What do I do?

I am so sad today. Well I’ve actually been sad for a few days. I am at such a loss of what to do. I’m hoping maybe someone has a suggestion or can help.

As most of you know, I have two dogs, my beagle Rosie who is 4 1/2, and my foster fail Izzy who just turned two. Izzy is an Aussiedoodle, half Australian Shepherd and half poodle.

I love both of the dogs. Both of the dogs love me…Izzy however loves me too much.

I’m having a big-time bad problem with my dogs. Izzy is so territorial and has started attacking Rosie. I ended up getting hurt breaking up a fight between the two of them.

I was in the recliner talking on the phone and Rosie jumped on my lap. Izzy came over from where she was and started fighting Rosie. I quickly broke it up…not a big deal-but something that has been happening more and more. Izzy did it because she didn’t want me to give attention to Rosie.

Then I took the dogs outside with the furminator brush and was going to brush out Rosie. I was holding Rosie’s collar and took two brush strokes and Izzy attacked Rosie. I couldn’t get them to quit fighting. I resorted to kicking them. I still couldn’t get them apart. It was a terrible fight. I finally got ahold of Izzy and just picked her up. She had ahold of Rosie and wouldn’t let her go. I had to slap her on the mouth to get her to release Rosie from a bite.

Rosie is okay but her ear was bleeding. I just don’t know what to do? This has been getting worse and worse. I’ve done everything I know to do and it just keeps getting worse. Izzy attacking Rosie in an effort to keep Rosie away from me has become a couple of times a week event. Tonight was the worst.

I ended up getting hurt in the process. My foot is throbbing and I don’t know if it is a sprain or if it is more. I am going to wait it out and see how it is. I’m just sick about this…not my foot. Sick about the dogs.

Izzy has started chasing Rosie away when I sit at the table to eat. Izzy wants to be under my chair. They have gotten in a fight there.

The dogs used to always lay like this in my lap on the love seat while I cross-stitched. Not anymore. Izzy keeps Rosie away. They used to get in little tiffs but ended up like this. Now Rosie doesn’t try to sit on lap much because Izzy is such a controlling jealous dog.

I think Izzy is meant to be in a one dog home.

But…what do I do?

I’ve talked with the HEART rescue coordinator that I foster with. She has tons of dog experience. She said the aggression getting worse is worrisome. That I got hurt in the fight is even more worrisome. She suggested I talk with the vet in the morning…which was my plan.

In all seriousness. I am starting to wonder if I have to put her to sleep. I’m a dog person and am totally against this but she is not safe with grandkids here if she is going to do this. The fight was so terrible, they would not have stopped if the grandkids got in between them.

I was holding Rosie when Izzy attacked tonight. She started the fight when I was right there. She didn’t care.

Since March, Izzy has drawn blood on Rosie about five times…I’ve broken up numerous fights besides that which were small. Izzy regularly growls at Rosie as well. I am so torn. I love both dogs. I want both dogs…but safety is important. My throbbing foot that I hurt breaking up the fight is a constant reminder that I can’t let this slide under the rug and ignore it.

Any suggestions blog readers?

57 thoughts on “What do I do?”

  1. Dear Jo, I ache for you and your dogs. Talk with your vet. Sometimes personality changes may be due to an illness that can be treated. Poor Rosie.

  2. Jo, so sorry you’re going through this. Do you think any obedience classes would help Izzy? Or could Izzy be rehomed to a one-dog house? While that would be hard for you, I’m sure, but maybe an alternative to putting her down? I’ve heard about people keeping two cats in separate parts of the house due to a situation similar to yours. Would that be an option? I’m sending good thoughts your way as you make a hard decision.

    1. Is it possible to get a collar for Izzy that could give her a shock whenever she would act aggressive and at the same time you would say no.

  3. Ugh, this sucks. And it’s so weird it happened after this long! But talk to HEART. I’m sure there’s a person with no dogs that would welcome Izzy.

