Monday, October 23, 2006


Laila playing with Gus, the neighbors beagle/basset mix

Jenny on her favorite chair

MORAL: Never get two female dogs.

I learned this the hard way. I got Laila and Jenny, and Lili before them, because I prefer female shepherd dogs for smaller size, more even and loyal temperament, and prettier looks. But, never again will I get two female dogs.

It all started innocently enough when Laila was 2.5 years old and we got Jenny as a little puppy. Jenny was our little princess. She was a little upstart because she was half Belgian Malinois and that breed is known for being aggressive and needing to be number one. But since Laila was so much bigger and older, she was able to put Jenny down with no problem. We have never been able to feed them in the same room as Laila is food aggressive and we have always supported Laila as our alpha female.

Matters became more serious when Jenny turned 2 years old. Jenny made a serious play for dominance (read: they fought) and Laila gave Jenny a serious gash about 2 inches long that required stitches on her foreleg ($329). Our usually obedient dogs had turned into uncontrollable monsters overnight.

The veterinarian told us that some people had to give one dog away to solve this problem, but this was never an option for us. But then we spoke about our dog containment system. We use a radio fence that sends a beeping noise and a vibration to the dogs’ collars at a certain distance, and if they proceed, actually gives them a little (or not so little) electronic jolt. One of the options the system offers is a remote that the owner can use to modify a dog’s behavior. So, we bought one. Now, when I took them outside, I had the option of beeping Jenny or zapping her if she was bothering Laila. (Laila did not need to wear her collar any more as she was fully trained to stay in the yard and never would have bitten Jenny if not attacked.)

But, then I saw that Laila was taking advantage of Jenny’s being unable to come at her by pestering Jenny. So, I ended up putting collars on both of them.

However, Sean did not keep up with the program. He had both of the dogs out with him in the garage and they began to fight. Laila gave Jenny a gash on her abdomen near her flank and it was back to the vet for more stitches ($410). Oh well. At least that made him into a believer.

Time went by and all was peaceful. We were lulled by the peace and had stopped using the remote. Jenny mounted another attack and I was completely caught off guard, as was Laila. Laila lost that one and suffered a small gash on her foreleg. Back to the vet for more stitches (only $183!). Mind you, each time we go to the vet it costs us cash as the “losing” dog has to undergo anesthesia, receive antibiotics and then have the staples removed.

We went back to using the collars. By now the dogs are 7 and 5 years old. I would have thought that this entire struggle for dominance crap was over. But NO. I was wrong. I was on my way out to feed the koi; a very exciting time for the dogs. For some reason they got into it. I didn’t have the remote on me, just the friggin fish food, which I dropped. All you can really do is command the dogs to stop by saying, “No!” and pull on their tails to part them. But with only one person it is just an exercise in futility. That is just what I did. I tried to pull on the aggressor dog’s tail. Then that dog would fall down and the other dog would become the aggressor. I would run around to the other side and pull on that dog’s tail. Meanwhile I screamed for Sean’s help. But, we had just put up the storm windows and he was in the house watching a loud program on TV. I screamed at the top of my lungs to no avail. Ever have one of those dreams where something horrible is happening and you are screaming for help and no one can hear you? That is what it was like.

I thought the dogs were going to kill each other. Thank god they have thick fur around their necks because that is where they were biting at each other. Jenny would be on top of Laila worrying Laila’s throat, but only getting a mouthful of fur. I remember seeing Laila's snarling snout, her nose soaked in her own blood. Meanwhile I pulled on Jenny’s tail and managed to pull both dogs along the lawn, straining the muscles in my legs at the same time. They only stopped fighting when they were tired. I know I was exhausted.

Jenny had a puncture wound on her left lower foreleg, large canine hole outside, and small canine inside. Her face was smeared with Laila’s blood. Laila must have had a cut inside her nose, because it was bleeding fairly profusely from there, but she also had a deep scratch on top of her nose and a swollen left lower foreleg. Her nose stopped bleeding almost immediately. Five minutes later, we were all sitting in the office peacefully licking our wounds as if nothing had happened. At least we didn’t have to go to the vet again. My nerves were jangled to say the least.

Sean and I checked all of the batteries in the remote and collars and the dogs are wearing them today. This morning I had to beep them once. Guess I’m going to have to warm up to the idea of having a male dog in the future.


David said...

Gosh, why does this sound so familiar to me?

Sue said...

Yeah, I was wondering if it was the same way with cats. A vet would know. Thanks David.

Doug said...

Her innocent look just melts my heart. I'd so spoil her w/ chocolate if it wasn't deadly.

Sue said...

Ah, you must mean Jenny. Yup, she is our princess. But trust me, we spoil both of them just fine, Doug. BTW - Her knickname is little sh*t.

Ryan said...

i have 2 dogs and they r both girls but they both tiny. i so love your dogs they r so cute!

Sue said...

Ryan, guess your dogs are pretty easy to separate if they fight, huh? Thanks, I will tell my dogs that yo think they are cute.