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Tackling aggressive behaviour in our pack of dogs

water pistolOver the past weeks since Daisy Beatyl died we have been having problems with Inca. She is determined to be top dog and if there’s a fight she always wins. She is slightly heavier than the stag red Min Pins and has a much more dominant personality.

When Great Aunty Daisy B was alive, Inca used to test the domination boundaries with our Senior Dog. GADB was patient with the pup but finally would turn into a snapping, scary beast that had Inca backing off immediately. Beatyl’s jaws were large.

The stag red Min Pins are much quieter and more laid back than the black and tan Min Pins. I had tussles with Fly through his life and in the end we called a truce. Looking back, I reckon that we both believed that we were the dominant one and that’s how we rubbed along. He could extend a huff into a week or so of not speaking. Inca displays the same characteristics. I hate to admit this but I always crack before she does. Perhaps this is part of the problem.

Nowadays, Dr Quito loves Inca and is happy to comply with her wishes, up to a point. The Contessa puts up much more of a fight so the tussles between two female Min Pins standing their ground over a toy, biscuit or Dr Q is a daily ritual. Although they can also be very sweet together, licking each other and preening together.  Any red flag possibilities of a fall out has to be catered for – feeding is supervised diligently. No one really wins indoors but when a red paw crosses the back door step into the garden, it is into a war zone as far as Inca is concerned and ahe is wearing her ‘enemy’ hat.

Inca is small enough to hide behind a large garden pot and sturdy enough to successfully ambush the redheads as they trot by. Her adoptive siblings are easy targets, almost inviting attack as they stand on the outdoor step to sniff the air. In the end, with the prospect of bullying and nips, the redheads started not to want to go out into the garden at all. As this is the place where they relieve themselves it could have become a real problem. And why should they have to put up with this aggressive behaviour? It’s their home too after all.

I decided to accompany them on their forays into the garden. A minder with a two inch water pistol. Inca ignored our posse until the redheads gained confidence and ventured off alone. Indoors, I was top dog and Inca obeyed me. Outdoors it was a different territory altogether. If I got angry with Inca all Min Pins shot into the kitchen. If I remained calm and firm the small black dog ran rings around us all.

Finally I decided that we needed to invest in a giant water pistol. We needed one with firepower of at least 15-20 feet. A weapon that held a decent amount of water so that attacks could be sustained. I’m stubborn but compared to a Min Pin…

It took us some time to find the water reservoir and arm the beast. Today I discovered that if you squeeze the water reservoir along with the trigger you have more than a short sharp shock in your hands. I haven’t needed to test this feature. On the first afternoon I scored a couple of gentle bulls’ eyes. Inca, like all Min Pins, hates water so backed off and got on with her own solo projects.

Now she just doesn’t seem interested in dominating the other dogs when she sees me standing beside the back door garishly armed. The pistol lies on the top of the hedge beside dog flap in the back door. An easy to grab reminder that I’m sure that the redheads would love to be able to use themselves.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Ruth ann

    I think that you need to ring a dog behaviour specialist asap. Your pit bull could wound your pug very badly.

  2. ruth ann

    Recently, my pit bull female will attack our male pug. We also have a larger male boxer/collie. The pit bull and the pug are “fixed” but the mixed male is not. We do not know what is causing this. Of course the size difference is quite large, and the fighting is only one sided. It is all my husband and I both can do to get her to release the pug. The occurences seem to be when I come home in the excitement of greeting, but once she goes off, she is determined to attack again for no reason. The attacks are increasing in frequency. Help!

  3. I think it’s absolutely essential to be top dog yourself. I’m afraid that you absolutely have to make it clear to Inca that you are in charge. My mother, many years ago, had a lot of dogs and while the dominant male ruled benevolently all was well. After he died, all hell let loose and my mother couldn’t cope. I’m afraid that there was such a serious fight in the end that one dog was left with brain damage, causing epilepsy for the rest of his life, and my sister and I took one dog each to lessen the problem. Your dogs are there to be your loving companions, not to cause more stress to you.

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