  4. Doesn’t it seem unusual that the aggression has increased over time? Perhaps crating Izzy, at least for the time being? Poor Rosie shouldn’t feel unsafe in her own home.
    There are medications to calm Izzy, and behavioral training. Maybe a combination of these things?
    Please don’t euthanize her! There is always another way, even if it comes to her being rehomed. As sad as that would be.

  5. There is also an option of a shock collar. They do seem kind of cruel, but it seems warranted in such a situation as this.

    1. I have a collar that has a beep, a vibration and a shock setting. I have used just the beep to keep my dog from barking at anything and everything. Jo, maybe you could try a spray bottle with water. I hope you can rectify this. I would hate for you to have to put her to sleep. Hugs

  6. Shirley from Calmar

    So tough to go through this. Start with the vet. My dog started snipping at the other dog and then started snipping at people. Found out she was ill. She ran a fever one night and passed away, so I had her posted. They believe she had a small tumor on her brain. Mine 2, now, will get into it over food from time to time. I have a sharp whistle I blow when I see it coming. They generally stop in their tracks. Shock collar is another option. Usually only takes a couple times and it ends. The shock is humane. It is a little more than a static shock. It can be turned up if necessary. Hope you find a simple solution.

  7. Jo I don’t know if you have thought about it, has the problem started with you working full time, i wonder if izzy is jealous because she is mot getting the attention she was getting before you started working – just an idea

  8. I am so sorry. I pray your vet will have some good options to help calm Izzy.
    A muzzle would protect Rosie from being too harmed but will not curb Izzy’s behavior.
    A couple years back I did have to put down a dog. It broke my heart. We had tried all the options. The vet firmly believed that since it was a personality change that there had to be an underlying cause.
    In the end, for us, safety had to come first. We have young grandchildren and they had to be prioritized.

  9. If the vet says there is nothing wrong with the dog,I would rehome it in a home without children or pets. I have a reactive dog I would not trust around kids but I rarely have kids at my house and when I do the dog gets shut in my bedroom for a short time. This only works if the dog doesn’t attack adults who interact with you. If you can’t find a new home, the kindest thing to do for the dogs and you is to put the dog down. Dogs should not endanger other pets or people in the house. A friend of mine just went through a similar situation a few months ago. It was really hard at the time but now she says life is better for her and her family . You have my sympathy.

  10. I definitely think you need to talk to your vet. The fact that it just started in March sounds like there’s an underlying issue besides jealousy. Izzy may have some health issues causing this. Your vet is the best one to guide you.

  11. I know nothing about dog behavior, but my son who has 3 has used a shock collar to teach a Labrador how to behave. He wt more than his wife and she couldn’t make him behave. I’ve also heard pepper to break up a fight (causes them to sneeze) and a water pistol, or spray bottle.

  12. Jeanne Eilers

    I just had to put my dog down because he was attacked by a jealous dog while my husband was walking him in the park. The other dog jumped out of a car after parking in her garage. My shitzu mix was blinded and ended up with a concussion and brain injury causing seizures su severe he bit his tongue off. The other dog had previously gone after other dogs, I later heard. I miss my dog but I probably won’t get another after seeing what can happen and if mine did that to someone I would be devastated.

    1. I’m so sorry – how terrible this must’ve been for you. We were walking our Shih Tzu in the park the other day and an unleashed pitbull came running at him. My husband picked our boy up and kept kicking the pitbull while I screamed for the irresponsible owners. I may have to start carrying pepper spray like postal carriers do.

  13. My daughter had two dogs that were perfectly fine with each other until….the same thing happened to her as to you. After exhausting other options, she had to give the one dog up to the local shelter. It was hard but she said that she was afraid the one dog would start fighting the other while her little kids were around and they would try to intervene.
    Love and prayers

  14. We have a dog who has bitten us. He had a sad history at the breeder’s before we adopted him. Over time he has improved enormously with lots of patience and correction. Oddly, he doesn’t bite, or even try to bite, anybody else.

