Aggression to another female.

I mentioned when we first got our Basenji, Lady, she was getting upset with our small dog and our cats over food. She quit it pretty quickly when I stepped in to show her who is boss and we had no more problems with it until yesterday. We got a new dog, a 2-year old spayed female black lab, Raven. Well, poor Raven just just wants to play with Lady, but Lady completely flies off the handle over everything! It's really strange; she always gets upset over food, but then sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. Sometimes, she'll walk right by Raven and brush up by her and be fine. Yesterday, they were playing together and racing all over the yard taking turns chasing each other (I have NEVER seen her run so fast!) For now, I carry a squirt bottle when they are near each other so that Lady won't attack her. I'm really not sure what to do and I'm not sure if this can be fixed at all. 😞 If there is no solution, we may have to get rid of one of these dogs. I like Lady; she's a good dog and really well behaved (except for this) for a Basenji. I can't constantly be worrying about them fighting. We have small children who I would hate to get in the middle of one of their spiffs. A lot of you talk about giving positive reinforcement (like snacks for example) for things, but I don't have a clue about how to make that apply to this situation. Does anyone have any advice?

Pretty typical when you bring in another bitch into the mix… usually why people say that opp sex is best. You may never be able to have them get along... if she takes issue with the new bitch, chance are she always will

Without seeing what is going on in your house it is really hard to give advice. You have not really given specific incidents. If you want to try to make it work between them then you probably will need to get a behavorist who can come to your home and observe how they interact with each other.

You should definitely be feeding Lady and Raven separately so that they do not have any further fights over food.

There is a very real possibility that they may never get along.

That's what I was afraid of.

I'd say the situation is hopeful, based on that you said they were playing in the yard. But, you do need to get a good behaviorist or trainer there to see what's going on. Zest tends to get a little snarky with Jet over food, so I've started doing more mat work (Control Unleashed) and doing Open Bar/Closed bar with Jet near her.

http://www.seefido.com/html/the_bar_is_open_the_bar_is_clo.htm

which is sort of like the "Happy Dance" Bill Campbell talks about in one of his books.

Thank you for your response. I don't mind giving them a couple of weeks at all. I wish I could get a trainer here but there aren't any within 60 miles. I shudder to think what that would cost! I will check out that link asap.

In this day of electronics, perhaps you could do video with a behaviorist. Otherwise, the Control Unleashed dvd and book might help.

Female to female can be a problem.
I hope you can work it out, but don't be surprised if they girls just never get along.
Fingers crossed, this will pass.
Do keep us informed.

I will. Thank you for being so kind and unjudgemental. Today, I've been taking walks with the both of them; one on each side where they can't reach each other. When Lady tries to growl, I pull her against my leg and say "Ssshhhhsstttt" like that Dog Whisperer guy does. She's growling less during walks already. The other thing that I've noticed while watching them is that Lady is MUCH less likely to be aggressive when she thinks I'm not watching (when I'm inside and they are outside). So, maybe she's jealous of attention Raven gets from me? Also, I think I'm going to leave them outside in the evenings until it's time to eat and go to bed. We get a lot of people walking by, animals, and other things to investigate, and they seem to be investigating things together like a pack would.

I'll put my two cents worth in. Sugar and Damisi would be fine-most of the time. Then something as simple as a look could escalate into a full-blown fight. I would be very, very careful. Never leave them alone together. While you are there they could be okay for the most part, but if you are not, something really could happen. With Sugar and Damisi, Damisi was a pup when I brought her in and Sugar was a year, they were fine when Damisi was a pup, but when she was about a year old, differences arose. I still do not trust them alone very much. I don't thnk this is something that will go away-even with training, you will never be able to trust them completely, and something very little could set them off.

@sarahlorrain:

I will. Thank you for being so kind and unjudgemental. Today, I've been taking walks with the both of them; one on each side where they can't reach each other. When Lady tries to growl, I pull her against my leg and say "Ssshhhhsstttt" like that Dog Whisperer guy does. She's growling less during walks already. The other thing that I've noticed while watching them is that Lady is MUCH less likely to be aggressive when she thinks I'm not watching (when I'm inside and they are outside). So, maybe she's jealous of attention Raven gets from me? Also, I think I'm going to leave them outside in the evenings until it's time to eat and go to bed. We get a lot of people walking by, animals, and other things to investigate, and they seem to be investigating things together like a pack would.

