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2 dogs in household becoming aggressive

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by SBeeley, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. SBeeley

    SBeeley New Member Registered

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    A bit of a long story but hoping for some advice! We have 2 dogs who have lived happily together for 2 years but suddenly showing aggression to one another. Regis is 9 years old and we rescued him 7 years ago. He is a cropped ears bully-type breed and was rescued from a hoarder, and had many issues (separation anxiety, aggression towards strangers and other dogs). Nobody was keen on him so we ended up keeping him (me and other half are vets so end up seeing these sorts of cases!). His issues improved but never fully resolved. His aggression with strangers is resolved easily by imtroducing them properly, then he loves having them over and playing/interacting with them. His aggression with other dogs is a bit harder. Most male dogs he will show signs of issues from spotting them down the road, hackles rising/lip-licking/stiff legs. Others (female generally) he is very excited to meet, showing playful and submissive signs however he can turn at the blink of an eye. Generally we found that the risk wasn't one we were willing to take so he is always on-lead and we don't go out of our way to let him meet dogs.
    However then 2.5 years ago we were landed with another female rescue, approximately 3 years old. Somehow they got on really well, he accepted her completely within a few weeks and we were comfortable letting them live side by side (on a side note she is quite reactive to other dogs so they definitely made each others aggression out of the house worse!). For 2.5 years no issues at all, barely a spat over a bone here and there but very rarely and always more of a snarl than anything else.
    Suddenly a week ago Regis (older dog) seems to have turned against Nala (younger one). No obvious triggers, no fight over food, no strangers or even guests around, no fireworks, nothing unusual on their walk. He just suddenly started eye-balling her around the house. It has deteriorated to the point where he can't be in same room as her without looking on edge and stiff walking around. Has gone for her a couple of times (no wounds). Any help? We ran routine blood work for him and nothing unusual, we have a pet diffuser in the house, trialling a week of pain relief in case he is sore somewhere. We are giving him the most attention to try and ease his insecurity and making sure we don't shout or punish him after he goes for her
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Have you run any tests on Nala? Dogs sometimes pick up on health problems on the 'victim' dog.
     
  3. SBeeley

    SBeeley New Member Registered

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    no we haven't, that is a good shout! we do 6 monthly blood tests on them both but will do hers early this week as well. in herself I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. we had a very positive walk this evening where instead of eye-balling her he seemed completely relaxed and even initiated some play time with her which he hasn't done all week. However as soon as we got back inside I could see him tensing up again but not as much as before.
    what i am especially struggling with is how to act myself. I am obviously a little on edge and on alert, but also know that if I am tense/stressed it will make the situation worse for them. Should I continue to be casual and keep giving most of the attention to Regis? Nala is being really good, avoiding challenging him at any point (avoiding walking in front of his bed, won't make eye contact with him) which I am hoping will help him relax.
     
  4. SBeeley

    SBeeley New Member Registered

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    just in case this helps anyone, our two dogs are doing well and this is what we did to help it! we have changed the rules in the house and now only the older boy is allowed in our bedroom which seems to have really cheered him up. means he gets some time with us just to himself. Nala now has my office to herself with a big bed where Regis can go in but he seems to think it is her room so they have their little areas to retreat to. we took them on much longer walks the past few weeks to really tire them out + bond them again at the same time. we also slightly moved our furniture further apart to reduce the areas of tension walking past each other and got rid of our christmas tree in case it was crowding them too much. Regis is on pain relief and has an Adaptil collar on and we were using some Calmex herbal tablets. I also found that if they were interacting and things were a little tense, if I interfered it would just make things worse so I had to train myself to keep acting normal and sing Mamma Mia in a casual way and let them communicate with each other without me hovering. Took me a while haha
    They arent 100% normal yet but much better and seem to be slightly more comfortable each day.
     
    Hemlock, RGC, JoanneF and 1 other person like this.
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    That's good news - and shows just how important it is to consider all aspects of a dog's enviroment, and modify it where you can.

    Though if my other half started singing Mamma Mia I might get a bit snarky myself:D
     
    RGC likes this.
  6. SBeeley

    SBeeley New Member Registered

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    he's getting close to murdering me! its unfortunately for him the first songs that pop into my mind :-D
     
    JudyN likes this.

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