My chow is attacking my heeler.

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dominic1964
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My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:42 pm

Hello all. A little background info. I have 3 dogs, my part chow is the youngest at 5 yo, my heeler is 7 I believe and does not have a mean bone in her body and my part rott/collie is 8 or 9 and is the alpha female. So in pecking order from boss down would be the rott x, the chow and then the heeler.

My rott x eats first. She is not aggressive but the other 2 girls know no one eats until she is done. The chow and the heeler will happily eat together from the same bowl at the same time. I should mention they are all spayed and that I raised everyone except the chow as puppies. The chow was adopted at the age of 2 from a private party who was fostering.

All my dogs will allow me to handle their food, take away their bowls or their treats (hooves), etc. They do not growl or show any aggression towards me when doing this and I make it a habit to do it periodically to make sure it stays that way especially with my chow.

My problem is if someone knocks on my door my chow immediately runs to the door and barks as most any dog will do. My heeler doesn't bark much anymore but if she so much as makes a move to go towards the door while my chow is in 'protective mode' she attacks the heeler. My heeler doesn't have a mean bone in her body and will not fight back until she is cornered. I'm afraid she is going to get hurt but so far no blood has been drawn. The chow also will not stop the attack until I physically drag her off. This also happens when she sees or hears another dog close by when we are on our walks. Yesterday we walked by a neighbors place (not very close to it mind you) but the people had their door open to let the cool air in and their chihuahua started barking. My chow immediately attacked the heeler. Had I been thinking I would've let everyone but the chow go as my other 2 will come to me when called no matter what. ANyway long story short I didn't and wound up taking a hard fall on hard ground which my body just can't do anymore (3 major shoulder surgeries, 2 knee surgeries + a few more to long to list).

I don't remember this behavior at all before I lost my house in Cali. At that point we had a nice house with a huge backyard and a doggie door for them to come and go. Due to circumstances we now live in an RV with limited space and no yard. The dogs are being walked as much as my body will allow and I put the chow outside on a thin metal lead that is covered in plastic. She is usually out a couple of hours a day weather permitting. I either sit outside and play with her or pet her for awhile or at times I will come in and leave the door open so I can be right there if she starts barking (so as not to disturb others). I always play with her for awhile though and either brush her for a bit or come in afterwards.

I will be the first to admit that she is not getting enough exercise as my body doesn't permit it at times but she is comfortable being a "couch potato". All 3 dogs get along very well until someone comes to the door or we encounter another dog.

This is either something I am going to have to train her out of myself or put her down as my income is extremely limited, I just barely manage to survive each month so I can't afford a trainer. She is very vocal and even barks at people who stop at the rest area across the road (from inside the trailer when the door is open). This is a 4 lane highway with a median so it's not like it's just a little ways away.

I am now trying to get up each time she barks and make her sit. After I make her sit I wait until she calms down and give her her 'tummy rubbies' which she adores (this is actually scratching/rubbing the area between her two front legs) I am working on the sit command through out the day as well.

Here is a list of problems that I will have to overcome.

1. My health is not such that I can always be consistent when she barks at the door. Meaning, I cannot always get up and go. I am only 48 but with the injuries I have sustained it's more like I'm 90 at times pushing a 100.

2. When she attacks my heeler my heeler gets into areas where I cannot get to the chow to pull her off.

3. I am having problems exercising her as much as I would like to, yet she seems content with what she is getting. She doesn't seem to enjoy doing 'zoomies' to often.

After reading all of that I have some specific questions please.

1. When she attacks the heeler how do I reprimand her? Yesterday I hauled off and hit her when I was on the ground because she started after the heeler again while I was down. I have never hit a dog like that in my life and never want to again. I thought she would be head shy afterwards but fortunately she is not and seems to have forgotten about it (and yes I regret having done that very much).

2. Because of the way this RV is situated and having 3 dogs to walk, the best way for me to go out the door is to follow behind them. I have the chow on a slightly longer lead, she goes first then the other 2 and then myself. THis is the only way I have found that is somewhat safe for me (I don't get tangled up and fall out the door which happened in the beginning a couple of times). Is the chow getting the wrong idea because she is first out? This is the only significant thing I can thing of that she does first.

