New Dog ?Fighting?

kaseyray2November 13, 2011

Hi, experts and others! I could really use some advice. I am open-minded! We recently adopted 2 young border collies(both female) and we already had 2 older border collies (m/f). They all get along EXCEPT: The new 1-y.o. female (Gray) and my 5-y.o. female (Black) do not.

Black is a super-soft submissive type-not a mean bone in her body. Bellies up to every person, super-obedient. However, she is always very uncertain about meeting new dogs, doesn't do it well, not sure how to behave, looks to me for direction. When strange dogs come over, she guards the doorway, and is generally upset, though not aggressive.

Grey is a confident, sassy, swaggering girl. Probably more of a dominant type, but isn't aggressive toward the other dogs....

So here's what happens. Black stays in her corner of the kitchen, minding her own business. Gray comes running up, slides in on her back underneath Black's nose. Black stands up and growls softly. Though Gray would seem submissive in this, if the tension is too high, Gray will start to bite and nip (and lick) Black on the nose legs and belly (all the while ostensibly being submissive-it's like she's faking the submissiveness). Once in a while it will go to full on dog-fight, in which case, Gray is really aggressive and very hard to pull away and then keep her away: she'll keep trying to go back in for more.

When outside on their own, Gray will always submit to Black, and there's enough room out there, they will eventually leave each other alone.

Who's really the problem here? I wish I could channel Cesar Millan and know what he would say. Is Black the problem, because of her insecurity? Or is Gray the problem because of her fake-submissiveness? What do we do about this?


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The gray dog is only a year old and is basically in her teenage years. Just like with people, when a dog is in their "teens" their hormones are flying and they are apt to challenge all authority even with another dog. It seems as though the older black dog is trying to put your gray dog in her "place" and hold on to her alpha position in the house.

It also sounds like your gray dog could benefit from some simple training. If you enroll her in a beginners class, she'll learn the basics of sit, leave it and come, all of which would help to keep her from annoying the other dog. She could also benefit from some additional socializing. Our puppy needed socializing and since dogs are the best trainers, we take her to doggie day care a couple of times a week so she can learn good playing and communicating skills from the other dogs. It's helped her to have a healthy confidence and yet be submissive when appropriate. The bonus is that all the play wears them out too so they are quieter when they come home. The one we take our girl to is very affordable and even has cam cameras so we can see her play.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:20PM
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