I'm not talking about the rough playing or the spat that ends relatively quickly. I'm talking about the full on faces stuck together kind of thing that erupts on occasion. What happens if we just ignore it and allow it to continue.
We always break it up. I'm getting squeemish about jumping in a pulling the dogs apart as I've been bitten 3 times in the last year - one dog bit my stomach accidently when I pulled her apart and picked up the other combatant and on a different occasion after I pulled the dogs apart I put my hand up to block another dog running into the action and caught a tooth. The third bite happened when I was walking 2 corgis and an unleaded pit bull decided (luckily for me) that he wanted to stand on top of my dogs - one of the corgis bit my arm as I tumbled into the mass.
How far does it go if we let the corgi on corgi action run it's course. Last night we had 6 corgis around, about the 20th time for this get together when a fight erupted for the first time ever with this group. All 6 of the female corgis were involved in one way or another - a male shelty set and apparently enjoyed the action. We had to remove four of the dogs before we got the whole thing calmed down.
Seems like we get somekind of incident 3 or 4 times a year. What happens if we just let the fight play out?
If multiple dogs from different homes with different owners present are put together in tight quarters (like an inside room) trouble can happen because there is no established sense of who exactly is in charge of whom.
Problems in your own home with your own dogs are a different thing than going visiting and having issues with dogs who only know each other casually.
When dogs who don't live together are expected to be together, there should be nothing left out that they might be possessive of, and it may be necessary to keep some of the dogs crated or otherwise separated.
Could you identify the cause of those fights? Was it food, toys or human? I have only seen a real fight in the last 10 years, a Corgi locked jaw and latched on to a poodle's leg and would not let go, he was yanking on the leg and meant business. It happened in a dog park and the dogs have never met before.
My dogs and rescues "quarrel" , mainly because they had to re-establish the pack order when one arrives and leaves. Their disagreement sounds terrible, but their actions proved to be all bark and no bite. Yes, one may get a fluff of fur in the mouth, sometimes a tooth caught another's nose, but never full on locked jaw and yank. One may go for the neck but not bit down hard and go for the "kill".
In my opinion, a lot of dogs feed their energy via their owner's anticipated reaction, I believe some dogs knows that and purposely antagonize other dogs at the park, because they know their owner will come to their rescue. No, I'm not suggesting you let your dogs fight it out, nor am I disregarding the seriousness of a quarrel. I'm just simply pointing out other possibilities.
My corgis used to fight for toys and food, we used to separate them during feeding time so that they can eat in peace, we treat them separately with different hands. We distribute toys in different corners of the room to avoid fights. Whenever we have rescues in the house, we always have an air horn ready in hand, so that we can distract the fight for a split second and retrieve one dog out of harms way.
In my experience, the worst case I've ever had with my own pack was a scratched cornea, that was a few hundred bucks and the cone of shame for weeks. Other incidents left an open lip, scratched nose, bleeding gum...etc. Not fun and costly. If I was in your situation, I would re-examine how to break up a fight by yourself and with family members, I personally think huge cushions and the bear hug retrieval with all for legs towards the ceiling works best for me. I hope that you'll be able to figure out an action plan that works best for you & family. Good luck!
Hi Sam, we can always identify the beginning of the fight. Once we find the triggers we can eliminate them. But I expect that we will continue to find new triggers or just slip up on occasion to remove one so we need to know how we deal with it when this kind of stuff breaks out.
It's alot of work to keep 4 dogs in control and they let us know when we let our guard down. Our fights seem about the same as yours and we've always broken them up. Buckets of water and large blankets haven't worked out for us.
The air horn sounds like a good idea!
Don you ask "what happens if we let the fight play out?"...well the answer to me it depends on the situation. You know those fights that erupt between a set number of dogs and stay confined may just be brief. Those that begin amongst a few then attract others may escalate. Then add in the reactions of the owners who may scream excitedly while others yell commands while some approach while others retreat making for a chaotic and dangerous situation. At what point does one decide to take some sort of action? And what would that action be? My feeling is to intervene as quickly as you can but always protect yourself first.
My Dexter was aggressive around other animals. He would fight to kill. He didn't start out that way. Without going into the details, he's much better now. His best behavior modifier has been his bark collar. I cried the first time it activated and he yelped but he quickly learned to modify his behavior. It's been a couple of years and now when I put it on him his anxiety level diminishes and he's better able to enjoy our walks/hikes.
That being said the first thing I did as his owner was to not put him in situations that would trigger him. No dog park. Unfortunately there are some people with alpha dogs that think nothing of taking their dogs to dog parks or socials and either don't recognise or correct aggressive behavior. I've been at a dog park where everyone is playing in a balanced manner only to have one dog come in and change that healthy balance. The one factor that turns it ugly is the owners of all the dogs that fail to recognise that the balance has been shifted. The subtle signs that dogs exhibit to each other. The change in behavior in the individual dogs. Something leads up to the riff.
A seemingly pleasant labrador turned on my passive George and aggresively bit him. I missed the sign because I was chatting with the owner. We no longer go to the dog park. It is just not relaxing fun any more.
I wish you well with your corgis and friends.
We, my wife and I are not perfect, and we will slip up and miss a trigger or let our guard too. These are brilliant dogs but they really do want our control and they let us know when we mess up.
We don't do the dog park either. My dogs get along ok but it's stressful for them and it's much more peaceful for everyone if we don't go.
We always intervene as soon as we believe it's not just a skirmish. Or maybe, like you suggest, it's still a skirmish that escalates into a fight because we intervene.
I have 3 corgis, two males and a female. At times they have gone through phases of food aggression and just generally trying to prove their pecking order. I an not sure how long this has been going on, but I never allow my dogs to fight or act aggressive. I immediately nip any signs of aggression in the bud before they escalate. They know I am the pack leader and fighting, food aggression, etc is not tolerated in our pack/family/home. They still test each other from time to time, but I immediately stop it and they live in harmony with eachother 99% of the time. I don't know if this has gone on too long, but I would immediately discourage such behavior as soon as you see any sign of aggression. If you know what sets them off, maybe even practice stopping before they start when you know they will react.