HELP! My dogs got in horrible fight! With each other!!!

  1. I have 6 dogs. 4 large, two small.

    Yesterday, I was leaving my place (two acres, the dogs have free run of it) with my two little dogs in the car. I noticed that two of the big dogs, the lab mix and the golden retriever were not at the gate, which my DD had left open for me 5 minutes earlier because I was supposed to leave right behind her...

    They normally do not leave the property, but a few days ago we found the gate open and the dogs adventured is not normal for them to go out an open gate usually....anyway, yesterday two of them did....

    I closed the gate and looked down the road (country lane) and called the two criminals home. They came loping down the road and into the gate. I did not scold them or get dramatic...though I was agitated since I was late, but I welcomed them and scooted them inside with me. i patted all the 4 big dogs on the head and moved to close the gate and get in my car.

    Suddenly the lab mix (who had just returned) attacked one of the two dogs that had not gone on the road, the was instantaneous and violent. I tried to pull him off her but could not and as it escalated I realized I could not get into it.... the retriever, who was also on the road, just barked and cheered everyone on.....

    I was not near a hose, and I could not get him off of her...then the OTHER dog that had remained home, the ridgeback mix, got into it. they were literally trying to tear the shepherd apart, they had her by the flank and neck and were shaking her as if she was prey, and they are all close in size!!! My neighbor ran over and knocked the lab away with a baseball bat and my other neighbor pulled the ridgeback off and we all blocked them from attacking the victim again, she was laying on the ground bleeding. I had tried using sticks and rocks to break up the attack but they were in full attack mode and were not conscious of anything at all...

    As we got the other dog out the gate and into the car, the other two were still snarling and trying to get at her, we literally had to block them from attacking her again. They were out for BLOOD, and there was a lot out there. :cry:

    These are well behaved dogs who have lived together for years. They come when I call, they eat together (each has his or her own bowl) and they never do this!!! I was shocked. The shepherd had to have her ear re-attached, and the other two went in later to have their lacerations checked.....the ridgeback lost a tooth.

    They will all be fine, but now what????

    The two perpertrators are home now, and I am keeping the victim at the vet until Monday, as I am in class all weekend and not here to supervise the re-entry.

    I am just shocked and terrified this could happen again. I have absolutely no idea what set them off. I am normally the alpha dog of this pack, I do not understand what happened here, but I have seen them hunt rats and they also attacked a goat that escaped (survived and was fine)...but they have never turned on one another. It was just horrifying.

    I am a responsible dog owner, they are all loved and cared for, they are allowed in the house on their beds (though they sleep outside unless the weather is really bad).

    The only thing that was different yesterday is that my mom arrived from the mainland the night before, and the dogs did not get a lot of attention, we had to make sure they did not bump her as we went inside (she is 92), and we were not as attentive to them as we normally would be. I am wracking my brain to think if this could have had some bearing on this....

    I would appreciate any input and I am just terrified of what will happen when we bring the shepherd back. The vet says it may never happen again, or it could happen immediately, or anything in between....

    I am afraid we will have to get rid of the lap/shepherd mix that started it. He is so sweet, and should have been someone's "only dog" but we rescued him as a sick puppy with parvo, and has been a sweet dog until now....

  2. OMG Cobalt, this breaks my heart. I have nothing to offer relative to the "why" but I am sure some of the members here will have some insight. I know you are very shaken, as anyone would be. I am so sorry this happened. I am interested to see what other members have to say.
  3. Oh my heavens. How awful. I witnessed a Pit Bull attack a friend's Lab and it was horrific so can just imagine your horror seeing this happen between your own pets.

    Sadly, I would be terrified to ever leave those dogs together again.
  4. Thank you so much. I was terrified and so shaken. I had a full panic attack, could not stop crying. i cannot believe anyone would watch a dog fight for fun. I could not even open my gate from the shaking.

    honestly, I am so afraid for gypsy to come home monday. I love all my dogs, it broke my heart to see this. And scared me to death.
  5. Oh dear CB, how awful. I'm so sorry this happened, who wouldn't be shaken and upset about this. What a nightmare. I'm so so sorry :hugs:
  6. This happened once to me. I had 3 Greyhounds and all of the sudden 2 of them went at each other when they were playing in the yard. The third wasn't out there so there was no "pack" mentality telling her to join in the fight. The one dog needed stitches to his ear and the other had a nasty gash across his face. These were dogs that always played in the yard together, ate together, slept together and never made a peep. I didn't see what started it but it could have been anything. When I got them home from the vet they acted like nothing happened and it never happened again. I did muzzle the 2 bad boys for a little while when they were running in the yard. Is it possible the Shepherd had a small seizure? I have seen dogs attack for this reason. When she comes home I would muzzle the bad boys and keep a close eye on them for a while. Most likely it will never happen again. Hopefully not. I know how scary it is to see that.
  7. Omg, that was a very intense moment. I am so sorry....all I could think of was to ask Caesar Millan. I hope they will get along as usual.
  8. #8 Oct 23, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
    Cobalt, how terrifying! From your description that was definitely to the death. I can only say sometimes I have no idea why it happens. Maybe they did sense your agitation, on top of the new situation of having someone visit? It is work to manage a pack (I have more than 6) - I had a fight where one dog killed the other- it looked very much like your description.

