My dog attacked my other dog over food

rottie481September 6, 2009

The other day I was packing my dogs food in baggies to prepare for our weekend vacation. While measuring out the food, Molly (beagle/jack russel mix)came over to investigate and tried to get some food out of the food bin which is located on the bottom cabinet in the kitchen. She has always been a 'food hog' and will do anything for food. She has always been defensive around food. While she was trying to get in the food bin, our other dog Charlie (chihuahua) walked next to Molly to also see the food. This was the first time Charlie came this close to Molly when food was present. Molly turned around and literally attacked him. I freaked out and picked her up yelling "no molly". As I picked her up, she did not release and kept Charlie in her mouth. She had him by the neck. At his point, Charlie was now lifted off the floor crying very very loudly. My husband ran over and grabbed Charlie and tried to get him away from her. It took a few seconds before she released. I put her in the bathroom for 'time out' as we evaluated Charlie. He was extremly scared and cried when we tried to touch his neck. We realized that there was one puncture wound and he was bleeding. It was a little bit of blood but he had a small hole in his neck.

This was the first time she had done this and I didn't know what to do. She lunged at him 2 other times before when food was not present but we seperated them and no one got hurt. This was the first actual 'dog fight'. It's very confusing because they are such BEST friends.

I am 16 weeks pregnant and I'm very afraid about this happening with the baby or another incident with Charlie.

Overall, Molly is a kind dog but does sometimes show aggressiion to other dogs but had nevered attacked - she only shows teeth.

I REALLY want to help her. I can't bear to get rid of her. I love her and Charlie so much. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Becky :)

p.s. About the pregnancy thing... I always thought she would be good with kids a few young children/babies have been over and she's been fine. But now I am very worried.

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Both dogs need training and they need management. They are dogs and I don't doubt for an instant that they are loving and wonderful. But they are still dogs and unless you train them on basics ('leave it' - when the food spilled, 'drop it' when she progressed to grabbing the other dog) they will have issues over food. Until you have trained them to the basic commands, teach them to settle *outside* of the kichen. They shouldn't be wandering around when there's food prep going on. Until they're trained to stay out unless invited, put a baby gate on that door. My dogs are trained to go to their eating beds whenever they're in the kitchen, and the behavior is reinforced because I feed them on those beds and give treats when they're in that room. They each have their own space and know not to approach anothers dish. When food is spilled they stay in place and might get a treat for doing that.

You are right to be concerned, and you should start planning now on how you will manage the dogs when the baby comes. Have you done any reading to prepare for how you will manage both dogs and baby when the time comes? Brian Kilcommin's 'Childproofing Your Dog' and 'Living with Kids and Dogs' by Colleen Pelar will help you to think this through and be prepared with well trained dogs when the time comes.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 6:24PM
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First - congrats on being pregnant I hope all goes well for you. Next I am glad to hear the Chi did not get seriously injured and to follow up - agression, especially resource guarding (food) is not too hard to break a dog of.
So - some questions. Which dog did you get first, how long have you had them and most important what is their day like. Do they get leash walked? If so how often? Do they have basic training?
Before you get too worried - I think this can be handled, btu your beagle needs ot know it is not the boss, you and you husband are. From now on when anyone is working around around food, the beagle gets leashed up and tied down somewhere or gets muzzled. Now I have seen dogs get out of cloth muzzles so I suggest you get one which is not cloth. This way while you are training your dogs, there is not a possibility of anyone getting hurt. The muzzle should be introduced to your dog slowly, lt the dog sniff it, and put a treat on the inside of the muzzle so she has to put her snout in to get the treat a few sessions of this and she will be ready to wear the muzzle. I suggest you either contact your local humane society, ASPCA or POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT trainer.Next start with basic training at home. Sit, stay, down, leave it. No beagle on the couch unless invited. You are the first out the door, your dog should be put into a sit and stay position by the door, and should be sitting quietly before being allowed to follow you out the door. If it does not work the first time keep doing itm even if you feel silly. Walks should not consist of sniffing around, they should be a brisk walk and ESPECIALLY with a beagle terrier mix they should be at least 45 minutes a day and at least once a day. Ideally 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes after dinner and again before bedtime. You beagle should NOT be allowed to go near the food bin in the kitchen or her dog dish or any food without being invited. She should be in a sit stay position, and when calm invited in for a bite or two, told to go back and sit or lay down outside of the kitchen and after a minute or so of being good then allowed back in again. If you are serious about training your dog, be firm, be repetitive and have a strict routine. You might also involve the beagle in flyball, frisbee, swimming or some other activity on your days off. Terriers and beagles are working dogs and need more stimulation than your chi. Tho dont under estimate your chi's ability to go out and take advantage of the good weather. My dogs best fried is a chi and a chi mix, the teacup (less than 10 pounds and the size of a big potato) can do a 5 mile hike without isse as long as the terrain is not too weedy or rocky. Taking the dogs out for leash walking helps in two ways, it lets your dogs know who is boss if done correctly and it helps wear them out. Walking or playing ball before going to training will help since it is easier to train a tired dog. YOu might also leash your terrier mix to you while you are going about your business in the house. This forces your dog to start following you and allows you to start picking up the role as a dominant in your house. Hope some of this helps Good luck

