The conversation comes up all the time, and it’s been a topic of discussion again recently: “Should you, or should you not, have two female dogs in the same household?” We hear plenty of stories about two females that get along great together – and that’s amazing, but it’s not typical. There are countless research studies that show females have a higher rate of aggression toward other females than they do toward males, or than males have toward other males. And we have to give creed to all this information. Here are just a few snipits of this type of research:
“There is a higher incidence of aggressive behavior between dogs of the same sex. Two males or two females will often view each other as rivals, even if they appear to get along most of the time. This is a fact for every breed.”
“When two dogs of the same sex live in a household together, they are required to decide which one will be the top dog and which one will be the bottom dog. The ‘decision making’ can become nasty and even violent. The ultimate pecking order can have an undesirable effect on both of the dog’s personalities—one of the dogs can become dominant to an unhealthy degree and the other can be pushed so far into submission that it’s not good for him. In this common scenario, the top dog becomes tyrannical and the bottom dog lives a nerve-wracking life of perpetual submission. This is an unyieldingly stressful set of circumstances for the entire household.”
“Generally, I like male/female pairings in a two-dog household, then male/male pairings, with female/female pairings at the bottom of the list. That is not to say you can’t see successful duos with all of these combos, but I think most behavior consultants would agree that the worst cases of interdog aggression are usually between females, and when these dogs live in the same home, managing the situation can be a nightmare for the owners — and is tough on the dogs, too. Generally, a second dog of the opposite sex is a good idea for most families.”
“Same-sex dogs are more likely to fight. Two males (or two females) are much more likely to fight than a male and a female. This is true of every breed, not just pit bulls, because two dogs of the same sex are likely to see each other as rivals.”
“The first thing that might be surprising to most people is that female dogs are more often involved in fights than are males. [In a recent study] only 32 percent of aggressive incidents involved conflict between two males, while in the remaining 68 percent, females were active participants. This is consistent with previous research which showed that when females get into an aggressive situation, injuries are apt to be more severe and the fights tend to be longer and more furious.”
To sum up, Save-a-Bull’s position is this: dog aggression is a behavior found in every breed, but because of their breed history, pit bulls might be less tolerant of other dogs. Add to this the research showing female dogs are less tolerant of other females and it can create a recipe for disaster. As pit bull advocates and owners, it is our responsibility to understand our dogs and to put them in a position to succeed. It is because of this that we will not place a female dog into a home with another female dog.
“Let’s not blame the dogs for a trait bred into them by the evilness of man. Let’s understand them instead, so we can provide responsible ownership and give them a chance to show the world why they are so deserving of our love.”
As we sit smack in the middle of outdoor patio season, let’s pause to take a moment to think about our dogs. We love sitting on the patio with our friends, meeting new people and socializing for a few few hours (we especially love coming to the Save-a-Bull brew tour events!) But how does your dog feel about that? While we promote dog-friendly events, and encourage you to bring your dog, if he enjoys such things, please take a moment to consider if he actually wants to be there.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Jill Kessler; it’s an oldie but a goodie. The author talks about her disdain for dog parks and why. We see many similar correlations in overcrowded, loud, fun-for-us patios. Be sure your dog loves this chaos as much as you do, as controlled experiences are key training opportunities for your dog.
I am not a Dog Park advocate.
October 8, 2015 | Jill Kessler Miller
…let’s look at [dog parks, patios] from a dog’s point of view. Dogs thrive on stable relationships. Notice I did not say “pack!” They set up and like to maintain relationships with things that they know: their people, our human friends, their dog friends, their housemates, etc. Unless there are the exact same dogs every time they go to the dog park (which is nearly impossible), they have to re-establish their relationships with not only the dogs they already know in context of the new dog present, but they also have to establish a relationship with that specific new dog.
Some dogs can handle the stress of this–but most cannot. Thus you’ll get what appears to be random fighting, random aggression towards a dog they know, random odd behaviors (“gee, never done that before”), seemingly sudden guarding behaviors (territory, owner, another dog) etc. It’s not random or unpredictable–it’s the stress you, as an owner, causes by going to the dog park! Dog parks require skills that most dogs do not possess, nor would they according to how we have bred them for hundreds of years.
Lastly, I’m very wary of the “unknown” factors. Unknown dogs, unknown owners, unknown relationships and interactions, unknown damages. I don’t like surprises, and dog parks hold way too many unknown factors for dogs’ safety.
One of my main reasons for not being a dog park advocate is what I can’t control my dog’s experience and/or other people’s dogs (and I think it goes without saying, the dog owners). Because dogs are learning all the time, I must control as much of their experiences as possible, so that they build a solid foundation of behaviors that are appropriate and desirable, such as impulse control, bite inhabitation, and exchanging rewarding, affiliative, positive social interactions.
All mammals remember frightening encounters over non-eventful or even fun encounters. It’s a primal survival brain mechanism, designed to keep us alive. Dozens of positive encounters can be overridden by one bad one; thus I must make sure my dog has only positive experiences for several years, until they are mature and have a solid foundation before I expose them to a possibly unsure environment.
