Chelsea and Peaches are English Bull Terriers, aged two years and Peaches, on the right, one. They live with Angel, an elderly American Bull Dog.
There is an uneasy atmosphere. There is an unnatural stillness between all the dogs and the humans are on edge. Chelsea is fine if she’s not with Peaches, and it would be the same the other way around. Peaches is still a youngster and can be a bit annoying, but Chelsea is intolerant. Not only does she growl at Peaches, she growls at her humans when they move her and she growls at the children. She guards bones and she guards her crate. She even guards her place on the owner’s bed.
One dog will deliberately stand in a doorway – usually Peaches. Chelsea won’t have this so she too has to stand in the doorway. It’s now a stand-off about ownership of the doorway. This can only end one of two ways. Either Peaches will back down and move away, or there is a fight. Whether it’s a fight or not depends upon how aroused the dogs are.
If they are about to fly out of the door into the garden, Chelsea barking, it could well result in a fight. They may redirect their frustration onto each other if there is a noise outside or if they are not getting the attention they want.
Even Angel is less than tolerant, lying too still and watching the other dogs, growling at them if they go somewhere she doesn’t want them to be, and maybe snapping if they are near.
The family have been doing all they can to train their dogs, but the final straw was when they attacked two Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the park. The owners have gone down the ‘training’ and ‘discipline’ route. I believe de-stressing and calm, quiet leadership is what is needed.
A lot of the problems start with Peaches, but only develop because of Chelsea’s intolerance and belief she is in charge. She needs to be less defensive and more easy-going, and Peaches needs to learn to give her space. Both dogs are extremely stressed by one another.
The humans now know how to interrupt things as soon as they start to brew, as well as emergency measures if they are too late or somewhere else, and a fight has already begun.