When You Have Two Dogs That Fight, Which One Do You Give Away?

When You Have Two Dogs That Fight, Which One Do You Give Away? – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
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Sometimes two dogs in the home fight. Sometimes the fighting is so bad that a dog is going to be seriously injured or killed, or someone in the home might be seriously injured or killed. What do you do? How do you decide which dog to keep?

Dog aggression is one of the main reasons people euthanize or give away their dogs to rescue shelters. It is a serious problem, legally and morally. And so, you are compelled to do something about it.

The first question I’d ask is whether both dogs are medically well. That has to be eliminated first before you take any further steps. Dogs that aren’t medically well are prone to be more aggressive. You have to get an in depth examination from a high quality veterinarian before you make any decisions, pay to treat anything the vet finds, and then see if the dogs are getting along. Once that is done, then…

You need to recognize you are not qualified to do this yourself. You need to hire a professional dog behaviorist. A pet store trainer won’t suffice. An electric collar guy won’t suffice. A clicker trainer won’t suffice. You need a behaviorist. And then pay for the advice and do what they recommend.

But, let’s say that you’ve done all of that, and the dogs still want to kill one another. Now you are at the point where you need to decide which dog to keep. Here’s what to do:

1.) Start All Over Again: You should treat this as if you were shopping for a new dog. Are you the type of person that should own a dog? Not everyone should own a dog. They don’t have the time, money, resources, or love to even own a dog. If the home life isn’t right, then it really doesn’t matter whether you keep the dogs or not, the remaining dogs are miserable. I worked with a couple that had dogs that were fighting. The medical bills were in the thousands, and almost cost one of the dogs his life. They asked me what they should do. After discussing their situation, it was clear that they shouldn’t even own a dog. The dog fights were directly because of neglect. These dogs were too isolated, no exercise, miserable, and too frustrated. I recommended new homes for their dogs. It was the right thing to do. However, if that ISN’T YOU,  and you are in a good situation to own a dog, then…

2.) Ask Yourself: Is This The Right Dog For You? Sometimes people get certain breeds for all the wrong reasons. Then they get a dog they can’t handle. Or they get a dog and don’t properly supervise, socialize, exercise, contain or train the dog. Even the right dog is going to become neurotic if you don’t manage them properly. Neurotic dogs become a danger to other dogs… and sometimes to the people in the home. I don’t want you to freak out, however. Let a professional tell you their opinion on this. Don’t just make a quick decision and condemn yourself.

3.) Are You Ready, Willing And Able To Properly Manage The Dogs? Most dog fighting situations I’ve evaluated have involved dogs with little to no dog training. That isn’t fair to any dog. It causes bad behavior, and can build up into dog fights.

4.) Did You Cause This? Dogs that fight have sometimes been encouraged to fight. Sometimes they have been allowed to get in numerous fights at dog parks. Sometimes they are put in situations where the dogs are so miserable that they get more and more aggressive. This is something to discuss with your behaviorist. Even if you got new dogs, if you created this in the current dogs, you’ll create the same situation with the next dogs… unless you learn and practice new skills.

5.) Which Dog? You have three choices here. You could keep the dog that best suits you and your lifestyle. That’s what you would do if you were starting out all over again. Or, maybe the other dog is not adoptable. If you gave that dog away, it would be put to death by rescue or a shelter. So, you keep that dog out of love and kindness, for the sake of that dog and to protect the other dog from harm. If you do decide to give away a dog, then you MUST work through a no-kill shelter or with a reputable rescue organization. Regular shelters will kill between 25% to 100% dogs not adopted EACH WEEK. Your dog doesn’t deserve that kind of fate. Even if you have to drive to another state, that would be preferable to giving your dog to a place that will kill your dog. Some shelters also regularly kill certain breeds, even if the dog is just fine. You should NOT try to sell or give the dog away yourself. There are numerous criminals that will scam you into taking your dog, then using your dog as bait for dog fighting operations. Your dog will be just a meat bag to be torn apart by other dogs. Yes, that is the reality. Sometimes the right decision is to keep both dogs, but keep them apart for the rest of their lives. That is a perfectly acceptable solution, too, if that is what you feel is best. I would NOT euthanize a healthy and normal dog just because it was getting in fights. I think that is morally wrong.

6.) In The Meantime: You need to keep the dogs apart. But, you already know that.

Deciding to part with a pet is very difficult, and can cause you to feel very depressed, upset, angry, and guilty. You’re going to need to take the high road, balancing what is best for your home and what is best for your dogs. You need to recognize that not all people get along, and not all dogs get along. Sometimes that is life.

I wouldn’t, however, make any snap decisions. I would do the veterinary exam. I would hire a good behaviorist. I’d do what they recommended first. They see a lot of things and can help you through this process, one way or another.

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