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My Shibas randomly fighting
  • My two Shibas will get in random fights. Cuddles (girl) is a little over 3yrs old and Bowser (boy) is almost a year. About once a month or every couple months they break out into big fights. I never feed them together because I know they have food issues. I don't know what stems the fights...I'm not sure if it is a dominance thing. It only happens when my fiance is not home. I'm not sure if Cuddles is protective of me from Bowser, or what.

    Usually they play, clean each other and get along.

    I don't know what to do to stop the fights because they seem so random.

    My fiance was out of town this weekend and they got into a fight in the other room. By the time I got there Cuddles had bit Bowser's leg. I took him to the vet and he is okay...he is taking antibiotics and has cream for it. When we got back from the vet Cuddles was trying to clean his wound and play with him.

    am I blind to something?

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 15:29:29
  • sjp051993sjp051993
    Posts: 249
    Have you ever noticed and changes in behavior before a fight breaks out? Any changes in body posture, ears, vocalizations?
  • No, you're not blind, but it is something to pay attention to. My Shibas (male and female pair, one year apart in age) did this for awhile--what I thought were minor squabbles and then one day the female nearly killed the male. Now they are separate all the time, and I sure don't wish this on anyone, so I'll tell you some things I wish I'd known/watched before all this.

    First, check their thyroid. Turns out my two were low thyroid, and they have improved--though I still don't trust them together--with meds given properly an hour before meals (and timing was something I only found out from this forum!)

    Also, are they resource guarders, and could be other resources they are guarding? I realized that for my two, the triggers were beyond the obvious (food) but were centered around resources. They would show aggression (though not out and out fighting) if I was paying attention to one and not the other, or especially around the doors (their really bad fight happened at the door).

    Also, I should have realized there was going to be a bad fight. My male bullies other dogs, and I just ignored it. While the female did not attack him when he was bullying her, I do think they had, by the time the worst fight occurred, showed a lot of aggression and hostility I had simply thought of as normal squabbling. I wish I had paid attention to this sooner.

    I can tell you all the things I observed--what to do about all this is more complicated, and I don't know what the answers are--just that I wish I had intervened earlier. I do think getting a good behavioralist in early is a good idea, and working on reactivity with a good trainer would help a lot, so you don't have to go through what I went through.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that the fights probably aren't random at all, to the dogs, and this is the time to start paying attention and seeing if you can work it out with the help of a trainer, before it gets really bad...
  • I've read stories of 2 shibas fighting in the past, and honestly I would not have 2 shibas together. I am quite happy with one dog. He gets plenty of attention and doesn't need another dog to play with. I've never had 2 dogs at a time. No matter what the breed. Maybe too much rivalry and competition. I would honestly be afraid something horrible would happen, and it would scare the begeebies out of me if I saw my two dogs involved in a horrible fight...one that could have killed the other dog. I just wouldn't know what to do to separate them. I'm sure for all the bad stories there are great stories, but it's just a gamble I'd prefer to not take. Shibamistress, that must have been horrifying for you and I'm glad you have the dogs separated. That's the best bet for sure. Good luck Jesse. Just being more aware all the time is the best thing you can do. Hopefully there will be no more issues.
  • thanks for the advice. My house is too small to keep them separated....although Bowser is in a cage when we are gone during the day. I will try to notice if the fights happen in a certain area of the house to see if it is territorial. I will also ask me vet and see about the thyroid. Thanks for the help