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Question
Posted by: Stacey | 2011/02/07

Great dane bully

Hi

I have 4 dogs , 2 dogs are a bit old ( had them for 4 years and not from pups, shelter dogs - 1 is a beagle type and the other a lab mix type ) , about 5 months ago my husband bought a house and the previous guy left his dogs , which we kept , 1 is great dane and the other a husky mix, 3 females the beagle is a male and the smallest. Anyway these dogs all took to each other from the word go and we had no issues until recently the Great dane is bullying the beagle and even attacked him and when she attacked the other 2 dogs jumped in , luckily we were there and broke it up before injury , but last week wedneday we came home and he had bene attacked again , this time injured, what is triggering this as no one was around the second time , also she is very disobdient , she knows she is big and can bully the others , all the other dogs listen to us and we have no problems . Sincer we have had all of them we have always fed them smallest to biggest to try " even"  the playing field

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Stacey, lovely to hear from you.

You dont mention how old the dogs are and what could be happening is that there is a play for hierarchy within the pack, especially where females are concerned.

A neutered male dog tends to 'have a go' and then forgets all about the incident and can be seen happily playing with the other dog a short while later.

Females, on the other hand, sometimes seem to even hold a grudge and the fighting can be severe, even fatal in some instances.

I really would suggest getting in somebody to help you. You need to bring in House Rules and show the dogs that you, your hubby and all members in the family are higher ranking than the dogs and you will not accept the behaviour.

Although you have tried to 'even' the playing field, dogs dont 'do' democracy! You need to interact more with the dogs as per their status in the pack and having said that, there is no guarantee that the eldest dog, or largest is higher ranking.

Until you bring somebody in ensure that there are not toys, food bowls, beds around etc, which may be what is triggering the problem. Why not speak to your vet to recommend somebody or get hold of an accredited animal behaviour consultant in your area.

Also inspect the qualifications of the person you are going to bring in. Good luck, thanks Scotty

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Wendy | 2011/02/21

Hi Stacey

I know exactly what you are going through - it''s awful. I adopted a 7 week old Great Dane puppy from the SPCA (the litter was born at the SPCA) 2 years ago. She loved the rest of our dogs and was of course mothered by all of them. My other dogs ranged from Min Pins to Basset Hounds, male and female and varying in age. When she turned one year old I noticed that she would start bullying my older female Min Pin, who eventually became very nervous of the Dane. One night on arrival from work I found my Min Pin dead in the garden, quite badly torn apart. I was devastated. I suspected the Dane had killed her but because I loved her so much I made excuses for her. I too called in a dog behaviourist for help, who also explained to us that we were to ensure that we were always considered the leaders of the pack, not the dogs. Well, even with all that in place she was fine if we were at home with her, but when we were at work she obviously reverted to her old ways and she went on to kill 2 more of my dogs in as many months. She always targeted the little ones that were frightened of her. She is now with my sister who has 2 Great Danes of her own, she has been there for almost a year and last weekend she attacked my sister''s female Dane (who has always been the head of the pack of dogs, but does not have to be aggressive to assert herself), so here we go again........

Sorry for the long story, but if I were you, I would try to find a new home for the Great Dane - preferably one where she will be the only dog, otherwise you may suffer the same heartache that I did - 3 times over. I know it''s a difficilt decision but It''s just not worth the risk.

Reply to Wendy
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/02/07

Hi Stacey, lovely to hear from you.

You dont mention how old the dogs are and what could be happening is that there is a play for hierarchy within the pack, especially where females are concerned.

A neutered male dog tends to 'have a go' and then forgets all about the incident and can be seen happily playing with the other dog a short while later.

Females, on the other hand, sometimes seem to even hold a grudge and the fighting can be severe, even fatal in some instances.

I really would suggest getting in somebody to help you. You need to bring in House Rules and show the dogs that you, your hubby and all members in the family are higher ranking than the dogs and you will not accept the behaviour.

Although you have tried to 'even' the playing field, dogs dont 'do' democracy! You need to interact more with the dogs as per their status in the pack and having said that, there is no guarantee that the eldest dog, or largest is higher ranking.

Until you bring somebody in ensure that there are not toys, food bowls, beds around etc, which may be what is triggering the problem. Why not speak to your vet to recommend somebody or get hold of an accredited animal behaviour consultant in your area.

Also inspect the qualifications of the person you are going to bring in. Good luck, thanks Scotty

Reply to Dog Behaviour Expert

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