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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Backround:

3 dogs, Shadow (big cheese), Molly (past behavior issues that we got under control with an awesome trainer, ACL surgery, bad hip dysplasia and arthritis, incontinence that she takes D.E.S. for) and Boomer (Newest member, got her last October).

Molly and Boomer have scuffled a bit, but nothing serious. They also play together a lot, which is good becuse Molly's activity level is usually pretty low due to the health stuff. Today I was in the backyard giving them fresh water and squirting the hose for Shadow and Boomer to chase (Molly hates water) when the neighbor dog started barking from the other side of our wood fence. When the dog barks, there is usually a little fence fighting/barking then they all go on their merry way. Anyhow, Molly ran over to bark and Boomer joined her about 30 secods later. Molly turned on Boomer and attacked her! (I know this can happen because the reaction to the other situation gets diverted but never seen my dogs do it) She wouldn't let up, I stayed calm and called her off and she ignored me, going after Boomer and cornering her in the rose bushes, going after her again and again. I went across the yard and Boomer finaly got away, with Molly giving chase. I got them seperated without touching them, and Molly was spurting blood from her front leg.

I got Molly cleaned up and the bleeding stopped and wrapped it up. It looks like one shallow puncture that hit the right spot to bleed a lot, maybe from the rose bushes... neither dog had other injuries.

The behavior stuff with Molly before was dominance stuff when she was 6-14 months old, she is 5 now. Our trainer taught us how to lay down the rules and stop giving her mixed signals and it helped 90%. She then started having health issues and that was the end of most of the aggression. She growls and gets snarly when we have her nails clipped (always when they are on the 3rd foot!) but that's about it.

She is not usually dominant with other dogs. Like I said, her and Boomer jockey for position once in a while, but nothing serious. They all have to work to come in and out of the house and to get fed or get attention, and they usually obey me. She's actually been feeling better lately, so it's not that she's in more pain than usual.

What do I do about this? I usually leave the dogs outside when we leave during the day, but today I didn't leave them together unless I was home. Molly is happy to lay around the house most of the time anyway. I wonder how likely it is that this will happen again.
 

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You're reading it right--heightened reaction to the other dog has no place to go, so the dog releases it by going after another dog (it can also be a person, so fence barking is not ever something I take lightly).

If Molly is old, and with all her health problems I am guessing she is, she would get a free pass on this one from me. She didn't definitely even hurt the other dog, and dominance/frustration aggression isn't usually harmful. I would, however, manage the situation and the dogs so this triggering event does not happen again. It's not fair to any of the dogs--it may seem benign to you, but fence fighting is very un-fun for dogs and it sets frustrations and behavior patterns that may be deadly for the dog on the other side of the fence if he's ever so foolish or unlucky as to be able to get in real contact with your dogs. What they're doing in dog language is hurling death threats at each other; a few months or years of that and there is so much hatred between the dogs that any and all normal bite inhibition will be forgotten and they really will kill each other.

It sounds like you had a great trainer--I would get back in touch. I wouldn't present Molly's attack as the worriesome event; the issue is this fence fighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Molly just turned 5.

What can I do in the meantime to keep them from the fence? Thank you for your help...
 

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The quickest and absolutely easiest way to stop fence fighting is by hanging an invisible fence off the current fence. You set your field to only a foot, max 2 feet and that takes away the physical barrier, thus stopping the actual FENCE aggresion. It's hard to toss yourself barking at an invisible barrier.
 
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