Aggression between only 2 of 4 dogs in home

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/a3v2sb/aggression_between_only_2_of_4_dogs_in_home/

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Hi everyone!

New to this sub surprisingly. Hoping someone can give some recommendation as to where to go from here.

We have 4 dogs in our home. We each had 2 before my partner and I started dating – hers are a now 11yo Husky and a 10yo lab/pit mix. Mine are both around 2.5yo now – a puggle and a staffy/boxer mix (the only male, other 3 are all female).

My girlfriend did dog boarding when we first met, and had for years, so hers were very used to having other dogs in the house. As the husky got older, she had started getting crotchety with the boarding dogs – but specifically over her bedroom, which was her “safe space” when she wanted some chill time, and her food. No other problem areas. We started bringing mine over and once they stayed the night the first time, they never left and we now clearly live together. It’s been a little over a year that all 4 have lived together, and the first 3 months of that we were still continuing the dog boarding.

Roughly around when we conveniently stopped doing the dog boarding, the husky started going after the puggle. We would hear from the other room the puggle welping like she was in pain and find the husky going after her, but never found any injury, were able to separate them, and honestly it seemed as though the husky’s body language was that she was trying to play the way she does with the dog she grew up with, but for whatever reason the puggle was super uncomfortable with this type of play from her (even though she plays like a psycho with her brother!) and was interpreting it as more of an attack. This started off being an occasional thing and we began keeping them more separated/only around each other if we were DIRECTLY there with them.

It’s escalated now to where we’ve only had them successfully in the same room for more than a few minutes twice in the last 6 months. These times were both recent so I thought we were making progress, until the other day the puggle snuck under my leg while I was trying to let one of the other dogs into the yard to play with her. Husky had been asleep at the couch, instantly dove over and attacked her. The puggle doesn’t back down though, only acted defenseless those first few times and now she gives it back and is much scrappiest than the husky pretends to be. Husky ended up picking a fight that ended with her getting staples… 🙁

We’ve tried reintroducing them slowly, lots of treats, separating once they show tension, etc. tried giving the husky joint supps in case it was arthritis pain causing her tension. No success. we’re at a loss.

Most of what I see on the internet/discussed with trainers is about aggression between one dog and all of the others in the house, which is part of why I came here for suggestions! The husky doesn’t get aggressive towards any of the others, at most a low grumble at the other young dog if he gets too rambunctious around her. He backs off. That’s it. But the crazy shuffle of keeping them separated with no real progress of reacclimating them is driving us up a wall.

They both show barrier aggression, in that if they’re on the other sides of windows/doors and see each other they both go nuts attacking the glass. In the same room, the puggle minds her own business, at most sniffs towards the husky if the husky is letting her, any tension from the husky and puggle backs off. But all of the fights lately have been when the puggle is entirely minding her own business.

TLDR – aggression between only 2 of 4 dogs in house. Usually instigated by the older husky that’s been in this house only maybe a year longer than the puggle. Barrier aggression. Husky attacks puggle with no clear instigating factors (eg food, toys, human attention). At a loss at this point 🙁

submitted by /u/becks920
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