3. I realize she needs training and that is no one's fault but my own. However, I need the heeler attacks to stop NOW. I have never used a shock collar but I would like to hear what you think. I would only use it for that purpose. Would it make her more aggressive or would it get her off the heeler?

I know I have evidently been a bad chow mom. Some of it from health reasons, some of it not from stupidity but lack of knowledge and in all honesty some of it due to laziness. I tried to rehome Sandy on this site earlier in the year but now I am determined to either keep her and fix the problem or put her down as I am now afraid to rehome her. My other two dogs are not perfect but well behaved and good doggy citizens.

Please, can you help with constructive methods that I can handle doing alone?

Thank you for reading this and I will look forward to your comments.

I

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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby NanouetJon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:50 pm

Wow Dominic, that sounds like a tough day!

There sounds like some confusion in who is the alpha. Rott eats first (alpha) but chow walks through door first (alpha), Chow goes defensive first and other two go to you (chow is alpha). Age and size cannot be determining alpha. The dogs them self will decide, quite often an older dog will let a younger one take the lead. It is their choice. It sounds as if you chow is trying to be leader but sometimes the roles get confused which could cause anxiety.

Exercise or walking them is the best way to determine and enforce leadership. I know this may be difficult for you but perhaps you can get someone to walk the chow a little more.

As for attacking the Heeler. I do not know anything about this breed but my first inclination is that there is a struggle for leadership or the chow is correcting a behavior. My alpha male likes to chase lights (from watches or sparkly things) and he becomes over focused on it. We will see the younger chow run to him and start play fighting. We have determined that this is due to the younger chow determining that the older one is putting off a funny energy and she is distracting him, or trying to get a normal reaction from him. Watch the heeler behavior and see what is attracting his attention. Most often the cause is there we just have to be very dedicated to see it and notice it.

To re-enforce your role as leader on walks I would recommend this: Try to walk out first. When you come to a house or spot where there has been issues or potential for trouble. Stop before you reach that point and make them sit, give a paw, lay down. A few commands they must follow before you allow them to proceed. Reward with praise and then walk through the tension spot with Your head high and CONFIDENCE. If you are nervous and watching for the problem, they will know, feel it and be extra watchful themselves. When pas the area, stop, sit and reward the good behavior.

For barking at people outside the home or the door. This is a no cost training program for you. Get a few friends to come and visit. practice ringing the bell. Show them where they need to sit and behave. Our first instinct is to answer our door. But in reality our first priority will be to get good behavior. Your friends won't mind waiting 5 - 10 - 15 minutes for you to get a desired behavior. Tell them to bring a book while they stand outside the door. Work one dog at a time and over and over , on several days, weeks.

Practice having the friend walk past the house, stand across the street.

Find the best reward. If it is tummy rubs. use it. They learn. Marru has finally learnt that a huff is good and gets a butt scratch, barking means being pulled 10 feet way and being made to sit. She learned to huff at the door and people walking by.

Hope this helps!
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dominic1964
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:50 pm

Thank you so much for the advice. My two older dogs are well behaved. They don't bark incessantly, growl or even think about attacking another dog. The chow is being set off I think by things she perceives to be invading "her" territory or possible something she perceives to be a threat to me. The heeler doesn't even bark when anyone knocks at the door and literally does not have a mean bone in her body. She does however go towards the door when someone knocks and that is when she gets attacked.

The only thing the chow is allowed to do first (and this is for my safety) is to go out and down the stairs first of my RV. I am now making her sit (forcibly at this point) and making her wait until the other 2 dogs have gone before her so she is now last dog out but I then follow them.

Once we are out in the field I turn my two other girls loose and keep the chow on the leash. When we come back the chow is the last dog in (thgis has always been the case) and then once again I follow last.