  15. I would only allow one dog out at a time, my daughter does this with her dogs when she has company. She also has used Pepper spray to break up fights a few times.

  16. Dog Breeder/Trainer

    Please, please, please DO NOT consider using an e-collar (shock) collar on Izzy. Any good trainer will tell you that an e-collar can be a very effective training tool, BUT only if the the dog has been properly conditioned/taught on the collar and the trainer is using the e-collar properly. “Shocking” the dog when aggressive or fighting will only lead to greater problems. The aggressive dog does not understand where the stimulation of the collar is coming from and thinks it’s the other dog which leads to further and worsening aggression. Having dealt with this situation and experiencing broken nails, sprained fingers, almost broken nose, the best solution was to keep the dogs separated and be hyper-vigilant anytime the dogs were together.
    As to why this is happening now, with a mixed breed dog it is difficult to tell how the individual genetic traits will work together. Research their individual traits because perhaps there is a protective/guarding trait that is becoming dominant as Izzy reaches adulthood. It is highly likely that they will never get along.
    Knowing that you are very active with dog rescue and living in an active puppy mill area, spaying and neutering at any age is considered a necessity. There is starting to be more scientific research on the negative effects of early spaying and neutering on the proper growth and development of dogs both physically and mentally. Now that Izzy is an adult, you may be seeing some of these.
    All of that being said…having dealt with a similar situation, 2 different breeds of dogs originally breed for 2 different reasons approximately 4 years apart in age. The aggression started with food, then toys, then dog beds. The aggressor was neutered at age 3 but the situation did not change. Having to be hyper-vigilant was very wearing for everyone. He was re-homed to a single person home. He is very friendly, playful, almost silly, loves kids ( maybe not to live with). Caution is always taken with other dogs, and typically he gets along well with other dogs. Even after re-homing, He hated the gentler, older dog until the day the gentler, older dog passed away.

  17. This behaviour has gone way beyond tolerable. Izzy cannot be controlled. This makes it unsafe for you, the children, and Rosie especially if it becomes unpredictable. You must part ways as soon as possible.

  18. Jeri Dillavou

    Hi Jo,
    I read you everyday and include you in my prayers. In other words, I am a big fan. About Izzy? she needs a time out, just like any naughty kid. Put her in the kennel when she does that. One or two evenings in the kennel with Rosie getting to stay at your side should have a very good effect on her.

  19. Izzy needs re-homing not killing. A experienced person who has owned dogs previously but has none now nor has any children in the house. She could then get consistent, continuous training and hopefully become a trustworthy dog. She can’t stay where there are children and other dogs, it’s simply an accident waiting to happen. Although I’m wondering if the deterioration in her behaviour has coincided with your working outside the home and that has something to do with it. Personally, if I had children visiting my house I wouldn’t have a jealous dog anywhere near them. Sorry if you think I’m being blunt, only trying to help. Regards from sunny England.

  20. Such a difficult situation. I have a similar but different situation myself. Last August we adopted a 7-8 lb Maltese/Shih Zhu and very shortly she decided I was the adored one. Fine, but she growls at my beagle and tries to bite her once in a while. Ruby is about 30 lbs but scared of my Missy, 8 lb wonder. No fights ever, but I would never give up Ruby. I think finding a home with no pets might be best if her physical is OK. I have had to rehome 2 Bassets that tried to kill a 8 lb pet of mine, it’s hard but I had no choice according to my vet. It’s really sad when this behavior happens. Good Luck.

  21. So sorry for your situation. We rescued a dog last summer and after 8 months of them loving each other and sharing everything, the rescue decided to resource guard my husband. She launched series of 3 attacks in 4 days. The third on was beyond anything I had seen. She went back to the rescue she came from. My husband was injured and she did not stop the attack. Since, our great-nephews are in my house multiple times a week, I couldn’t take the chance. It broke my heart. Again, so sorry.

