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Love my Golden Boys!!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have 3 retrievers. Our youngest 2, who are 9 months and 7 months old get along 98% of the time. However, 5 minutes into a play session, they start fighting.....this is real fighting. I have bite marks to prove it!! We are not sure what precipitates it. It appears that our youngest, Lincoln, just hasn't learned how to play properly although he has been well socialized, been to obedience training (is going again next week) and was just neutered (3 weeks ago) along with our 9 month old (Austin). They both listen well and are well trained for puppies their age. We are baffled by this fighting and have even called in our version of the Dog Whisperer who gave us some pointers but they haven't helped. Has anyone else experienced this kind of behaviour from their puppies? If so, how did you handle it??????


Thanks!!!
 

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Are they fighting over something like a bone?

What pointers did your trainer person say? Was it a real trainer?
 

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Faux Wanda
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Could you please tell us a little more about your version of the dog whisperer and what he/she said? And please give a little more info on dog number 3. How old? Does he participate in the fights?
There are also some ways to break up fights so that you won't get bit or at least it will lessen your chances of getting bit. If the fights are getting to the point where they are really hurting each other you might want to consider muzzles while you are working with them and training them to get along. This will keep the dogs and you safe. If you choose this course of action you will want to learn how to use them properly. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way.
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Our third dog is 9 years old...he doesn't participate in the fights at all. Both of the puppies respect his position as the alpha dog so that's not a problem. They are not food or toy aggressive and quite often can be found sharing a toy or chewing their bones lying side by side. In most cases, the fights occur during the morning or late evening. The individual we consulted with is a dog trainer/behaviour specialist. He advised us to allow the dogs to play and not hover over them (which is what we normally do anticipating a fight). He said it was probably our negative energy (kind of what Cesar Millan would say) causing them anxiety. So, we did as he said and one night they actually played well until something set them off and they went at it...it was the worst fight ever...we had a hard time getting them apart. It clearly upset the puppies as well as us. We watch them closely and when we figure they're getting close to fighting, we tell them to "STOP"...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!!! There have been no fights the last couple of days but we really haven't given them the opportunity to fight. They are separated all day and then together the evening hours when we are at home....together with our 9 year old.......
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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How long have the 7 & 9 month old been raised together since they were puppies or is this a new relationship? How much time do they spend together and how much time apart...
Are they left alone (with access to one another) when you are not there to supervise?
 

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Faux Wanda
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If that is the only thing that the trainer told you, I don't think that you got what you paid for. A couple more questions
Was the trainer able to witness a fight?
How long did he spend with the dogs?
Did he actually assess the dogs?
When he came in, was he able to get the dogs under control immediately, like you see on the dog whisperer? (Yes, that really happens. It is not edited)
Did he come with recommendations?
I agree that the anticipation of a fight can actually bring it on. I have also seen instances of dogs that only fight when another dog approaches their owner. The entire key to stopping a fight is to find out why it starts in the first place. It sounds like your trainer may not have accurately assessed this situation. I believe in using any type of training available to you as long as you are using it correctly and it is working. If you believe in the Cesar Milan method and it is working, fine. Please beware that if used incorrectly it will backfire big time. Ever since that show came out, some people think that they can teach his method with absolutely no real life experience at all. People calling themselves the dog whisperer are a dime a dozen and they actually do more harm than good. If you believe in the NILIF method and that is working, great. I know people that are opposed to training collars (aka choke collars). I hate to call them that because when used correctly they do not choke but used incorrectly they not only choke but can damage the dog. There are the people that believe in the positive only approach and if that is what works for you great. Dogs are as different as people are and different dogs respond differently to different methods. You have a specific challenge because you are raising a pack of dogs not just one or two. I would be interested in what you are doing to establish your leadership among your pack. Please keep us informed.
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Our dogs are never left alone unsupervised. All three have their own places in the yard when we are not around. Austin, our 9 month old and Reno, our 9 year old are quite close and have bonded well. Reno tolerates Lincoln but Lincoln pushes his buttons but will submit if Reno "says so".
I feel like the problem may be the 2 puppies fighting for their place in the pack. We purchased Austin first (in April) and then got Lincoln a month later in May)..when Austin would have been 4 months and Lincoln 2 months so they have been raised together. Reno and his late brother (Phoenix) also a retriever (who passed away in March due to bloat) were very close and never fought so this is something surprising to us (although we do recognize that each dog is different). Both puppies will, on occasion, try to dominate the other but neither seems to be wanting to take on the role as 2nd in the pack....although we do treat Austin as 2nd. We greet him first, feed him first, allow him to have the toys he wants, etc. and Lincoln does seem to accept this in most cases. Neither puppy has shown any aggression towards any person or animal and are very social. The thing that baffles us is why does play time turn into a fight (not always, but enough that is worries us).
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry Goldhaven..I didn't answer your questions. Yes the trainer was present to witness a fight. He was at our house for close to an hour before the fight occurred. It was then that he told us that our hovering was most likely causing anxiety in the dogs and that because we were anticipating a fight, they fought. He felt the puppies were very well trained and behaved for their age and thought that we were "good parents" which made us feel good. When he arrived, the puppies were playing in the yard, they greeted him and went back to playing. Basically he recommended that we try to relax when they're playing and not to cause any negative energy. He really didn't see any major issues in the puppies' behaviour.
 

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Faux Wanda
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I sent you a private message with a little more info. The pictures of your dogs are great. Very cute pups.
 
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