I talked to my vet today and as much as I hate to do it she will be put in a shock collar tonight. He said it would probably take only once or twice for her to learn that attacking the heeler or any other dog is not going to be tolerated. I asked if it would make her meaner or just agitate her more and he said no. He also said the current would not be transferred to the heeler. If I was in a house I could keep them seperated but unfortunately I can't do it in this small of a space.

I will continue to work on getting her trained but I cannot continue to allow her to attack a dog that will not fight back until she is finally cornered. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get blasted for going this route but it's this or put her down and I definitely don't want that. She has a wonderful personality and loves people. This is the only thing she does that I can fault her for but it's a major one :(

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Merlin
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby Merlin » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:55 am

I'm only responding to these out of sheer frustration and my genuine concern for the future and well being of this chow. I've been reading this biting down on pencils and pulling out my hair.

I talked to my vet today and as much as I hate to do it she will be put in a shock collar tonight. He said it would probably take only once or twice for her to learn that attacking the heeler or any other dog is not going to be tolerated


Really? How do you plan to control this when you're out food shopping? or at the doctor? Who's going to "zap" your chow when you are not home - because I can guarantee you when you are not home the problem will persist, because you've done nothing tangible to correct it. Who's going to zap her when your're sleeping, or cooking or in the loo? All you are doing with a shock collar is creating an adversarial relationship with your chow and you can kiss your relationship goodbye! - and chances are good that you'll create an even larger problem. Please don't do this to your chow. Please!
If your other dogs were so well behaved, your chow wouldn't constantly be trying to correct them. So don't live with the belief that they are 'better behaved'. You're own dog is proving you wrong and trying to tell you something about the imbalance in your home. For all you know, the heeler might even be sick and that's why the chow doesn't want it near itself.


You admit being neglectful with your own dogs - You admit not applying any discipline into them - You admit doing problem solving by hitting your own dog.
You admit all kinds of things - but the fact remains your dog has become of a victim of your choices. It has nothing to do with your missing back yard or the fact you live in an RV.
This dog is entirely mis-managed and using a shock collar in this case is cruel and unjust.

Personally I wish this dog out of your home and out of your care, so that she doesn't have to succumb to this type of useless cruelty. The environment you offer isn't going to allow this dog to prosper, neither physically nor mentally and the chow certainly didn't ask to be placed into an environment like this, and no dog deserves an owner who makes choices like this and shame on your own vet to suggest that you solve the problem using a device like this.

You said you previously tried to re-home this dog, please keep trying. In the meantime, while she's waiting, if you can find a foster situation for him, she's far better off. Start calling up local rescues, they work with foster homes. Maybe they can help you. Don't just put ads on the internet, visit your local vets with a nice ad, grooming salon, dog clubs, local newspapers.. Go to walk-athons, or public walks with the dog to expose him to people who might be interested, ( leave your other dogs at home), see if there is some sort of chow club in your area. If you can't go yourself due to your illness, try to find someone in your neighbour who might be able to help you. Many handicapped people are privy to free transport or have lists of volunteers who can offer them assistance for all kinds of things. Exploit it. When you leave your home, separate these dogs.

I've been around the block long enough to know when I hear stories like this, and excuses like this, there is no happy ending - and it is the dog who is the true victim here. In this case I truly hope I'm wrong.

There's a very old story here.
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:59 am

Merlin,

Thank you so much for suggesting that I am cruel to my dogs. I have never hit a dog until Sunday when I was on the ground and my chow went for my heeler again which was on the other side of me. I guess I should have just let that happen again, or better yet maybe she could have mauled me since I was between them. I was disoriented and trying to keep them apart.

My chow will not attack my rott X again because she got her *Censored Word* kicked the one and only time she did. She now goes after the weaker dog.

As for my dogs health, they are all very healthy thank you very much. The ONLY time my chow does this is when someone knocks on my door or when walking and a strange dog appears which is rare. If I am gone my car is not here. If my car is not here my friends who are the only people who visit since I am out in the boonies do not knock on my door because they know I am not here.

