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We have 2 boxers, Riley (male 2 years) and a Layla (female 5 months), they have gotten along great from the beginning. On a few occassions Riley has given a little growl when he has had enough and Layla has always backed off which I thought was fine. Last night Layla was trying to get the biscuit out of Riley's mouth and he gave a little growl, Layla would normally back off, but last night she barked and snapped back- then it was over. About 3 hours later they where playing and I thought they were making their usual play noises but I looked over and Layla was on top of Riley and really growling. I think they might have just been playing rough because as soon as I got up they ran to the door to go out, but I was thinking what would I do if they began to fight. Has anyone ever had their dogs fight with each other? What did you do? How did you handle it?
 

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Abby and Brady always fight over rawhide bones and new toys...the first time, I FLIPPED OUT! I was so nervous, but my husband grew up with 2 dogs and knows that occassionally a tiff does occur and wasn't so worried. But we have pinpointed that that is all they fight over, so with rawhides, they are kept separate to enjoy or, if they are together, they are only allowed a BIG rawhide that they can both chew on at the same time.

We also have a system for introducing new toys to help in avoiding fights and we supervise BIG time until the excitement of the new toy has faded.

When there is a tiff, we separate and give them a time out for about 10 minutes. Abby is typically the instigator of the fight, but Brady used to just back off, lately he has started to fight back, so he gets his time out too. We do the time outs long enough that it has an impact, but not so long that they can't remember why they are being outed.  I know Abby knows she's in trouble bc normally, if she is crated for a few minutes for some reason and knows we are home, she cries and barks, but when she's in trouble, she does not make a PEEP! When we let her out, she gives me hugs. They go right back to tumbling around, no fighting, no grudges. Man...the difference between dogs and humans.
 

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Separate them but do NOT get your hands inbetween them!  We use water to separate ours.  THey don't like it and it surprises them enough to make them quit temporarily.  Ours only fight over bones (which we don't give them anymore) or attention.  Both of ours are attention hogs!

After they are separated, they get a time out.  Time for them to cool off and for us to get whatever has irritated them (toys, etc.) picked up.  After that, they are the best of friends.

Could be that Layla is asserting herself in the pack or Riley is letting her know what will be tolerated.  I understand that the older ones will let the younger ones get away with murder for awhile and then teach them what is acceptable and what is not.  Hard for me to tell since ours are only 6 mos apart.
 

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Abby is actually our younger one and she's the fight instigator! hahah! But she's also the bigger one and the female, so not as laid back about things. She was also the first one home with us, so I wonder if her "dominance" just occurred as the natural result of owning us first.

Water is a good idea...yelling is never heard by them during these tiffs. If you are desparate and there's no water on hand, slam a nearby door shut...sometimes have the same affect.  fortunately for us, Brady is small enough that we just scoop him up when he's in a good position.
 

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Only worry if the hair on their back is standing up.  Boxers are very vocal, it's the way they play.  You can definitely tell the difference between play talk and when they are threatened.
 

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An easy way to handle a dog fight:

If you are alone:
Throw a blanket over one of the dogs...the pup would be easier for you.  Make sure the blanket goes over her head, so SHE CAN'T SEE!!!  This is important.  If a dog can't see they are less likely to fight.  Use the blanket to pull the dog back.  Once they are seperated (DO NOT REMOVE BLANKET UNTIL THEY ARE CLEAR OF EACH OTHERS LINE OF VISION) put the caught pup in another room, after giving a FIRM NO!!!! command, to calm down.  Then go back in and do the same with the other dog.  

If you have someone with you:
Throw a blanket over each dog, make sure the blankets are over the dogs' head so they can't see. use the blanket to pull each dog back and in opposite directions.  Once seperated put them in different rooms, after giving a FIRM NO!!!!!!! command.  DO NOT REMOVE THE BLANKETS UNTIL THEY ARE COMPLETELY CLEAR OF EACH OTHERS LINE OF VISION!!!

Essentially this is a doggy timeout.  It expresses to them that their behavior is unacceptable to you.

Liz and Lilly
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice! I feel better, I figured it was normal I was just scared it might escalate. The idea with the water would defintely work well with them we used that to stop them from jumping.
 

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The only problem with water is that it won't necessarily stop the fight...It may just anger them more...

I honestly think you have a case of two boxers engaging in normal play between puppy and semi adult.

Don't worry about it too much...

Good luck...

Liz and Lilly
 

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Zeus and Dante  fight over toys and bones and food so we have to seperate the both of them. Dante used to pick fights with Zeus and he would always back down because Dante is bigger and stronger. But now tables have turned and a couple of months ago the boys got into a real fight trying to kill eachother so what did i do, i didnt want either one of them to get hurt so i finally pulled Zeus away and he knew i wouldnt let Dante kill him so he lunged back after they were seperated. And they were back in the living room ring again. That time i tried doing the same thing and they moved so fast that i lost my balance and Zeus bit me right on the back but thats because i fell into it. He realized i wasnt Dante and he backed off and looked ashamed. It hurt really bad and believe me i let out a scream but he didnt bite me as hard as he could because if he did would have had a chunk out of my back but it was just two puncture wounds that did break the skin. So i put them in time out and now when i see them getting into defense mode i seperate them or distract them with me talking to them. But they get noisy when they play though.
 

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Buck & Tia got into a couple pretty bad fights and I had to separate them ( I know, big mistake)...That only happened a couple times and it usually was a play session that got out of control...Samson & Angel haven't gotten into a fight like that, but I know now what to do....

Boxers do get vocal and unless you see that hair standing up, I really wouldn't worry too much..It very well could be that each is trying to establish dominance over the other....
 

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When we had three at Calli, Teaki and Berkeley they were fine over anything but rawhides and the UPS man (he loved to ring our doorbell).  They NEVER fought over food.  Calli was the oldest and the high ranking one and the others knew it, they didn't fight with her just each other.  Now with Ziggi he is the aggressor with food.  We are working very hard with him on that, he has started several fights with Teak and they were out for blood, usually both ended up with blood on them.  We separate them and give them time alone, they know what they did you can tell by the way they act.   After the time out they are back to being buddies most of the time....Teaki can hold a grudge for longer and lets Zig know that she isn't happy with him.

When Berkeley and Teaki got into it, it was nearly impossible to separate them and there was always blood.  After being separated for 30 minutes or so they were right back to being best buddies.  We knew what got them started so we watched out for the UPS man and kept their bones separate.  

They do make alot of noise when playing but you can usually tell when one has had enough because the growl changes and you need to step in and let them know to stop.  Firm NO usually works for ours.  They have never once went after us while trying to separate them but if we got in the way of them trying to bite the other dog I am sure they would on accident get us.
 
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