  22. I’m so sorry , Jo. This is a BIG problem. Izzy is Resource guarding and you are the resource. The only good option I can see is finding a good behavioral trainer to work with.
    Rehoming seems like not a good option because she may guard other resources like food or toys, which would be bad for kids or ?.
    My understanding is it is a hard behavior to train out.
    A good trainer will not be cheap or easy to find and this is a potentially a very dangerous behavior, as you know.
    I would not judge you if euthanasia ended up being the outcome :(
    I’ve had many adopted dogs, mostly seniors over the years, usually multiples.
    My heart goes out to you.

  23. You answered your question right from the beginning. Why would you even over think this unnatural aggressive behavioral problem The aggressive dog has to go. I saw far too much of this type of situation working in the ER. Common sense. Dog goes before real injury is incurred and trust me it always does.

  24. Kathleen McCormick

    This is heartbreaking for all. I would have her checked at the vet to make sure nothing is going on. You then have to do what is best for all. You can’t be getting hurt nor can Rosie. You will do what is right. How many dogs have you saved? It is not what you want to do, but it may be what you need to do. Remember, too, your health and what that means to keeping you on a path to healing. I know you know all this, praying for a good solution for all. Wishing you the best as you go through one more stressful thing!

  25. I’m curious if Izzy started this after you started seeing Jerry? First you left them when you got a job, and then you got a man in your life. How does she act around him? Good luck with this difficult situation.

    1. Exactly, aggression can come from anxiety with a change in the home. Izzy is losing “her person” and is scared.

    2. Marlene Clausen

      I have been scrolling down to see if anyone suggested this. Both Jerry and going back to work are major life changes. Pets react differently to them, but it seems obvious that the aggressive dog is acting out of fear of losing you. Dogs and people don’t look at “rational behavior” in the same way.

  26. I would ask myself this: ” How would I feel if one of the people I love was the recipient of the wound that I just got?” In my world an aggressive dog is never to be trusted again. That may be harsh sounding, but even seeing a dog attack another can be traumatizing to a child.

  27. To me this is cut and dry,,,it is a safety issue for Rosie and you and your GRANDCHILDEN. Izzy needs to be put down, she has become too aggressive to be around anyone. She will be aggressive to another family too, should never pass a problem with a bad safety issue. To see a child that has been bitten by an aggressive dog is Horrible especially if the bite is on the face.

    1. I absolutely agree that passing on a problem Iike this is never the answer. If the loving owner can’t ‘solve’ a dangerous dog, it’s time to do the right thing.

  28. Reading through the comments is sad and nothing that I have tried or would do, IMHO. Just because a dog attacks another dog does not mean that dog will attack a child. When dogs fight they have adrenaline running and do not stop to think about who they are biting, sometimes it is their owner. I am 67, been doing rescue for about 30 years, including aggressive dogs and dogs that have bad health, dogs and cats that no one wants. I have never resorted to euthanasia, ever. Some dogs feel threatened when something has changed in the home. They may feel neglected, jealous, have anxiety or depressed, this causes the bad behavior. My experience is that it is usually anxiety from a change in the home life. Like people they need to feel secure and don’t like change. Dogs are pack animals and there is an alpha, if it is being done correctly, the human is the alpha in that pack. If I couldn’t figure out what has changed and how to correct it, then I resort to separating them and rotating them every hour. Not everyone can do this, this is my choice. When I commit to giving any animal a home it is furever, until one of us passes away. The last rescue I took in had a horrible start in life, I went through him even wanting to sleep on top of me and he weighs 45 pounds. He chewed everything in sight because of anxiety. He had never had a person of his own, until me, and he was only 14 months old when I got him. He is such a happy playful boy now and does not chew anything. He plays with his toys and doesn’t destroy them either anymore. He has been with me 2 years in November. I have broken up fights, I have scars from stitches and lost a finger. Like I said, not everyone can do this life. I love animals more than I like people, so I made my choice years ago to finally make my self happy instead of everyone else. I have been called the dog whisperer and people tell me that I I have a pure loving soul. Jo, I pray that you can find a solution to your issue.

