Hello folks. I have been reading this site off and on for some time now and just ended up joining this morning. I was prompted to do so by a few incidents which occurred yesterday and last night between our dogs. It's out of the blue and I apologize in advance if this is too lengthy. So here's the situation.
My wife and I were married about a year ago. I have two yellow labs which are male and female. Female is the subject of this post. My wife also has two dogs. One of which is a 35lb or so black mutt. Looks to have terrier in her but she is fairly heavy so probably mixed with a bigger dog. This is a guess.
Background on the dogs.
Female yellow lab is 5 years old and spayed. She is probably the best natured dog I have ever been around. Non confrontational to say the least. Type of dog that will turn over on her back submissively at the slightest hint of aggression from another dog. She is obedience trained, force fetched, collar conditioned, etc. An easily trainable dog w/ tons of bidability and drive to retrieve. Was starting to get her into HT's a few years ago when hip dysplasia became apparent and she was retired. Couldn't bear to part with her so she's now a dove hunting dog and a house dog. 2nd in the pack so to speak. Right behind the male lab who is the obvious dominant.
Black terrier mutt is also 5. My wife adopted her as a pup before we met. She assumed she was abused because she acts like a coyote most of the time. However, the abuse is an assumption, not a known fact. In my opinion, this dog is the dictionary definition of avoidance. Long story short, if she's told to do anything like come here, sit, stay, etc, she will
bolt, bite, or whatever it takes to defy what she was told to do. She's the kind of dog that will try to bite if you roll her on her back. She'll try to bite when I try to pull her out of the crate. I can go on and on, but in short she's very insecure and very intent on living beyond the law so to speak. This has been reinforced her whole life by my wife constantly telling her to do things and the dog constantly not doing it and getting away with it.
My labs are very well trained to the lay person and are held to certain basic standards. Come, sit, fetch, whatever the first time each time. lay down and stay until released. Basic stuff. The little black dog has discovered she doesn't have to abide by any of these basic rules as the rest of the dogs do. She doesn't have to worry about a correction because she's never given one, because she was "abused" possibly at some point of her life. So the byproduct of all this is she lives beyond the pack rule. In turn, what I've noticed in the last 6 months is a difference in how she carries herself around the other dogs. Tail straight up, ears up, etc like she owns the place. Very annoying to me and I assume the rest of our dogs as well. In the last week or so, I've noticed when letting them out of the kennel out back that she will go right at my yellow lab and start jumping in her face. Kind of like she wants to play but not so much. It has progressed to where I've seen her do it in the house a few times, etc.
So here we go. I'm at work yesterday and I get a call from my wife. She's crying and advises that the yellow lab has proceeded to whoop the black dog's butt. The lab has her pinned down with a good grip on the throat. She gets her off notices bite marks. I get home later, shave up the wounded areas on her back and neck, and get her cleaned up. A little purple spray antiseptic and we're good. I figure it's an isolated incident and the mutt finally managed to push my lab to her limit. Which is quite a limit because she's a good natured dog.
So they hang out the rest of the day and all seems to be well. My wife lets them all out to pee before we go to bed last night. I start hearing screams and actually thought it was kids outside playing. I then realize it's dogs and my wife making all the noise and I run outside to see my lab going to town again. But this time she's she's shaking her and tossing the mutt around like a rag doll. Lab is now in the red zone and I have jump in the middle and was quite an effort to get her off the black dog. So we all get calmed down. Take the black mutt to the garage. More shaving, more puncture wounds, more purple spray. The mutt now looks like she got peppered by a shotgun. I am all about letting dogs work things out amongst themselves, but this thing has escalated a bit higher than I care to see. Black mutt cannot take many more rounds of this.
So now my question. I'm still fairly convinced this is a dog thing being worked out in dog terms. But last night, it seems that my lab was unprovoked and took after her anyway. It lasted a good 30 secs and did not look to be ending any time soon when I broke it up. Were this not my wife's dog, it wouldn't take me long to figure out what to do, nor would it take 6 paragraphs to explain. But it is my wife's dog and I can't let her get chewed up again. I really don't want to get rid of my lab.
Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.