My friends have been asked to call before they come here and it has been explained why. I resent being told I am a bad owner. It's amazing how I can allow my other 2 dogs off leash and they come to me without fail. All 3 are very much loved and very well cared for. They each receive the proper shots, worming, heart worm medicine, etc each month as well as anything else that might be necessary.

THe chow is brushed, groomed etc on a regular basis by myself and her groomer. She does not need to be muzzled for anyone to handle her and is a perfectly social dog except for the 2 situations I have described.

I bought the shock collar used last night for $25. I have tested it on myself on my leg above my knee. The setting of "1" I could not even feel. I then turned it to "5" which was about the same stimulus as the 'tens unit' the I use on my neck which needs to be fused. On a setting of "7" I would maybe compare it to running into an electric fence which I have experience with. I am not trying to hurt this dog.

The collar is still sitting on my table, I am not sure I have the heart to use it. It is a last resort. I have read quite a bit here and am working with her. I have already seen some improvement which I don't have time right now to explain.

Again, thank you for putting me in my place. I came looking for answers only to be accused of being an abusive and cruel owner for something I have not even done yet. My sincere thanks for your kind help.

I am off now to walk the girls.
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby PCC » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:24 am

My two cents: don't use the shock collar, and certainly don't even think about putting her down. I also agree with NanouetJon that you have a problem with leadership and the pecking order, and that if you could find someone to help you walk the dogs it would help. I personally think you should redouble your efforts to re-home Sandy. As much as you may love all your dogs, you're doing them all a disservice if you can't really give them the care they need (meaning exercise and mental stimulation...being chained up outside for a couple of hours isn't going to cut it).

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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby Pinoy51 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:47 am

This is a very difficult situation to judge as what you describe might not cover the whole story. Aneyway I give it a try. My pack consists of four mixed breeds, two Chows and one "confused"cat. she grew up with the dogs, so she displays some dog behavior.
When Simba came in three month old he was obviously last in the pack ranking and I let the older dogs educate him. Now he has grown into a nine month old nearly grown up. Due to his size and superior intelligence he gained now second in command. Now with Nala our second Chowling nine weeks old she has to work her way up through the ranking as well. Long story but I wouldn't interfere to much in the ranking below you. let them figure it out.
Now when Simba became protective of the living room, by claiming the door, I claimed this space back by blocking him from reaching that door. I have the feeling your chow doesn't respect you. So first order you own all the spaces in the house, praise if he give up the protective behavior even a little bit. The barking usually goes with giving up the territory protection. If you own the space there shouldn't be a reason for your Chow to attack your other dog, except the dog provokes it.
The only time i got into trouble with Simba was when I lost my calmness. Looks you're loosing your calm on a regular basis, on the ground hitting the chow, pulling him off. You need to be assertive and calm. My pack is following me all the time and my dog sitter is respected once I'm not around, due to her perfect calmness, she is deaf.
Claim the spaces, claim the food, don't talk use body language, you have to calm the Chow before he gets out of control. Should be easy as you know exactly the two triggers. So have someone knock at your door and calm the Chow before he starts running towards the door and starts the attack. Practise, practise, practise.
then do the same with the "meeting other dog" situation.
Good luck and indeed don't use the shock collar, it is not creating any stronger bond between you and your Chow, and that's what missing most.
Last edited by Pinoy51 on Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Best regards
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby Sarahloo » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:48 am

A muzzle would help, wouldn't it? So you don't feel so helpless any more and you can think of ways out of this mess!
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:06 am

Before I say anything else I would like to apologize for painting such a bleak picture. After having lost my home that I worked so hard for and my health sometimes I get very negative and think that I can no longer fix anything. That is not the case and although I didn't like some of what Merlin had to say she woke me up. Merlin, please no my dogs are very much loved, well cared for and as for hitting a dog that has happened only once and will never happen again. If any of you would like the number to my local animal control office I will happily provide it to you if it will put your mind at ease.

I will agree with everyone that the chow has somehow taken control of my house. I think because she's so damned cute that I have let her get away with many things my other 2 do not even think of.

I have started training on a regular basis and I will continue to do so.

