BIG TIME Sibling Rivalry?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by SizzleDog, May 31, 2008.

  1. SizzleDog

    SizzleDog Lord Cynical

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    A coworker of mine just bought TWO, 4 month old Border Collie puppies. YES she knows better, but she fell for the "poor puppies can't be left in these conditions!" trap. Puppies were farm dogs, but lived outside and were shy, etc.

    They're VERY cute (how can two BC puppies with brindle faces/legs, tushies and white stockings/snouts be NOT cute???) and individually VERY well behaved. Already know basic obedience commands, very loving towards people (and children). One is named River, and the other is Shy.

    River is more outgoing and malleable, Shy is, well... shy. He's the one that will cower a bit when going new places, he approaches people more submissively than his brother

    ONE problem, and IMO it's a pretty big one. Shy is extremely aggressive towards his brother River. Not just puppy antics, this is scary stuff. If River gets too close to a toy, or to my coworker... or if he does nothing at all (sometimes), Shy will fix the evil eye on him, snarl, and aggressively bite him. Not nip nip nip, but bite and HOLD, and shake. She has to literally pry Shy's jaws open to get himto let go of his poor brother.

    She feeds them separately, and supervises playtime closely. She makes sure to give each puppy one-on-one time. She knows the basics and she's not quite a novice pet owner, but she's never come across this, and doesn't quite know what to do.

    When she intially told me of the problem, I was just going to borrow him for a day and let the dobes teach him how o behave, but now I don't think that would be wise... I don't want him to hurt my dogs, and i dont' want my dogs to hurt HIM.

    Any tips, suggestions, advice woudl be gretly appreciated... :(
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    That's quite common with siblings, at our rescue we start getting desperate for adopters when the litter mates start going at each other. She doesn't want to re-home one? I don't really know what to do except separate them except for certain play times each day. She should work on a focus command for both of them and a drop-it command (I don't know if it would work in the thick of a fight but it might). Make sure they never have valuable resources when together so they have one less thing to fight over.
     
  3. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Thats interesting because usually if you have siblings brother sister works out better than same sex siblings. The above suggestion is good as well as adding human intervention of disciplining the female for " taking the law into her own hands. ".
    Sounds like to me though the female pup is the alpha bitch of the litter, and the male pup was the sub dominant alpha male. I would work with both pups- the male to build confidence, the female for her to learn her place through obedience and a job to do. She may need more stimulation to work that energy off than he does. A tired pup is less likely to fight.
     
  4. SizzleDog

    SizzleDog Lord Cynical

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    borzoimom- they're actually both brothers. Eek, I know...
     
  5. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    ohhhhhh I am sorry.. ( needs more morning coffee)- I read male and female. Well yea same sex can have dominance problems. However- owner is still boss, and can " explain" what is accepted behavior and what is not.
    To throw a monkey wrench here- however there is a problem. If the owner disciplines the one starting it, it can make that one act like " I need to be quicker to put my place before someone steps in". If they have already been disciplining the one that starts the " attack", they need to reverse what they are doing. I know this sounds backwards- but actually to fuss at the submissive one does several things-
    1. Lets the aggressor know they will handle the situation- not them.
    2. Tells the submissive one to just submit and avoid territory items of that dog like certain toys etc.
    Sometimes dog fights escalate because of this. As I said- if the aggressor gets disciplined they more so want to make the fight more aggressive quicker to " make their point". Either discipline both for the fight or fuss at the one that did not submit quick enough..
     
  6. SarahFair

    SarahFair New Member

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    I know this is off topic but..
    Why do litter mates go at each other??
     
  7. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Typically they already decided who was boss over whom. One of the reasons why keeping same sex litter mates can be hard. Females and males think different enough its usually not a problem. One of the reasons I noticed in my years of training and raising dogs is that if the mother dog was taken too early- who would have intervened if a " discipline" was too hard on another pup, the pup learned " I can do as I want with no reprocussions. ". "Momma dog" would be very good at leveling the playing field. Removed too soon, the big ones over the little ones- or more so " the ones that want top position over those that do not know yet.". When I had my shepherds even if it wasnt mom, it was another adult dog with the litter. Teaches the bossy ones not to be so obnoxious.
     
  8. SizzleDog

    SizzleDog Lord Cynical

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    thanks zoimom - she is a reader of chaz (well, when I have it up at work!) so I'll share your reponses with her. :)
     

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