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two aggressive shibas with an update
  • Hello--

    I'm new to the forum, though not new to the breed (I have two Shibas and had an Akita years ago). This forum seems like a great opportunity for me to ask some questions of other shiba lovers regarding feuding Shibas.

    My boy, Toby is 6 and is a very dominant dog. He pretty much doesn't get along with any other dogs except my elderly german shepherd, and that's probably because the GSD has just learned to stay out of his way. Other than his dislike of other dogs, he's sweet and mellow.

    I also have a female, Bel, who is 5. I got her at 5 mos. old. At first, her and Toby got along ok, though there were struggles for dominance. Then, two years ago, she just lost it. They were playing and then suddenly they weren't. She nearly killed Toby. $3,000 and a one month vet stay later, Toby came home, and now the two are permanently separated. (They were together briefly this fall when Bel was injured after being attacked by coyotes. Toby ignored her, but when she started feeling better, I saw her eyeing him in what I thought looked like an aggressive manner, and then they were back to the permanent separation). I actually tried, briefly, to rehome Bel, but she's a skittish, kind of psycho little thing, and who would want her other than me? After a month of a listing on Shiba rescue, I realized I was used to the "these dogs can never be in the same room" routine and now both of them are mine for life....:)

    I'm ok with keeping them separate, but here's the thing....I really would like to get an Akita when my GSD passes (he's not in good health, probably has a year or so left is what my vet and I think). But can I even bring another dog into this mix? I think I might be able to introduce a puppy. But a male or female? Both shibas tend to do better with big dogs (they both like Kai, though he is quite submissive). On the surface, Bel seems more adaptable, but she is also way more unpredicatable. Toby would probably hate a puppy for awhile, then ignore it, then get used to it, but I'm not even sure of that.

    Am I crazy to even be thinking this? I know I would miss having a big dog, too, though, and I also have always wanted another Akita.

    Anyone have thoughts? I'd also love to hear how others have handled living with two dogs that want to kill each other, if anyone has been through that ordeal.

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 15:20:33
  • from reading on the forum, akita/shiba sounds like a bad mix, especially if the shibas are known to be aggressive already. a few people on here had heartbreaking stories about dogs that got along for years UNTIL SOME FATEFUL DAY.
  • it is not easy to mix shibas and akitas. You have to the right disposition in both dogs for it to work.
  • While I do not agree that shibas and Akita tend to be a bad mix. Brad has 4 JA and two Shiba Inu and they do fine. In fact he has some great videos of his male Hilo (JA) and his female Kaia (Shiba) and their little love affair.

    Frankly sweeping generalizations don't work, and get people in trouble. It is actually the root of all BSL, and 90% of the time incorrect. Look at all the silly untruths written about shibas all the time. In fact how many threads on this forum alone come from people asking questions like "I thought Shiba's were supposed to be like this...mine isn't". Making assumptions based solely on breed will bite you in the ass (hopefully not literally).

    If you have dogs that have known outward aggression towards current pack mates, the thought of adding to the mix without the direct supervision of a talented behaviorist is probably unrealistic.

    That isn't to say that it couldn't work. But frankly managing three dogs, when one wants to kill the other is hard enough. Now make one of the three a puppy and it can be a nightmare. I say this from personal experience.

    You have written a bit about the dynamic between your two shibas. What did your behaviorist have to say about the situation (I am assuming with the severity of the issue that you did in fact consult one. Although all dog owners should have one IMHO)? How do they interact with your GSD? Do they only take issue with each other, or is it with all dogs?

    As far as the "ONE FATEFUL DAY " response; dog do not randomly just show aggression (unless it is a medical issue like thyroid or brain tumor). There are ALWAYS signs. ALWAYS. We as humans are often oblivious, and sadly anthropomorphize our dogs to the point of sabotaging any chance for true understanding. The signs are there. Always. We just need to pay attention and be willing to hear what our dogs are trying to tell us, even if we don't like it. This is true for all circumstances, not just yours.

    But to address yours directly, adding another dog with known issues in your current pack is probably not a good idea.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • Post edited by shibamistress at 2010-02-10 04:18:22
  • Having a bad behaviorist like the one you had must have left a pretty bad taste in your mouth. But I think finding a really good one who gets it, and understands the power of positive reinforcement is essential; regardless of whether you ever decide to get another dog.

    Also you said something that put up a pretty big red flag for me. The comment about Bel not recognizing people if they leave a room and return. My dog Piglet started to do that. We just thought it was weird and ignored it for the most part. Until it got bad. When we finally took her to the vet we found out it was a brain tumor and she had to be put down. With all three of your dogs having thyroid conditions (and I cannot emphasize this enough) I would not bring another dog in (regardless of breed) it just isn't safe.

    It is very good of you to keep your dogs, issues and all. Many people turn their backs on dogs for such minor things. I actually had someone return a dog to my shelter because he didn't match her couch, and another person who returned her dog to the shelter because he vomited post surgery. So when someone tells stories of struggle such as yours I am very grateful to know that their are still dedicates dog owners out there.

    You are in Japan right? I don't have too many contacts in Japan, but we have one member on the Nihon Ken Forum who may know at least some positive reinforcement behaviorists. He's pretty involved in the community. If I am wrong about your location let me know. The Shiba Forum is still fairly young, so if we don't have a connection here we may on the NKF and perhaps we can find you someone who can help.
  • Sorry to hear about your beloved dogs fighting and not getting along. That is such a tough situation to go through.

    This is just a thought - Your situation reminds me of an episode of Dog Whisperer...Are you re-inforcing their fear or bad behavior by separating them? Cesar Milan says often that dogs live in the present and don't dwell on past events like humans do so easily. So, if they sense you get nervous when they come close to each other, or you wont let them see each other at all because of the horrible experience you've had, then they'll pick up on that negative energy or nervousness from you and it makes it worse.

    I hope your girl doesn't have any serious medical conditions either!

    Good Luck with everything!
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2010-02-10 15:29:06
  • Wow! Where the hell did I get Japan!?!?


    Well Brad (who just wrote to you about thyroid issues) is also in New Mexico so he may be able to suggest a great behaviorist and perhaps a more thorough vet.

    But when in doubt trulydogfriendly.com is a great source for good behaviorists with the right attitude.

    I couldn't agree with you more about Mr. Millan and about WDJ. You will find there are quite a few positive reinforcement advocates here!
  • Post edited by shibamistress at 2010-02-10 19:01:45
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2010-02-10 19:05:04
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2010-02-10 19:34:58
  • Post edited by shibamistress at 2010-02-10 20:11:46
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
  • With regard to the "who do I start with first?", I know you said you were looking into a new behaviorist, let her make the call. My gut says if you can do it, get each one in a different class (after you get Bel's thyroid stabilized). Most good dog training facilities offer classes for dog reactive dogs. I used to take my dog Piglet to one that was specifically for shelter Pit Bulls. By the time she graduated, she was CGC certified, could comfortably ignore other dogs, and not long after was able to get therapy certified as well. And her story was straight up horrific.

    good luck, you sound like you are totally on the right track.
  • interesting update and good observations. enjoy little Oskar and glad Bel is happy to have a pal. Now I feel bad for Toby, lol
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779

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