If you would like I started a new post on what I am doing and the little bit of progress we have made so far.

I do thank you all for your help and even the negative comments. Some of those were pretty nasty and untrue but they at least woke me up. And we are now walking further, farther and longer periods of time regardless of how badly it makes me hurt. I am single and don't have people who can drive miles to come and help me walk dogs.

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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby Merlin » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:26 am

Jerri:

For the record, I said the "DEVICE was cruel and unjust", and I said "shame on your vet", and I rest on my laurels saying that you are not providing what this dog needs right now, and like someone else said, you are only doing the dog a dis-service by keeping her in that situation.

YOU admitted all the other things, so don't turn it inward, and do the "woe is me" thing, and don't accuse me of saying * nasty * or "untrue" things about you personally.
The reality is more likely that the truth of the matter hurts, but so be it - and you seem to now be willing to acknowledge this if I read the above correctly.

I agree that you should step up your efforts to find her a new home.
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:02 am

Merlin,

I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you. Yes, I admittedly did not understand the chow mentality. I feel I now have a decent grasp on that. If you would please read the new post I have posted I think you will find I am making a very good attempt at correcting the problems WITHOUT the use of a shock collar (nor will I use it).

We are already making progress. She is already better behaved and showing fewer signs of being overly protective.

We are walking more, playing more and in training. Your opinions are your own. I unwittingly made her "boss" of the house. I will know "knowingly" undo what I have done in a loving, gentle and positive manner with the knowledge I have gained here thanks to all the shared experience I have read on this site.

Sandy and the heeler are the best of friends with the exception of the 2 occasions that I have explained. She easily allows the vet to handle her as well as the groomer and easily stands on leash while being groomed at home.

But, as I stated we are in the process of fixing the problem and it is already helping. She has become calmer and les apt to bark in just 48 hours so I am anticipating a wonderful outcome.

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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby Sarahloo » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:10 am

A while ago a woman with two large dogs told me of her dilemma which looked a lot like yours. Her two dogs are the best of friends when there is no other dog around. When they see my dog, for example, one of her dogs immediately attacks his friend. She told me that was because her dog couldn't get at my dog, and instead had to attack his friend to get rid of the aggression in the only way possible. It's completely instinctal, the dog has no control over it, he just has to attack his best bud. That's why electricity is not going to work, because your Chow can't stop herself, she just can't. It's an Übersprungsreaktion. :D Sorry, don't know how to translate that. Your dog is very stressed from living in such tight quarters with two other dogs and a human. There's just not enough room for her to coexist relaxedly. She's trying to put up with it, intellectually, and because she's a good dog, but then an invader of your living space announces himself and she just goes nuts.
Maybe you could build her a little pen or something. She has to be able to chill out, so she isn't tense as hell at all times and always ready to attack when she feels her space is about to be invaded by yet more people/yet another dog. The only way she won't have to let out her frustration is if she is not frustrated! That's what you have to work on. Maybe just walk her for 20 minutes, just around the block. Spend some quality time every day with just her. The exercise is so very important for stress release. A dog that gets enough exercise is a very happy dog and needs very little else!
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Re: My chow is attacking my heeler.

Postby dominic1964 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:36 am

Thank you Sara. Yes we are now walking ALOT more and playing. I finally found her a 20 ft cotton lead so she can do her zoomies and her and the rott x can play fight (never overly agressive, just play). I can already feel it in my body but I'll take the pain over the alternative. SHe is doing SO much better just having her sit when she starts barking at anything. She is VERY territorial and this is really helping I think. I am doing it without fail.

SHe was such a good girl earlier sitting and watching the lizard rather than trying to pounce. I know it took a lot for her to sit there and
just watch, she loves to stalk them and try to pounce on them. And at first I had to keep the leash tight but I gradually gave her a little play and she still stayed :)

Once I get the muzzle as you suggested I will have a friend who lives here come and knock on the door and try to resolve that problem. Until then there is a "Do Not Knock" sign on my door. I know that is just a band aid but it will have to do until a muzzle is found.


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