Dog ?Fighting?

kaseyray2November 13, 2011

(Sorry, this is a cross-post, this questions belongs here instead of the Pet Debates forum). 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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Well, since no one else has chimed in, I'll put forth an idea:

Gray doesn't know where her "place" is.

Black doesn't want this youngster bothering her, tells her so, Gray keeps trying, gets frustrated & things escalate.

Maybe you as alpha can scold Gray when she gets too close to Black, define & reinforce her boundaries.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 1:03PM
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I think it is the nervous/insecure/fear energy that typically fuels a fight.

Do you ever walk the two dogs together? Nothing feeds a "lets get along together team work attitude" more than a walk, where pack leader is in control at one end of the leash and the dogs are both walking side by side at the other end of the leash. The walk with you in control gives an insecure dog confidence.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 2:53PM
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You've got 4 dogs of a working breed. They NEED a job and exercise or they will go stir crazy. How often are they taken out and allowed to run? Also, have you considered finding a group where the dogs are trained/allowed to herd?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Thanks for the advice so far! yes, we walk almost every day, and I have been walking them together (they're fine). We are in a temporary location, will be moving "home" in 45 days--at home, we do agility and flyball (tried sheepherding once, dogs did ok but I felt too sorry for the sheep!). However, more exercise is better! For everyone! I will try that, too. Please keep your suggestions coming!!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:18PM
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I agree with sylvia, the new dog is trying to find her place by testing the waters and trying to assert her dominance now and she has sized up your older female as the easiest to dominate. I had a similar situation with a new dog and my existing dog was also meek and mild and shy with new dogs, so she surprised the heck out of me when she stood her ground and fought back.

The problem for your older dog is she is meek and mild but if pushed she doesn't want a new dog coming in and bossing her around, so I think you need to take charge and make it clear to the new dog that *you* are top dog and stop the behaviour before it escalates and that as top dog you are not going to put up with it, and that her place is to fit in with the pack and not to take charge.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:49AM
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