  29. Are both dogs neutered I am having problems with my neutered Dog getting attached by dogs not neutered in my apartment complex, it can be male or female.

  30. Knowing what we do about you, I would imagine that this is truly the emergency stage for this. You have most likely been through all the things we can suggest. WE DO NOT WANT THIS SITUATION TO RESULT IN SOME OF THE UNFORTUNATE THINGS REPORTED IN THE MEDIA THAT WE HAVE ALL READ. With all those beautiful grandchildren. friends and their children , poor Rosie and YOUR safety must be top priority in your decision making. The limits on the bending and lifting your health precautions are has to be very important. I am so sorry you are having to deal with such a heartwrenching dilemma. no judginf permitted for whatever you decide.

  31. My vet recommends using calming herbal preparations. They plug into an outlet & work like the regular long-term air fresheners. Having the calming scent constantly in the environment helps keep everyone “mellow” & less likely to escalate. Smell is their most powerful sense & the quickest way to get them to refocus. It also isn’t something being “done” to them that they associate with the other dog or a human in the moment so less likely to be “retaliation”…so sorry that you’re going thru this!

  32. So sorry you are having to deal with this. We had two dogs and ended up having to rehome one of them due to aggression and fighting. Hate to suggest it, but could it be linked to you now spending more time out of the home and Izzy wanting all your time while home. Just a thought. Hugs hoping you find the right solution for all of you.

    1. I totally agree with Wendy here. Also where are the dogs kept during the day while you’re working? You need to do what is best for you and the dogs.

  33. Like so many others, I too am sorry that you’re having to deal with this, and that it’s got so bad. I agree with those who say talk to the vet. If there are no underlying health issues, then trying calming medications might help. Getting advice from a good animal behaviourist may be an option. But poor old Rosie has already suffered for too long, and now you are getting injured trying to stop the attacks. And of course, the safety of the children is paramount, not to mention yourself. Unfortunately, it looks as though you might have to see about getting her re-homed, somewhere where she’s the only dog. However it happens, it needs to stop now. I hope you can find a solution that you can at least feel ok about, and can live with. All the best to you.

  34. Relative to Jerry coming into your life (and home) how were the dogs? Might be a reaction that uis being taken out? Good thoughts your way

  35. Dear Jo,
    I’m so sorry that this is happening. You have your safety, healing, and peace of mind at stake. Not to mention Rosie and your family.
    Do not pass Izzy on. You will feel terrible if she hurts someone.
    Animals do not know tomorrow, putting her to sleep is a kindness, she is obviously not happy. You will be sad, but she will be at peace.

  36. Hi Jo. My granddaughter who is 21 and was spending the night at her coworkers house as they had had drinks after work so didn’t want to drive. She was viciously attacked by the friend’s German Shepard while in the house. The attack was completely unprovoked. My granddaughter ended up with about 12 bites on her arms and legs, some of which needed stitches. Because she put her hands up to protect herself the most damage was done to her dominant hand. One of her fingers was broken and she needed 15 stitches in the palm of that hand. The back of her hand was also bitten badly. She has most likely permanently lost the feeling in part of her thumb according to the orthopedist.She had to drop her college summer school class and has had to miss two weeks of work, which helps pay for college, so far. She will be off work for at least another week. I imagine she will have PTSD involving dogs for the rest of her life. The dog had to be pulled off. The girl who owned the dog loves her dearly and can’t imagine doing anything about it. It was confined for 10 days but it took four days to get the valid rabies documentation B so even that was a worry It’s been two weeks and the police still haven’t returned any calls and the insurance company is still “ investigating” if they will cover the medical bills or loss of income costs.
    Believe me, as a relative of my own human baby( those of you with grandchildren know they are always your baby) you can only imagine how incredibly angry we in this family all are that someone who knew she had an aggressive dog, which the owner did know and admitted, was not a responsible pet owner and took care of the problem before someone was badly hurt when the dog first became aggressive . My granddaughter is very lucky she was not more badly hurt! The owner of the dog had to pull the dog off my granddaughter as she lay bleeding profusely on the floor on the verge of unconsciousness. Part of owning a pet is making hard decisions when they are needed!
    Jo, I know you are going to make the right decision so this post is not directed specifically at you. All of you who think passing a vicious pet onto some other owner should think hard about the consequences of your decisions. Some animals, no matter how much you love them or they love you, do not have the personality to be called a pet and hurt an unsuspecting human person!

