Tuesday, September 9

Not all fun and games...

Just sometimes!

I get asked a lot about dog aggression in my multi-dog household. While it rarely occurs, the fact is, it does. Anyone with more than one dog can report a scuffle from time to time.

Last night, Popper had a really, really off day. He's normally only ball aggressive, and he's not *horrible* about it, and he has a couple other minor issues where if he gets frustrated or bored, he takes it out on one of his brothers. I know this and so it's not too difficult to keep him in check.

Yesterday was "attack Blossom day." TWO dogfights and one quick nip. The first time, it was over food - food not even in his dog bowl, food in a bowl he can't even reach. Didn't matter. Blossom mosied over to grab a few bites and he launched into beagle warfare on her. I had to restrain him for several minutes after it was finished, because he was still visible and audibly upset. Blossom was quite a scrapper in her youth, but has mellowed considerably in her old age. She was shaking pretty badly but was unhurt.

The second time, I was working with popper on weave poles in the back yard. I was tossing treats to all the dogs. Blossom missed hers and started sniffing around for it. Apparently that offended Popper, he again attacked her. I was only a step away and curtailed it REALLY quick.

The quick nip was before bedtime, when Blossom was on my bed, Popper in Roofus's bed, and Roofus also on my bed. Roofus leapt off the bed because my SO was being annoying to me (Roofus is my gallant knight), which startled Blossom (who is deaf) so she too leapt down - unfortunately right next to Popper, who had just been trompled by Roofus. Popper nipped her in the face. :(

I have seen absolutely NO trace of this aggression today. Normally he ignores B, and B ignores him. That's how it is again today... though when I fed Blossom a little extra in Roofus's bowl as a treat, and to watch and correct Popper, she did eyeball him several times before she would eat from the bowl. Popper was fine with her.

I attribute most of Popper's behavioral problems to the half of his pedigree that makes him such a great agility dog - the Australian cattle dog part. They are known for a tendency to be dog aggressive, and have extremely high physical and emotional needs. They need a JOB to be completely happy, which is partly why we started agility in the first place. I actually don't care for cattle dogs at all, and never expected to own even a part heeler, but now I find myself thinking that as I am becoming more and more familiar with the breed, I may just keep getting cattle dog mixes. There's tons of them in pounds and rsecues.

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