A couple of months back I wrote an article on a fight that broke out between my now one year resident Husky and the newly adopted bully pit. Because of his breed type, a lot of finger pointing defaults to the pitbull. I, being a novice dog owner, aligned myself with that philosophy and was determined to keep an extra careful eye on him and discipline him as necessary.
I’m so misunderstood
It’s become a regular routine for me to rotate the dogs. While I’m out of the house, one dog will be in my room while another is out back in the yard, or one will be in the garage while the other is free to run the house (usually Jordi, my Husky who has a very low prey drive and doesn’t bother the cats). Sometimes two are in a kennel and one is given free time. While I’m at home all three dogs are out and about with the cats in the mix. Cat and dog incidences are virtually non-existent, but I’ve continually been experiencing incidents between my two boy dogs about every other week. Biscuit, my bullypit just keeps bumping heads with Jordi. What could I do to get him under control, I thought? I’m always careful to give them individual treats and to separate them with this much territorial space as possible so they don’t feel the need to protect their food or themselves. But, even without the temptation of a treat to fight over, from time to time when my back was turned a scuffle would break out. It lasted no more than two to five seconds with me intervening with a shout or clap of my hands. Jordi my supposedly goofball would always look casual and innocent, while Biscuit was noticeably worked up with tense face muscles and keen ready eyes. The front of his muzzle was even flushed red. He was obviously keyed up and ready to rumble. But was he really the instigator?
Who, me? A bully?
One day Biscuit was confined to another room and Jordi and Koba, my German Shepherd-mix we’re free to roam in the living room.
I heard the tell-tale snap and growl from the adjoining kitchen. I quickly looked over and saw Koba cowering from Jordi as a leftover bone was being guarded on the floor. No doubt about it this time. Jordi, being bigger, older, and the alpha male of the three was showing his dominance and claim to the chew treat. Would I have come to the same conclusion if it had been him and Biscuit? Probably not, “Got to watch those pitbulls” you know? Fast forward to the next incident… I was laying on my bed with Koba and Jordi at my feet. I was checking my email on my laptop and my daughter was beside me playing on her phone. We heard a vicious snap and growl and both looked up expecting to see Biscuit, but he was in the garage. Koba again was on the receiving end of a show of Jordi’s dominance. Apparently she was too close to Jordi as he snuggled beside my feet. I’ve been noticing more and more lately Jordi becoming somewhat possessive which I hadn’t noticed in his character before. Of all 3 dogs, Biscuit has definitely been the most affectionate but since his arrival Jordi seems to be getting jealous? Or am I just anthropomorphosizing him? He’s definitely been trying to get closer to me, and sometimes physically blocks Biscuit from getting to me when I’m giving out pets.
Koba showing rare affection
In any case, the final show of aggression came when all three dogs were in my presence and I clearly saw Jordi bite Biscuit on the top of the head. I think there was a rawhide cow ear involved this time. But Jordi was the aggressor. A few days later and Biscuit has a small red scar on his muzzle where Jordi has bitten him over an unknown cause.
Everybody on my bed, as usual
The triggers are not always consistent and sometimes they’re not identified at all, but I have definitely discontinued my automatic blame on Biscuit as being the aggressive one in the bunch. Whether it’s jealousy, or instinctual need to dominate, or fight for something else other than attention, I am definitely seeing Jordi as less of a goofy get-along pal with paws and more of what he is. A dog. A complex and multi-faceted animal with unique needs and personality. Intelligence and primal instinct all rolled into one. As a side note, I’ve even caught Jordi snapping at one of the cats who approached to eat from one of their bowls while Jordi was eating from it. (some nerve!) That earned him a couple of hours of time out in the garage as well as ingraining it in my mind that my lovable blue-eyed,brown-eyed dog was no innocent angel pup.
Jordi and Tulip enjoying (?) each other’s company.
So the truth is out. There is a bully in my home, and it’s not Biscuit. It’s Jordi. This is an issue that I will continue to watch and intervene in as necessary. I will make sure that all the dogs get as much equal attention as possible and that their needs are met. It is my goal to do more research on dogs as a whole so that I can do more training for myself as an owner and give more personalized training and conditioning to my dogs. At the moment I’m reading Cesar Millan’s Be The Pack Leader * which is giving me helpful insight.
*Purchases made through affiliate link gives me a commission.
Because of the difference in their build and breeding I am still aware that one dog may have more capacity to cause damage but that doesn’t make him the more dangerous dogs. In order for them to live together in harmony, and show mutual respect for each other I’ve got to put in the work. I’ve got to make sure that Jordi and the other dogs recognize that there can only be one alpha. Me. And as far as everyone being so quick to caution me on watching out for the unpredictable Pitbull, I say don’t believe the hype. Open your eyes and open your mind and look at what’s really going on. The details are in the dog.