Fights over toys/leads

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Fights over toys/leads

Post by Lena124 on Mon Jul 31 2017, 14:53

Hi everyone, it's me again Big Grin
If you read my first post you'll know we've just added a rescue staffy (male) into our home. Everything's been going great as my spaniel and female staff get used to the new boy, but we've had a few issues with the two staffies. They've been having fights (these last around 10 seconds before we stop them, I think it's more growling/snarling than physically fighting) over their toys. And now I've just grabbed the pile of leads and harnesses to go for a walk, they both came running to my feet and then had another fight. I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to prevent these outbreaks/stop them when they do happen. Also, is this just as the dogs get used to each other and will eventually stop or is this a sign of things to come?


Last edited by Lena124 on Mon Jul 31 2017, 15:52; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Lena124 on Mon Jul 31 2017, 15:49

To be fair on Buster (the newbie) it seems to be Tara starting the fights with the toys. She'll be playing with her favourite bone and he'll come over for a sniff, that's when the fighting starts. Our old boy Harvey isn't really one for toys so this is the first time Tara's had any sort of competition for her toys.
I'm all for being patient and letting them sort their differences out so to speak, after all this is only the third day Buster has been with us. However, my mum regards Tara as her baby, and whenever a fight breaks out she will become rather withdrawn for a while and begin to shake. My mum has since said she doesn't think it's fair to put her baby through this as it's obviously causing her distress. I think if I can prove to my mum that this is just temporary as Buster settles in it should put her mind at rest, but even I'm not sure if this is temporary or something we will have to put up with permanently.
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Mistys Mum on Mon Jul 31 2017, 16:18

Sorry to hear this. I don't have any experience as I've only had one dog but are you sure it's definitely fighting. I know misty is so vocal when playing, if you heard her and her spaniel friend it sounds as though they are killing each other when it's just play. Could they be rough housing or is it definitely fighting? I'm sure someone with experience of a multi dog household will be along soon.


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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Lena124 on Mon Jul 31 2017, 23:13

I don't think it's play, when they do play they make some awful noises but you can tell it's friendly if that makes sense. This however seems very hostile, they'll go very stiff and start looking at each other out the corner of their eyes and it's just different to playing. I can't quite put it into words but it's definitely fighting/dispute.

I hope someone with a multi dog household replies too, I don't mind waiting it out until the issue is sorted but I'm terrified this is going to happen again only it turns ugly.
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by LizP on Tue Aug 01 2017, 08:41

Someone with a multi-dog household here!

The first thing I would say is to think carefully about how you deal with any real fights, if they happen. Do not get caught in the middle, you can't help them if you get injured yourself (been there, done that, bought the bandages). I don't normally advocate having collars on dogs other than when being used but here I would. Have collars on both, especially Tara if she is the more determined, and if you do have a serious fight situation where they won't let go, grab collars and twist. It sounds horrid but it's one of the most effective ways of getting them to separate. You might also want a pet corrector to hand.

How does Buster react when Tara snaps? Do you feel he will fight back, or may he accept her ability to lay down the rules? If it's the latter, then I would leave it for a bit and see if she starts to accept he is not a threat.

Otherwise, or even in any case, I would start by being super careful about keeping excitement down, having toys hidden for now unless you play with one away from the other, and putting some ground rules in place.

Maybe one of the reasons I've not had any possession issues is that I'm very clear about things like feeding (each dog has his/her own bowl, in its own place, and they are not allowed to go to another's until they have all finished. When introducing a new dog there has been the occasional growl but I gave a quick 'no' and that's mostly all it's taken to knock it on the head. When we introduced Bobbert (a very troubled soul), we kept him on a line until we were sure he wouldn't try to muscle in.

Make it clear that you are providing the guidance as to who goes first with leads and things. Ask them to sit and wait before you take the leads and if excitement appears to be starting to build, put them down and walk away. Keep your energy low and encourage them to follow suit, do everything quietly.

Two commands I make sure all of our dogs have in place are 'leave it' and 'enough'. I want every dog to leave anything they have, whenever I ask for it, or not to take it in the first place. I also want them to stop playing whenever I ask them to. I'm not at all into the concept of 'domination', but I do believe that leadership is essential and those two commands give me leadership within the household.

Having said all of that, I would also say that you need to keep your reality hat on. Although any two dogs can have issues about living with a particular other one, bull breeds are strong and determined so when they do fight for real it can be with worse consequences than a couple of JRTs. Be realistic about what you can cope with, that's you plural, humans and dogs, and what Tara in particular can actually accept.

See how it goes, with taking away toys, controlling energy, and some control training. Fingers crossed it'll all settle quickly.


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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Lena124 on Tue Aug 01 2017, 11:37

Wow LizP thanks for the advice! A little while after I posted the original message I decided to lift all toys off the floor and hide them for the time being, there have been no squabbles since. I'll make sure to grab Tara by the collar if a fight breaks out, and I'll also look at buying a pet corrector. I can only go on what I've seen so far but it looks like Buster will have a little snap then walk away, I don't think he would fight back.

I think I'm learning about keeping the excitement down as much as possible. Last night I came home from work (there were other family members home so they hadn't been home alone) both staffies were very excitable and as they both ran over Buster growled at Tara. From now on I won't allow them to get as hyper as they did last night, I'll get them to sit then I'll go over and greet each one individually.

It's strange for me as they show possession issues over toys yet they're happy to eat out of each other's food dishes without problems. However, I'll stop them from eating from each other's and put some ground rules into place so they eat out of their own dish only. Thanks again! Smile
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Goblin on Sat Aug 05 2017, 14:45

How's it going with your three?
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Lena124 on Sun Aug 06 2017, 10:35

Pleased to announce there have been no more squabbles! I think everyone's settled down now, they only get toys if we play with them separately and I make sure they don't get too excited when getting ready for walks Smile
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Re: Fights over toys/leads

Post by Goblin on Sun Aug 06 2017, 11:09

Aces! So glad.
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