Our housemate has a husky who is kind've feral, I guess, and she has attacked Pooka over 5 times since he started living with us in August. She has 3 small scars on her face and they are taking very long to heal.

He is whipped by his dog and seems to like that she is kind've wild and pushes him around (woofs until he take her on a walk) Most of the time she is sleeping and being anti-social. She's pretty much like a cat. If you mess surprise her when she is sleeping she is likely to attack you (this was what happened to Pooka the first time, she jumped on sleeping Aurora) and she nearly attacked our housemate once too.

The housemate is my husband's best friend and my husband is soo soo angry about this. He is very protective of Pooka and does not appreciate the way his friend won't train his dog to submit to him and instead treats her like a queen (she doesn't go in a crate or get baths or brushed because "she doesn't like it") He never tells her no or corrects her meaningfully. If Pooka and the dog are fighting he tells her no and then once it breaks up will hold her head and apologize to us. He always feels really sorry about Pooka getting little bite marks (he likes her a lot) but its never enough that he'll really wail on his dog to try to stop the fight.

Anyways, my husband thinks its best for me to confront the housemate because he would probably ruin their friendship by not being able to control his anger.

The fights are usually because there is a toy, but more likely because there is a rawhide/bone and Aurora decides she is going to be protective, even if it is Pooka's. It's not all the time, just if she gets in that mood for some reason. Pooka also likes to be protective to other dogs and considers it a game. She knows how to submit to a larger dog, but she's not SUBMISSIVE; she won't be pushed around. If its her bone, she will still go for it (in submissive pose) even if Aurora is growling.

We don't want them to move out. We actually think its good for Pooka to have another dog around and to learn how to be submissive to an aggressive dog and read other dogs behavior (socialization) but we need more from the housemate's end to try to prevent this.

SO! Any advice from anyone who's had something like this? Or tips to stop fights? I've never known a dog like this. She doesn't get along with most dogs at all and they often have to lock her up if they go somewhere with a lot of dogs. It seems like the housemate is always home when the fights happen so its not like locking up Aurora when he's not home would help. I just mean... if I can't come up with a solution myself, what am I supposed to tell him I want to do about the situation? I think I will tell him it is unacceptable and that I want, when a fight starts, him to grab his dogs back legs and physically pull her away and then correct her, not just hold her. I also want a policy of if there is any growling coming from Aurora towards Pooka, the chew needs to go away for a few days, or Aurora immediately needs to be taken to his room.

The reason this has come to a point is that their last fight was really bad (I wasn't there) but the housemate was on the couch, my husband at his desk across the room. The fight happened behind the couch and my husband still got there quicker and was the only one to take active action to remove one of the dogs or even raise his voice in a serious manner. He didn't see a cut at the time, but last night I noticed an inch long, scratch under her jaw, with dried blood which is dangerously close to her throat which put my husband in a rage about that Aurora could kill Pooka. The housemate was gone for the weekend but I want to have our conversation when he gets back.

Advice on confrontation? Advice on what to tell the housemate to do?
UPDATE: Found two more bite marks right next to each other in the area between her shoulder and neck. I guess this last fight was a really bad one and that my husband needs to learn to check her better. This gives me a good jumping off point, cuz three bites by her neck is... scary =(

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Comment by GoGoRainbow on January 10, 2010 at 10:15pm
well I talked to him. Decided to go on without my husband who thought it would be more neutral coming from me (they've kind've competed their whole life). Everything went well, I had my notes and I kept the emotion out of it.

My suggestions were a policy on picking up chews the moment we notice growling and if we can't tell what the growling is about, put Aurora away. Immediately, is the key. Often we think it will work out and don't act immediately and sometimes it works out, but sometimes it escalates.

Try keeping Aurora on a leash most of the time so Brian can keep her near him and so that we can pull Aurora away if we need to. Told him how you can grab the dogs back legs during a fight and pull them back like a wheelbarrow (avoiding getting bit)

Told him he should be more Alpha so aurora knows he is in control and its not her job to control the situation. He said this is the one he'd have the hardest time with. It doesn't come naturally to him.

I asked him to take this very seriously.

I also said I would try to train Pooka about respecting other dogs and their things and maybe socialize her more so she knows how to back down.

We'll see what happens!
Comment by GoGoRainbow on January 10, 2010 at 2:11pm
Bev, can you give me more advice on how to teach Pooka that taking things is not OK? My friend's dog Rohan comes over a lot and he is bigger than Aurora but they love to play"possessive" together. She brings a chew over and growls at him. He might try to take it from her but if he somehow gets it, Pooka just grabs it out of his mouth and he lets her take it. I say that he is Pooka's Boyfriend because he is always letting her have everything.

We used to not like that she would growl at him until we kind've figured out it was a game they played (tails wagging) but when we didn't know, we tried to correct her and it just never worked. Within 30 seconds she'd be back, no matter how many times we repeated the correction.

