The very best days, in my opinion, are those that are a pleasant mix of work and relaxation. I am happiest when I’m accomplishing something, but my weekend coffee breaks are sacred. These are about an hour and a half each Saturday and Sunday in which I read and knit or embroider and look at decorating or gardening books. Saturday was a glorious mix of work and play, but yesterday morning, our younger dog Phoebe launched an unprovoked attack on our older dog, Sancho. If you’ve ever seen a real dog fight, you know how distressing they are. To see your sweet and cuddly pet turn into an angry, snarling, wild animal is truly horrifying. Jon pried the two dogs apart, and after we reintroduced them to each other, Phoebe made apologetic gestures to Sancho, nose touching and tail wagging, while Sancho resignedly tolerated her. Sancho wasn’t hurt, at least.
More than a year ago, they’d gotten into a fight and I’d read that younger dogs will sometimes try to usurp the older dog’s position as pack leader. The book I read said to reinforce the older dog’s precedence. So I made a point of always allowing Sancho out the door first, giving him his meals and treats first. That seemed to work for nearly eighteen months until yesterday. And then, several hours later, they got into another fight, again, unprovoked, as far as we can tell, although the fights always start when we aren’t looking. Still, there was no food and no toys in the vicinity. This time, Sancho has some superficial bites to his snout.
So now we have them separated until we decide what to do. Phoebe has the dining room and sun room to herself, where there’s a comfortable bed and plenty of windows. Sancho has his usual space in the living room. We have always kept distance between them at meal time.
Jon and I both hardly slept all night, and he is going to call the vet today. We are wondering if Phoebe has an illness or something that’s making her lash out.
I don’t usually crowd source about problems, but let me know if you’ve had dog fighting issues in your household. I’ve read some articles online and one suggests that the attacking dog may be stressed, perhaps by an ear infection. We also had traps set for a ground hog on our property on Friday. The traps are baited with some sort of ground hog sexy times scent and we theorized that Sancho had gotten some of this on himself and smelled irresistibly of ground hog. So I bathed him last night, in case that is the issue.