, is nothing more than typical sibling rivalry like what children do. As far as pushing the toy in the other one's face, she is daring the other one to take it. She's saying "go ahead and take my toy, see what happens" She's telling the other dog that it is "hers" and not to touch it.
At this point, controlling it with your voice and as long as they aren't breaking skin, they should be okay. If as the weather gets cooler, they should ease up on it and if not, well, you should just cross that bridge when you come to it. For now, I would suggest feeding them in separate rooms to help ease tentions and not offer any new toys at the moment. Be consistent with treats, pick one to ALWAYS get their treat first and stick to that. I know it's frusterating and difficult, but don't be afraid of them, they aren't upset with you, just annoyed by each other. Control is key and you have it with your voice. At this point, I honestly wouldn't worry about it too much unless it escalades into something you cannot control with your voice or stop by throwing a pillow at them (another good attention getter) My advice is also, pay a little extra attention to the dominant one, offer her treats first and such. It's not really rewarding bad behavior, but using precaution to avoid problems. I tell people with bully breeds, you don't have to use "extra" precautions, just different ones.
If you have any questions, concerns, vents or remarks, please feel free to contact me whenever...living with these guys is rewarding and frusterating all at the same time, but so worth the effort
Believe me Sweetie, it's not you or anything you did wrong, just normal sibling rivalry behavior and one trying to establish herself as being above the other...they'll work it out. Your a great bully mom! So don't beat yourself up about it and tell your Hubby to just tell them to knock it off...he'll soon learn too that they are just being brats.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Right now this has happened three times in the past two weeks so granted its not a lot by any means but since its never happened before. They are female from the same litter, both spayed by 6 months. One problem is that I can't tell which one is more dominant. All of the fights started because Dolce was pushing it with Baci (at least thats the way it looks to me) but Baci allows Dolce to hump her all of the time. I've always treated them both the same. I haven't had a need to separate them to feed them, it was just that one time and now I'm wondering if it was because they were just hot and pissy. They don't actually try to bite each other at all, it looks ritualistic almost. My fear is that I don't want it to escalate any further than that. I know my friends two had fights and caused stitches to one another but were together for 8 years with no real problem.

I told you I was panicing and being irrational. I wish you could see my two. You would understand why I can't tell which one is more dominant. Maybe thats the whole point someone finally wants to be dominant. I also paniced because the last fight was over me. One was licking my knee for a minute or so and they were both just standing there and boom a fight. I feel much better with all of your help. I knew you guys would help sort out my thoughts. Thank you so much.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-06-2004, 11:00 PM
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My brother had a pit bull terrier (Nicka) when we were kids and my mom had a toy fox terrier (Sherry). Sherry was always picking at Nicka. Sherry would go out of her way to walk in front of Nicka, steal her toys, whatever. One day Nicka got fed up and started growling and bit at Sherry....she didn't grab her, just bit at her. From that day forward those two were never allowed to be alone together. If one even looked at the other funny we would reprimand whoever was giving the dirty looks.

Don't give up yet but be sure to keep an extremely close eye on them. If one even looks like they are going to steal a toy or try to start something, put a stop to it. I wouldn't leave them alone together. I wouldn't even let them sleep together anymore. Maybe they need some individual attention, alone time with you. Put one in a room while you play with the other and then switch.

Good luck Dena. Don't give up on them just yet but don't let your guard down either.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-07-2004, 05:08 PM
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I used to own a pit. She was soo sweet. She was never socialized around any other dogs except for another pit that was deaf. She would get in a spat or two with my female Sibe Sheiba, and I would just yell 'HEYY!' and they stopped. My sibe was actually the one who started it, but then again she was the most dominant and still is. From the research I've done, the maturity age for pits is a little bit later than most other dogs. Which your dogs are at that age right now. 2-3 years. Same sex aggression is higher in pits as well. Chinchilla Girl, explained it pretty well. They're just showing whose boss. Sometimes my 2 sibes fight, and one time it was because one wanted attention from my mom while the other was gettin attention. The other time it was when they were tearing up a food bag, and dummy us, we forgot how territorial Sheiba gets over food (shes alpha so they usually allow her to push her way in and eat) and she didn't like Denali shredding it with her one bit, and just all of a sudden, it took a couple seconds of raising lips and staring, then BOOM, had to seperate them. Unfortunately they did manage to cut eachothers legs, but nothing serious, and this ALWAYS happens when they are comming into heat. We haven't had the money to get them spayed yet, but once they are out of this second heat, are taking them to a local shelter, which have a low cost spay/neuter for dogs.

Well good luck with your situation! Just thought I would put in my 2 cents!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-07-2004, 06:28 PM
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I don't have any advice but I wish you the best and send hugs your way!


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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-08-2004, 12:57 PM
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Many times same sex and espicailly litter mates can have fighting. At times it can be quite bad. You will need to monitor them carefully. I would make sure their food bowls are far apart now so they feel no threat. Also as some one else said you may have to rehome one.
When I bred poms for possible showing years ago, I never let people take 2 littermates. Raising 2 litter mates can be a handful for any breed.
Keep a close eye and if it gets really bad you may have to seperate them.
I wish you luck.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-08-2004, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Well so far no more fighting but I noticed now Dolce waits in the crate while Baci is eating, I had to move the food bowl so she would eat. It looks like Baci has won out on the dominance issue. I guess all of the humping didn't mean a thing (Dolce was previously, for the last two years, humping Baci with no reaction) They do eat together sometimes. I guess as the one knows their place in the pack order and as long as they know that I am alfa things should be okay. As I said the fights were just a lot of horrendous barking and it was easy to distinguish from normal play barking. They have not actually bitten or really gone after each other, not even a scratch. Of course I am watching closely to make sure it does not escalate. I have high hopes considering it's only happend a handful of times over a couple of weeks. I've been having conversations with them and explain to them that if they cannot get along I would not be able to choose one to keep and one to rehome so they would both have to go to new homes. Boy did I get dirty looks. I cry even at the thought of having to possibly make a decision between them. How do you choose between your children. If I need to find new homes it will be for both of them. It easier to handle the thought of betraying both of them than just one. Can you tell I'm beating myself up over this.

I know at this point I am over reacting slightly but with pits I just don't want to be too cautious. Thanks again everyone for listening and for the advise.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-09-2004, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update for everyone (thanks so much again everyone for help me clear my head) I spoke to my best friend last night (also a pit owner) coincedentally she hired an animal behaviorist to come help her with her dog Bud, who had a very marking problem in the house. He cured him in one day, just by making a simple suggestion and he has been marking free for 2 weeks straight.

This is not a trainer but an actual animal psychiatrist. He has a Phd in animal behavior and works with dogs and cats and I think birds and probably other animals as well. Yes I hired a Dr. Phil for my girls. He's a little pricey but I rather lose the money than my dogs. The nice thing is I have unlimited follow up calls after my session and if he needs to he will come back out.

I feel a little more relieved now. I am expecting the worse but hoping for the best and until Sunday that's all I can do. I'll let you guys know what he's like.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-09-2004, 10:54 PM
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Dena, I am sending positive vibes to you in the hopes the animal behaviorist can correct the problem between Dolce and Baci.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-10-2004, 10:10 AM
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Good for you Dena! What a good doggie mom you are!

I hope the specialist can help. I look forward to hearing what he says. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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bull terrier, bully breeds, chew toy, chew toys, food bowl, food bowls, litter mates, local shelter, pit bull, pit bull terrier, toy fox terrier

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