Pooka also gets in bad fights with my parent's mini dachshund who is also a bitch that I think is protective of my mom. Again, we don't always know what causes the fight, but they happen and are just as viscous (but with less wounds because Capri is smaller than Pooka). So it could be something that just happens between bitches, or it could be that Pooka is exuding the wrong attitude. So what's more training I can do with Pooka to help this? I don't think she notices the signs of a fight coming on and once a fight starts, she doesn't back down.
Comment by Jessica on January 10, 2010 at 1:36pm
GoGo - It only takes one time for Aurora to bite too hard to do serious damage. I'm not trying to sound like a worrier over here, but if Aurora is already okay will nipping, biting and scratching Pooka when she's in a bad mood then one accident is all it takes. I learned that once the hard way with a pair of rats that I used to keep. Trust me - you don't want to learn that lesson the way that I did.
Comment by LaRissa L. Head on January 10, 2010 at 2:29am
Wow, this sounds like a rough situation. I read some great advice from the comments already... so i just wish you luck, and hope for the situation to resolve into one that gives BOTH dogs a happy and healthy life.
Comment by GoGoRainbow on January 9, 2010 at 11:13am
Well... every toy in the house is "Pooka's" since Aurora doesn't really like toys. She doesn't even really like chews. Like I said, sometimes she's just in the mood to be protective and if there's a toy or treat within 2 feet of her, she's going to growl if Pooka comes near and Pooka doesn't recognize this and just goes to grab it like normal. (Often we don't even know what caused the fight because its an obscure object within her radius, or maybe... she just didn't want her near her bed?) Or Pooka will even go toward Aurora on purpose when she's growling. I don't know if Pooka just thinks of fighting as playing (Aurora growls when they play too) or... I don't know, she will go at Aurora barking shrilly, maybe trying to control her?

Pooka is never upset after the fights. The only time that really scared her was when she jumped on sleeping Aurora and got bit (I wasn't there) but ever since then she won't walk past Aurora while she's sleeping and just barks at her until she moves (herding her).

OK, training... I've never really liked training Aurora (she's kind've a snobbish jerk) but I could do it. What kind've training should I try? Should I try things like putting a chew near her and correcting protective behavior? (Like I said... its only when she's in the mood though. She is atypical and crazy).

She's much better at listening to my husband and me than she is with the housemate because we are stern with her and no nonsense about making her do stuff. I wish he would be like that. I don't think she would mind if he was more alpha with her. Him telling her "no" means nothing when they're fighting. So I couldn't even be sure me training her would help because if I'm not around, she'd be undisciplined. =(
Comment by Bev Levy on January 8, 2010 at 8:35pm
There are usually warning signs when dogs are about to attack so try to be on the lookout for them so you can stop it before it starts. Will your roomie agree to leash his dog in the house until she is better trained? I like John's suggestion too. Also, were you saying that Pooka tries to take her toys away from Aurora? If she is it is time to train Pooka that is not OK. I don't let mine take stuff from each other. If one leaves it then they can have it. We have a multi dog household and I find that I have to make sure they all recognize that none of them are in charge. Can you work with the room mate's dog at all? Good luck.
Comment by GoGoRainbow on January 8, 2010 at 7:08pm
I like the 4 step plan John, thanks. I didn't think about having a confrontation plan like that which will probably be good. I'll discuss having my husband try to work it out. He also doesn't like Aurora because she sheds more than Pooka and the housemate is lazy about brushing her/vacuuming and my husband has a bit of an allergy issue. So it would be good if he could learn to talk to the housemate better. I don't think he'll say no. He's a good guy with a bleeding heart so I know he'll understand. I just don't know if he has the discipline to be effective.

I don't think I will make them beat it. Sorry =/ The chances of Pooka getting killed are very slim to me (my husband is the over-worrier of the pair) as the fights always leave pretty superficial wounds and never like she really bit her hard, more like teeth were flying and something got hit (Pooka doesn't back down and actually gets back in her face unless you pull her away and hold her). I know something COULD eventually happen if the fights get worse, so that's why I want this to stop.

My other idea was to take her to the vet every time it happens and make him foot the bill. A $40 dollar incentive each time might make him get his act together but... I don't really want to waste my vets time and he might think I'm crazy bringing her in for a little scratch ;) But it could come to that.

Keeping her on a leash indoors and making the housemate keep her near might be a good plan.
Comment by Jane Christensen on January 8, 2010 at 6:29pm
Yes, John's 4 step plan is a winner! Definitely a good way to proceed!

I would definitely put some limits on this dog such
as when the owner is gone the dog is crated or in his room! A Husky could do a lot of damage to poor Pooka or even kill her if thinks got out of hand! I'm not trying to be mean but that could be a reality!

Good luck, it's good you have a few days to figure out what you need to say!
Comment by Geri & Sidney on January 8, 2010 at 4:47pm
Poor Pooka :'(
I hope she will be ok!

Like Christy, I'd tell the roommate to beat it; it's my home and we should feel safe. My dog's safety would take precedence over the friendship.John gives some excellent advice for trying to work things out. Good luck, please let us know how things go...
Comment by John Wolff on January 8, 2010 at 4:36pm
It might actually be more damaging to their friendship if your h conceals his anger. It could fester and grow. Might be best if he admits that he has a problem with this dog thing, and then if they can work this out successfully, it would likely strengthen their friendship.
It is often best to begin such a confrontation equipped with positive suggestions. If you can find an animal behaviorist, or a savvy dog person, or some expert who can help you design a program, I'd start there.

Compassionate Communication
Marshall Rosenberg's schtick is 4 steps:
1. Describe the situation nonjudgmentally ("When Aurora attacks Pooka...")
2. Describe how you *feel* about it ("I feel scared, angry and frightened...")
3. State what your needs are ("...Pooka's family, and I need her to be safe...")
4. Make a specific request ("Would you be willing to do X,Y, Z...") {here's where specific suggestions would be useful, although you might not want to come across as making non-negotiable demands.}

#4 has to be a request, not a demand, and where I get stuck in this process is: what do you do when the response is a "No"?

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