2 household fighting dogs...
Olive & Roscoe -
How did we do it? How are they not fighting and off muzzles? Why are they able to coexist now?
We'll say it over and over again: Structure, permission-based training, no unearned petting, no unearned toys, no unearned bones, treats, no entitlements, no free roaming AND the big one: ACCOUNTABILITY. All of the privileges listed above HAVE to be earned by the dogs (and will continue to moving forward). Can they share a toy? No. Can they share a bowl? No. Can they share a bone? some dogs can, but Olive and Roscoe can't. If we allow them to, we're setting them up to fail. Valuable items can be given when they're in their individual crates. Most dogs don't like to 'share'. They're not humans, they're dogs.
They both have to:
-Wait at threshold/front door/crate door until release by human - if they break, they get a correction and we bring them back behind threshold.
-Walk in a proper heel position when on walks - if they pull, bark, lunge - a consequence is applied.
-Sit-stay until released (if the dogs break command, they get a correction and brought back to a sit)
-Down stay until released (same as above)
-Place in the home until released (same as above)
-We've hand fed both of them for the most part but when we let them eat out of a bowl, they have to wait for us to put the bowl down, give eye contact and then we say 'yes' and release for them to eat
When we got Olive and Roscoe in the first two weeks-
We worked each dog individually first. We taught each dogs the rules of the house, our boundaries and the biggest thing that changed these dogs' state of mind is how we can hold them accountable when they act shitty while every thing is permission-based (which lets the dog know that the humans have things under control, which then leads to trust for us to help them out).
Also, these two dogs, they are the complete opposite of one another.
Olive- she's very wary of her space when it comes to other dogs and it takes her time to trust another dog. That is OKAY! She's not the social type, she tends to growl when they come too close to her personal space because she is uncomfortable. (it's communication, not aggression) We just have to respect that and ADVOCATE for her by moving the other dog away if they do not understand why she is growling. IF no one helps her out, she will take action on her own by...well, biting. She has a pretty low pressure threshold, we're very aware of that and it's our job as their leader to remove the other dog. Not only that she is extremely fearful of the world. We believe it could be lack of exposure so we are working really hard on building confidence with her. That's just a little about Olive..
Roscoe- he's an insecure dog, also high energy and his mind goes from 0-100 in seconds, especially when food is around or when he sees another dog. We believe he was invading Olive's space too much and had no spacial respect for Olive. She could not handle that much pressure and that's where things went wrong.
It's all just excitability, not aggression and no one's just ever told him to knock it off. Incase you weren't aware, Too much excitement can quickly turn into aggression. That's why we always work on keeping dog's in a calm state of mind, as they make better choices. Roscoe was also known to chase shadows and attack Olive over it..We've done several test with shadows with him and he just doesnt' care for them. He has better things to do now, which is to pay attention to the handler & work for things he wants.
When dog's minds aren't stimulated- they will find their own ways of keeping themselves busy..We believe this is what was going on with Roscoe before he came to training. His mind is always being worked here and we just haven't seen any shadow chasing nor any guarding. He's actually doing really well and has learned that calm is the 'default' state of mind.
Olive is also doing well, she just minds her own business- she does tend to be a little too clingy with humans so when she invades OUR space, we move her away from us. If the other dogs get too close to her, we help her out by either, moving the other dogs away, or we recall them away from her.
Olive and Roscoe just don't have any reasons to fight anymore. Both dogs are treated equally, no one is loved more than the other. They both have to earn things they want. They get the same rules. Neither dog have any entitlements anymore. We're being fair, fun, consistent but always share consequences when most needed. That's how we gained their trust. That's how we got where we got with them. It's not magic, it's just work, supervision, management and leadership skills. Everyone can do it.