I don't think I would try that… leaving them outside together.... with people and other dogs walking by.. that is a clear sign to "jump" the one that is close.... been there, done that ...

I would never leave these two dogs together outside unsupervised. Things going on outside the fence can quickly turn into displaced aggression and once you have a full blown fight (think blood, stitches), it can be very difficult (perhaps impossible) to put them back together.

Also, I'm not sure what the "sssstttt" is suposed to do. (Don't have cable; don't watch CM) Is it a correction? Correcting a dog from growling can backfire.

Please, while the dogs are together, I feel you need to be there to watch them.
They migh react and need you to brake it up.
So, do keep watch on them when they are together.

@agilebasenji:

Correcting a dog from growling can backfire.

Can you explain this more? I'm not sure why I would just allow growling to happen and not correct it. Surely that isn't what you are suggesting? Should I not say anything but instead remove Lady from the situation when she growls or something like that?

Growling is a signal that a dog is uncomfortable and is trying to make the thing that is making them uncomfortable move away from them. If they are not allowed to growl when they are uncomfortable then they will often escalate to the next level signal that they would like more distance from that thing which is usually a snap or bite. The more a dog is corrected for lower level distance increasing signals the more they will escalate.

Ok, I can see how that would make sense. The girls seem to be a bit better today. I didn't see them escalate into any fights today, and I spent quite a bit of time with them. Also, when I was playing fetch with Raven, Lady was acting like she wanted to play. She would run toward the toy with Raven, but then turn away when Raven got to it first. I always went up to her and petted her and got all excited that she was being good and playful with Raven. Also, I have started only giving them their milk bones when they both come to me and sit on command. They will do this every single time without getting upset. I do not ever give them treats at any other time and always feed meals separately. I also do not let them in the house together. I think the close quarters gets Lady stressed out. They are only allowed in the house one at a time except for at night, when Raven is crated.

I am assuming that Raven is larger, and Lady is definitely being dominant and showing Raven that SHE is the boss. The best defense is a good offense. When you walk them together and demonstrate that indeed YOU are the boss, they are better with each other. I think you are on the right track, making them obey you for treats, and keep them in situations where they are not likely to fight and they may work out a playful relationship.

Anytime a new dog is introduced, same or opposite sex, it can take a few weeks for the dogs to work out their pack order. Once that is established, often the tension diminishes.

@MacPack:

I am assuming that Raven is larger, and Lady is definitely being dominant and showing Raven that SHE is the boss.

You are so right! Lady weighs 25 pounds, while Raven weighs 70. I can see why we only had this problem with her and our little dog for a day or two. I think she may feel very intimidated by her large size. I wanted to let you all know that Raven is starting to back off when Lady growls at her. I hope she continues doing that!

lvoss said that better than I could have!

hopefully things will continue to look up. I had a female basenji and a female lab for many, many years. Of course we go the lab as a puppy and the basenji was about a year at the time, but they always got along great.

Most of the time, things are pretty calm. However, my dh was letting the girls out this morning and he tried to pick up Lady and she growled at him. She was probably on alert from being in such close proximity to Raven though. I wasn't here, so I didn't see it.

Also, this morning Lady vomited in the kitchen. There is a small, maybe 2 foot wide space between the table and the wall. That's where she was when she did it. Anyway, Raven ran over there and shoved her out of the way to lap it up. yuck Anyway, Lady just walked off and didn't even raise the hair on her back. I thought it was a fight for sure. I'm pretty optimistic. Lady is playing more and flipping out less, although we are of course still very careful.

This morning I heard all this barking and this HUGE commotion outside. I just knew they were tearing each other up so I ran outside. Nope, a stray cat came inside the fence and they were chasing it out.

Ok, one more thing I'm confused about. After the cat incident, Lady dug up a rawhide that she had buried. She went to sit down with it and Raven was acting a bit interested. Lady sat the rawhide on the ground and started growling. I didn't say anything. Raven just sat down and didn't bother her at all. Then, Lady just walked away from the darn thing and let Raven have it. I can't figure that one out at all.

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