  37. Sorry to be late to the conversation but health reasons abound. Had a small poodle once and was in love with him when he suddenly start to snap, bite, and almost have like fits when it happened. Once he attacked the groomer at the vets and when asked what could be done for him was advised to put him down. Not often a vet tells you that but said the breeder had inbreed the breed so it was a genetic flaw and would only get worse. Told me not to return him to the breeder because that gene needed to be cut from the line. It was a hard decision but like you didn’t want the grands bitten

    1. Thank you for making the correct decision with your dog IMHO. If the decision for Jo involved getting rid of Jerry after the dog bites him so she can keep the dog or preventing company visiting in her home or having her other dog put down for too serious damage ( we had to have this done with our precious little boston terrier when my siblings and I were children after he was attacked by two unleashed labs) I think the issue would be a no brainer. I hope Jo considers all of these possibilities. Thank you for your input.

  38. Sorry to hear about this. You need an evaluation from a good animal behaviorist. But probably Izzy needs to be in a one dog home. The new owner needs to be aware of the dog aggression and the bite history.

  39. Dear Jo,
    I feel for you. We had to put our 7 year old lab cross down in December becuase he was attacking our little 13 year old poodle-cross completely randomly. The small dog was going to end up seriously injured or killed. The big dog had also bitten people a number of times over the years so we were always very cautious especially when there were young children in the house. In the last two weeks of his life aside from attacking the small dog he also bit my adult son (who was his favourite person) when they were cuddling and he was patting him gently. We talked to the vet who said that once adult dogs become frequent biters there is not much that you can do to train it out of them. We considered a muzzle but that seemed both impractical to do 24/7 and not fair to the dog. We tried a medication to see if it would help but there was another incident. At that point we had a family talk, cried a lot, and made the decision that we had to put him down becuase anything we could do to protect the small dog and people would seriously affect the big one’s quality of life. We miss him for the happy, goofy parts of his personality becuase he was a great dog much of the time. In hindsite I think things had got worse with him post pandemic when we were not at home with him 24-7 anymore and non-family members began to come over again. After we put him down the decrease in everyone in the family’s stress level was almost immediate and it was only then that we realized how on edge we had all been having to be constantly on guard. Whatever solution you come up with it will be made with your usual thoughtfullness, logic, love for both the dogs, your family and yourself.

  40. One more thought, dogs have such a fantastic sense of smell. Could Izzy be smelling all of the animals that you are around at the clinic or Jerry’s dogs on you? You did mention moving and taking animals back to the boarding kennel in another post. These smells might make her sense that there is a large group of animals that she has to compete with for your attention and fuel her anxiety and aggression. It is a thought.

  41. We are dog lovers too, currently without one after owning 4 over 27 years with them overlapping each other. I am so sorry you have this situation with your pups. I would have to say that I agree with previous comments that if you exhaust all possibility that a health issue is the underlying cause, then I think you have no choice but to rehome Izzy. There is too much risk to poor Rosie, yourself, and your grandkids. I would rely a lot on your vet’s advice as to whether Izzy should be put down because of the bad behavior. It would be unfair to pass on a potentially dangerous dog for someone else to be harmed by. Such a sad situation for all, and I’m so sorry you have to deal with it.
    One other thought, I have heard several stories about dogs being able to detect cancer. My uncles dog went from being a velcro lap dog to having nothing to do with him after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had to rehome her. Could Izzy be doing the opposite and be being overprotective instead?
    Best of luck with this difficult dilemma.

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