Aggressive Ridgeback/Lab Mix
by George J.
(St Leonard, MD)
So I got two dogs within weeks of each other from 2 different agencies. The Ridgeback/Lab mix was approx 6 months old when we adopted him, he was a surrender with another mix to a rescue group. My other dog is a purebred Johnson American Bulldog (Jade-- She's 3). She was a rescue from the local animal shelter.
Semper (Ridgeback/Lab) has always been laid back with his humans, he is great with my 2 older kids. He is great with cats and used to be good with dogs.
Then he hit maturity (about 2 years old now) as well as a new baby into the family. We also tried to foster another dog which turned to be aggressive and we had to rehome to an agency that specializes in aggressive dogs (was snapping at kids and trying to kill all the neighborhood dogs).
Recently it's gotten worse. Semper has never really been food driven or aggressive, the only thing I have found that caused issues was chew toys (i.e. rawhide bones) he would get protective of those and a fight would ensue, so naturally, we removed these triggers from the house.
Jade is mildly cat aggressive, never aggressive to other dogs unless provoked (normal) and is protective of all three kids. When we come back from the store or what have you, she first checks the baby before checking us!
It used to be the occasional growling fur raising match between the two for dominance, usually over the bones. Recently its been over the food bowl. (Jade likes to lick the bowls well after the food has been eaten an Semper has walked away)
Now, Semper will whine and growl at other dogs, he will growl at the 9 month old and today alone he's instigated 4 fights with Jade. Jade always wins the fights being she's 50 lbs heavier, but she never draws blood (despite I am sure she could) but now she sports several small scars from Semper getting her.
The fights are now endangering the baby, the almost started a fight right over top of the baby, for a toy shaped like a bone.
We've tried removing bones, we tried seperation, we tried shock collars on vibrate and high pitched tones (that worked for a brief while). But once the fight the only thing I can do is try to separate them, which of course is a risk for me as well.
We don't really want to get rid of Semper, but this behavior has caused us so much alarm that we need to do something.
If anyone has information or help, PLEASE let me know. I know he won't go to a kill shelter (thankfully) but it's still mean (in my eyes) to rehome him.