Figuring it out or do I have a problem here?

This last week my corgi's have been in 3 altercations over seemingly stupid things not food or toys just odd objects in the house like this morning I was replanting house plants and Teagen was sniffing the bag of potting soil when Jordan freaked out....by the time I grabbed him he was completly on top of her I couldn't even see her under him she was on her back and not fighting back when I checked her out it was just slobber on her so I think he was not biting to bite? but he was loud which usally means bluffing tuffness, as with my Shuff's and Cody it was 1 fight and completly silent when the who's gonna be boss was dicided they only fought that 1 time...He was put into his crate where he is balefully staring at me right now...but other times they are inseperatable like 1 hr earlier the were playing well together...I'm finding this confusing as there seems to be no pack order issues Jordan is 1 Cody is 2 and Teagen is 3 she's always submissive to the other 2 and I've never seen her try to challenge them for anything. At daycare the girls report it's the Teagen and Jordan show they are together period. So I'm undecided what the heck Jordan is doing this for as he has gone after her every time.

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Comment by Gina Mac/Fergie & Minnie on March 19, 2010 at 10:07am
I have to say, in my limited dog experience. Joanna's article really rings true. When Minnie was 6 mos, we decided to get her a playmate - Prince - who later became known as Prince of darkness. Because he was from a shelter, I babied him and was "dissapointed" when Minnie would pick fights. Yes - I was completely clueless. Because I didn't let nature take it's course between the two, Prince, once a timid little 7 lb guy, took over the entire household. He started biting the neighborhood children & snapping at my husband. If we would have let Minnie do her job in the beginning, and if I wouldn't have babied him, we would have really been able to enjoy all of Prince's positives. We ultimately found a home elsewhere for him.

In January when Fergie joined our family, I definitely used my past experience. I don't intervene at all when Minnie is trying to "school" Fergie, no matter how hard it is to watch. Although I do try to make sure it's not me setting the scene for a potential fight. I lay down Minnie's food first. Let her in the car first. etc.. Two months after getting Fergie, the two are quite the pair. Minnie mainly mothers & protects Fergie, which is fun to watch.

But the fights for no reason do still happen. And I find in the mornings, Minnie is particulary cranky. Fergie is learning to stay out of her way and so am I.

Like I said, I don't have a whole lot of experience in dog behavior. But letting it ride, seems to be a good rule of thumb.
Comment by Bev Levy on March 18, 2010 at 8:25pm
I understand that usually dogs will work things out to their satisfaction and that they only cause the damage they intend to. However, I still fall back on "this is my house" and I decide what goes on. I do intervene when I see a problem coming. Izzy is not allowed to run in the bedroom at night and jump in Sparty's bed. If she does I make her get out and get in her own. Misty is not allowed to race around the house and step on everyone. Sparty is not allowed to take the other dog's food. It works for us. Instead of crating, I would leash the offender(the one that did not mind) and have them spend a little time next to me while I go about my day. It diffuses the situation with out making it too punishing.
Comment by Sky and Lyla on March 18, 2010 at 2:39pm
I'm probably a lot like Beth. I allow corrections and I never punish because most of the time I didn't see/don't know who started it (it's often subtle and not always the one that is making the biggest fuss about it). I will separate if it goes on for more than a few seconds, but then I go back to normal as if nothing ever happened. I think this is just part of having multiple dogs.
Comment by christy fry on March 18, 2010 at 2:31pm
I went in and read Joanna's blog and it seems maybe thats what is going on but on the hand I really don't want Jordan jumping Teagen and Cody for whatever and seeing me as ok with it..... I feel that might cause escalation anyways Jordan isn't one to stop either or I quess I've never gave him an oppurtunity to stop on his own. Teagen does some things that I know he doesn't like like hanging off his face and I tell her no and she stops sometimes he'll grumble at her which I allow and other times he stands still with his ears back looking at me to stop her. It's not to the point that I feel the need to seperate them or him from the other 2 when I leave the house as video taping proves they go to their spots and sleep till they hear one of our cars.
Comment by Beth on March 18, 2010 at 1:04pm
I'm sorry, Christy, but I don't have an answer!

Personally I would allow nothing stronger than an "air snap." I understand perfectly that in wild/feral populations, older canines will haze/ harrass younger ones, but it's also true that in wild/feral populations, the ones getting sat upon by their elders typically disperse and don't spend their entire lives enduring that sort of treatment. So in the case of an actual fight, I would probably intervene as you did but would not punish either (being too slow on reading body language to know who really started it). Sometimes the dog being trounced really pushed a boundary, but other times the one doing the trouncing was just having a bad day or feeling cranky. It can be so hard to determine the actual cause!
Comment by Sky and Lyla on March 18, 2010 at 12:47pm
Joanna recently posted a blog entry that I enjoyed reading about dog arguments. You can read it here: http://blacksheepcardigans.com/ruff/?p=4000. (Thanks Joanna for your daily blog entries, I enjoy reading them even though I just kind of "lurk" and never comment!)
Comment by John Wolff on March 18, 2010 at 12:19pm
Somewhere I read that isolation should be regarded as kind of a "nuclear option" and used only for the most severe infractions, and for no longer than say 4 minutes... after which time they've forgotten what it's all about.
Al gets into brief tiffs like this with other dogs, never done any damage but it's kinda scary to see. Not sure what it's all about -- resource-guarding mostly, I think -- but it troubles me because I don't fully understand what triggers it, or how best to react. He has snapped (lightly) at Gwynnie, but it's mostly with other dogs. Al & Gwynn have it figured out.

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