    Unfortunately, you may have to always keep those dogs separated from now on - you will fid out if that is necessary soon enough. IME it is a little unusual for the opposite sexes to have a fight like that.

    I wish I had some advice, but only sympathy (and empathy) for such a terrifying situation. You are lucky you didn't get hurt.

    {{{{{hugs}}}} Cobalt - keep us posted on how the pack dynamics are going. Unfortunately, rehoming one is a distinct possibility. That's what I had to do.

    I also never let all my dogs out at once (not saying you shouldn't, just saying what I do) - even though 9 times out of 10 all will go well, all that has to happen is one dog hurts its paw and cries and bam! pack-up.
  9. Cobalt, this is terrible. I am so sorry for you and your family (peeps and pups)! I'm not sure what advice I can offer, but I do hope you are able to resolve this. :hugs:
  10. I'm so sorry to hear your story - tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Give your gal lots of kisses when she comes home...
  11. This is terrible. I don't really have advice. I'm a kitty mommy. I wouldn't put the "victim" back with the other dogs. Maybe you could put her in a carrier and see how they react smelling her?
    I wonder if she could have been sick or having a seizure or something that set them off.
    Not to criticize as you say you have a large property and take good care of your dogs and I'm sure you want to keep all of them. But for the future, would maybe two dogs be enough to manage?
  12. Thank you everyone. The two that came home are just being as sweet as can be, of course.

    We are really nervous still.

    I really appreciate all the hugs and support.

    sdkitty...well, we started with two, and yes, that was lovely. We took in rescues, that is how this happened...we have such a great property for dogs, and were able to provide homes, it is not unusual here for people to have a lot of them. I love them all, but yes, two were much easier to manage.

    All I can think of is then when the other two came in the gate, gypsy must have put out some kind of attitude at them for running off. Usually the lab is the policeman if someone misbehaves, but gypsy was pretty jacked up that morning, she wanted in the car and was more intense about it than usual....she may have been giving off some kind of vibe that set them off......I keep going over it for clues....
  13. Wow, I am sorry to hear about this, that is absolutely terrible.
    Obviously you know your dogs well, but is it possible that the victim has shown any unstable behaviour? From what I know of dog psychology, the pack will try to *fix* or *destroy* any pack members that aren't stable in some way, and it can be anything as small as some anxiety or chasing their tail or showing unusual signs of weakness.
    I have no advice, but I feel terrible for you. I can't imagine watching my animals do this or having to rehome one. Maybe you can ask an animal behaviourist to come and observe them or assist with the re-introduction? If you do it on your own, your anxiety might rub off on the pack and cause trouble, so I suggest getting some help. :hugs:
  14. #14 Oct 23, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
    This is called redirected aggression. This happens when situations such as you described occur. Often it has nothing to do with sharing of food or the things that humans assume would be the cause.
    This is something that can be worked through, but you might need the advice of a professional.

    I bet the internet will give you lots of material to consider.

    I probably would have freaked too and gotten clawed to death jumping between them.
    I'm sorry for what happened, but thankful that you and the victim are alright.

    ETA..The attack probably had more to do with an outside occurrence, not anything the victim or anyone else did. The victim was the nearest animal/person to be used as a scapegoat, and took the aggressive hit.
    This is a very basic explanation. Much better insight and explanations are available, but I really don't believe the cause was about you or the other dogs. You have no way of knowing what happened to them when they were down the road.
  15. I'm so sorry - how terrifying! My friend has a male dog, and her neighbor has a male and a female. When all three are together, they gang up on the female - they get very rough, but when it's the girl and one other male, they're fine. Maybe it's some sort of weird competition where the boys are trying to dominate each other by picking on the girl - seeing who does the most harm to her? I have no idea - just throwing that out there. Or, maybe the girl gives off signals that she's intimidated by the males, which triggers them to attack...

    I hope she will be ok, poor thing, and I am glad you weren't attacked trying to split them apart!