If your dog gets bullied, attacked, frightened or even just overwhelmed at the dog park, he will bring that experience and the subsequent conclusions he made with him everywhere. The reactions can vary from “I’m scared and must get away as quickly as possible at all costs” to “If I come on strong and attack first, maybe I’ll be okay,” to just about anything in between.
Also keep in mind that fighting and bullying in dogs is a learned behavior just as much as anything else, and therefore once your dog does it a few times, it’s now learned and bound to be repeated over and over again. And make no mistake–many dogs enjoy being a jerk! Your best bet is to not let it start in the first place, whether it’s your dog being the bully or being the target.
Of course I recommend dog-to-dog play! If your dog has a few friends that he or she really enjoys, please go for it! Set up play dates, meet somewhere where they can safely run, sprint, wrassle, and jump about. Since dogs generally play in pairs, try for either just the two, or in even numbers, you’ll find it works out better. Some dogs only want or need a few friends (just like people), and some are social butterflies, and can make friends wherever they go. Pay attention to who your dog is, not who you want them to be. Stay within your dog’s comfort zone, and you’ll have a happier, safer dog.
Source: www.jillkessler.com, Photo by Jeremy Wiens
When we decided to launch the Fix Your Pit spay/neuter clinics, we partnered with Kindest Cut – a low-cost veterinary provider that now operates as part of the AHS in Golden Valley. Obviously we are passionate about these clinics so when we were asked to assist on the days of our clinics, volunteers jumped at the opportunity to help!
A group of nine volunteers showed up to help at each of our four clinics. They took on a variety of jobs like greeting clients and helping them fill out registration paperwork. As they checked dogs into the clinic, they weighted each one and escorted them to their kennels to await surgery. Many clients did not have a regular experience with a veterinary office and were a bit nervous about leaving their beloved dogs, so a big part of the process was helping reassure them that their dogs would be fine and that they were doing the best thing for the dogs they love!
“I loved talking to the owners while they brought their dogs in. Most of them just wanted to know they were going to be okay.”
CAROL, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“These owners genuinely cared about their dogs – there were lots of hugs and kisses before we took their dog into the back!”
MACKENZIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
While the staff prepped dogs and performed the spay and neuter surgeries, volunteers assisted with cleaning surgical equipment, laundry, making ID tags for the dogs who got vaccines and anything else the surgical team needed. As dogs came out of surgery, volunteers used hot bean bags and blankets to keep their body temperatures up. And when they started to wake up, the dogs got lots of cuddling and reassurance to get on their feet and walk off the anesthesia.
“The staff at the clinic really stood out to me. They knew the name and other details of every dog. They really cared about the dogs and would tell us who was shy, cuddly, etc. It made me feel good about the work they do.”
JESS, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“My favorite part was helping the pups wake up. I also enjoyed watching the surgical process. It was very interesting.”
CASSIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Once the surgeries were complete, and the dogs were awake and alert, their owners began to come back for them. Each owner got a full recap of the pre-surgical exam and complete post-op care instructions. They were happy to see their dogs and the dogs were certainly happy to see them too!
“Clients were so nervous at first but really grateful once they realized the experience was a smooth one.”
LORELEI, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Animal Humane Society’s Kindest Cut program is a full service veterinary office that offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, wellness services, and dental care to cats, dogs and rabbits belonging to families with limited means. When we partner with them, we cover the full cost of spay/neuter, vaccines and microchips for pit bull owners who sign up for our select clinic dates. It is our hope that we also bring awareness that low-cost veterinary options are available, so everyone has the resources to care for their pets.
“For families who are financially limited, ensuring their animals can be spayed and neutered is invaluable.”
Jeanette, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Each of our four clinics this year was completely booked. In total we spayed or neutered 81 dogs and helped set their owners up with a positive experience and information about proper veterinary care for their pets. It was extremely gratifying to meet and talk to the people in our community and to offer this assistance to those who really want the best for their pets and care about making a difference in not only the lives of their own pets, but for the breed in general.
“The more people in these communities who we can educate the more they can hopefully educate others.
BETH, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“I’d love to see us be able to do MORE clinics!”
HOLLY, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Because the clinics were so overwhelmingly well received, we knew we had to find a way to host more clinics next year, so we’ve put the wheels in motion and have six clinics already scheduled for 2017:
February 11, April 8, June 10, August 12, October 14 and December 9. Watch for these dates to be added to our schedule and for booking of appointments to open up a month or two before each date!
Of course our goal on Give to the Max Day is to raise the money needed to cover all these clinics now. Please help us with a donation today – thank you!
Thanks to you, Save-a-Bull has had the opportunity to rescue and rehome a lot of deserving dogs this year. But that’s not enough! Supporting spay and neuter assistance programs for our community will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day. Donate today and be a part of our Fix Your Pit program!