Our first couple of years with Beanie were beset by all kinds of problems; she got sick, she ate things she shouldn’t, she ran off to the point that we could hardly ever get her off lead, and she started having very cross words with other dogs. We got through all these problems of course and the last year or so – in our new house – has been bliss. No medical issues, no non-edibles getting eaten, no off-lead worries due to having a big garden for Beanie & Biggles to romp around in, and for some months, no sign of grumpiness towards other dogs. So, obviously, it’s high time we had a new problem to deal with, and our little girl has come up with a really good one. A few days ago she attacked Biggles!
The attack came after a short and very pleasant game with our Burns frisbees. I was throwing the frisbees out in the garden and our two pups were happily retrieving them and bringing them back to me for a little reward:
Don’t be fooled by the photo – neither of our Beagles try to catch the frisbees while they’re in flight
But they run after them and grab them as they land
The frisbees aren’t always easy to keep hold of
But it seems like fun
We’ve found that Beagles tend to lose interest in a game if you play for too long, so I stopped while they were still having fun, tidied away the frisbees and sat on our garden bench to review the photos I’d taken. Beanie clearly wanted to play more and kept bugging me for another round, and tried to nick treats out of my pockets. I wasn’t having any of that, and I gently pushed her away a couple of times until she got the message. Then Biggles wandered up to me and as I often do, I started stroking him under his chin. Almost immediately Beanie flew into a rage and leaped on him. She did no physical harm, but she was like a Tasmanian devil, snarling and pinning little Biggles. He offered no resistance; he just squealed and tried to escape.
Once we’d managed to get hold of them we pulled them apart, and took them on a short walk together to calm things down. On the walk, they immediately became friends again, but once back in the house Biggles was still fearful, or at least painstakingly respectful, of his sister to the point that he didn’t want to be in the same room with her. It was as though she was claiming whatever room she was in as hers. Not content to let this happen, we put leads on both of them and made them sit together in the same room. By the next morning all seemed well again, and we were ready to put this unfortunate incident down to “one of those things” that happen occasionally with dogs, but then out of the blue Beanie attacked again, and again. In all there were four attacks over three days. Each time the attack seemed to have some kind of “resource guarding” motivation, and each time they were perfectly fine on walks outside the house.
All our walks have been uneventful
As long you don’t count Biggles losing his footing..
getting an unexpected bath…
and coming out smelling like a mucky pond!
Currently we’re managing the situation by keeping them on lead and under close supervision in the house. We’ve now gone two days without further attacks but we’re fearful of allowing them freedom in the house, or even the garden, in case there’s another incident. Help is on its way though – we’ve contacted behaviorist and heelwork to music expert Heather Smith to help us through this current and distressing problem.
Apparently most multi-dog households experience something like this at one point or another, even with dogs that generally get on very well. Still, it’s been a hell of a shock to us because Beanie and Biggles have been getting on so well together for so long. We’ve thought up lots of theories as to why the attacks happened, and had even more suggestions, among them:
- We’re way too lax about discipline in the house, and don’t really treat the two Bs sufficiently like dogs. Regardless of whether this is the root cause, it’s certainly true!
- We’ve fallen into the habit of each favoring one dog; I tend to do most activities with Biggles, while Susan usually pairs up with Beanie. We have noted a bit of discomfort, possibly the beginnings jealousy, when we swap dogs.
- When we’re out running with our pooches, I generally run with Biggles and Susan with Beanie. Since I’m the faster runner (and Biggles is the stronger puller) we’re always in front, while Beanie, who is certainly the fastest and most athletic dog (and knows it!), is forced to bring up the rear.
- Although spayed, Beanie is going through a bad time hormone-wise.
It may not be one specific thing that’s caused the problem but rather a combination. Regardless, we’ve just got to sit tight and hope that Heather can help us restore peace between our two little buddies.
Hopefully by the time I next post to the blog, the only fighting will be the playful kind.