• Michael D’Abruzzo

    July 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you for the great info. Really helps clarify. What you have is most likely a pecking order dispute – intensified by Moxie’s natural temperament.

    To understand the problem is the first step to making a way to a solution.

    Here are clues to what is going on:

    – Bubby will mark in house (sign that he is communicating top of pecking order – and that he believes the humans are either beneath his status or at the very least not interested in the dynamics of the dog pack.)

    – Bubby was always in charge of the interaction with Pacer during stable pack times (before moxie).

    – Bubby is a “humper” , again a sign of prefering to control social interaction.

    These are the things that will throw many people off when troubleshooting:

    Social dominance does not go hand in hand with aggression. As a matter of fact, the best pack leaders are very stabile and wouldn’t be described as aggressive. They are leaders because they are able to non-aggressively control the interaction and decisions of a pack. An aggressive pack leader would end up injuring and potentially killing its own pack members – which obviously makes over aggressiveness a bad trait for leadership.

    -Moxie can see the signs that Bubby is communicating he is on top of the pack. Even if Bubby avoids certain situations – the majority of Bubby’s subtle interactions most likely are communicating no recognition of Moxie as a pack leader. Bubby does not have to fight back or challenge Moxie in anyway to maintain his status. Simply ignoring him is enough.

    The attacks

    – Moxie is basically easily triggered to attacking Bubby because of his insecurity over status. Moxie’s natural temperamant make the triggers more than the average dog. This is due to non-selective breeding practicing of the cash crop puppy industry.

    – Bubby isn’t fighting back because he is a naturally non-aggressive dog which is seperate and not related to dominant personality type. Great fighting ability isn’t something I would think was encouraged in the original breeding of these companion dogs – which Bubby reflects.

    – Moxie is not attacking Pacer because he does not see Pacer as top dog. This is good because it shows that Moxie is selective and there is a reason for his behavior.

    – If left to settle this on their own, either Moxie would try to kill Bubby or force Bubby to contantly submit to the point that Bubby would leave the pack if there was the option (or possibly other way around if Bubby fought back). This is actually normal if they were wild canines, but what you are seeing is really the result of what I call “reverse domestication” where you will see behaviors that were originally supressed or lessened through selective breeding but also mixed up with other traits not in balance that can cause wild triggers or low inhibition not even normal within their wild counterparts.

    – I have seen this many times where a non-aggressive established “alpha” will repeatedly catch butt whoopings from a new beta, but because the established alpha refuses to acknowledge the beta, he/she will still get attacked for every little reason which can vary greatly depending on what is important or a trigger for the beta.

    With out suger coating anything I would say these are your options:

    Bubby and Moxie are a mismatch, therefore

    – The easiest last resort way: Rehome Moxie in a home that will maintain leadership and if they have another dog the best match would be a larger submissive female. But, that is not why you are here…

    – The more challenging way but possible to get improvement:

    We need to look at the pack relationship as you relate to the dogs very closely. Read over the pack structure section in the “self help” section with a magnifying glass. Even if you are doing so perfectly it will not fix anything, but it will be IMPOSSIBLE to move further if you don’t.

    Two things need to happen:

    – You need to deliver the same vibes to Moxie about leadership that Bubby does.

    – You need to deliver the same vibes to Bubby that Bubby delivers to Moxie.

    In a nutshell, Moxie can not fight over an “alpha” position if you demonstrate that Bubby doesn’t have it – you do and you want it.

    An important role of the leader is also peacemaker. A good pack leader does not allow their subordinates to kill eachother. But, in reality with a good base of pack structure you will see how little of this you have to do. Every time I have personally taken in dogs with problems like you describe into my program, I would never see the problems, even after a couple months. Mainly, because there was no question as to who was running the show.

    Peacemaker drills we can write about at another time, but what you are describing from moxie is mainly genetic and not normal behavior, better desrcibed as “hypernormal” behavior if that makes sense so you will have a harder time than normal working on this – in your particular pack dynamics specifically.

    I am willing to help in anyway I can if you stick with it.