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 6:54PM
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You are right to be concerned. I would find a good trainer NOW, to show you how to work with Molly and end this behavior. A trainer experienced with beagles and/or JRTs will really help...both breeds are challenging. Definitely find a trainer who practices positive reinforcement. As a beagle owner, I can tell you that harsh/negative treatment does NOT work, but treats work wonders.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 8:38PM
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becky, i can't add anything to what has already been said but i will tell you it might be a good idea to have the bite mark checked by your vet.

several weeks ago, my great dane rescue girl bit my other dane in the flank (another attack seemingly out of nowhere). i *thought* it was just a small hole and was doctoring it myself. several days later, it began to weep so i took her to the vet. by the time he shaved the fur around it and probed the wound, it turned out to be a much bigger hole than i thought and a much more serious bite than i ever imagined it to be.

it seemed to be closing up on its own but it was not. not to scare you but it's a good idea to have it checked.

best of luck with your pregnancy. is this your first baby?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 10:15PM
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I second weed's suggestion! I had a very similar situation happen to me several years ago. Without going into too much detail, our beagle had food aggression issues and attacked my sharpei one day over her getting too close. It would get nasty, as it happened several times before we could completely get it under control and learn how to handle the situation, and like you, there was no way I wanted to get rid of either one. They were both my rescue babies and I loved them. We promptly got a behaviorist in to help us and it really did wonders in educating us on how to address the food aggression effectively and how to handle the girls and their aggression when it would pop up. Just like you, they would be the best of friends 95 percent of the time. We had a very smart and stubborn beagle and with that, she was a challenge to train, but while it took us some time and diligence, we did successfully get rid of the food aggression and the fighting between the two. Best of luck and please keep up posted.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 8:58AM
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I answered you on the other board - I am the one that had the problem with the Dachshund being bitten in the neck - but just wanted to stress again re going to the vet - as ninapearl posted.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 10:39AM
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Good advice by all. You need to have the wound looked at tho. Congrats on the baby.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 1:15AM
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Rather than take chances, all four of my Siberians are fed only while locked inside their crates. Meals or treats, no food until they are all crated.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 11:55AM
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Another resource for good trainers are Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT). This is a national program that tests and certifies dog trainers. As with any group there could be some bad apples, so do your research and get references, but the program is based on positive reinforcement and trainers are required to continue their education in order to maintain their certification.

Here is a link that might be useful: CPDT info and Roster

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 11:51AM
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Dogs bite.

YOu are wise to get control of the situation before your baby is born. I agree with what everyone else has posted. I don't think your dogs are monsters that you will need to get rid of ... they are just being dogs and you need to be in control of them.

Right now your dog thinks he can discipline his pack mates. Nope, you do the discipline and the feeding, not the dogs.

I would suggest what mudlady does. Feed your dogs in crates until you can get the training that you need to learn how to control the dogs.

Notice that I said, you need training... not the dogs.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 2:32PM
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