Strange dog aggression

Posted by LynD
Oct 4, 2014
We have 3 dogs - 15yo female lab, 4yo female lab/whippet, 2yo male mastiff/Shepard
Issue is the 4yo gets aggressive and attacks if either of the others shows "weakness" - by which I mean. Pain - gagging, vomiting, any kind of yelp of pain.
The 4yo seems to snap and latch onto the top of the other dogs neck and do a violent shake. It's next to impossible to get her to release. When we do and we separate them everyone calms down and in a matter of a few minutes everyone is back to normal.
We no longer let the 4 yo wander freely (she is leashed to me, crated or outside off leash fully supervised).
Has anyone ever heard of this? I haven't met anyone who can explain this behavior. Hoping with better (much better than current) training she will be better able to cope with this situation.
Any comments appreciated. Thanks
Posted by Preethi KOP
Oct 8, 2014
Hi Lyn,

Thank you for writing in to us.

I have thought long and hard about the situation with your dogs and I must admit it is the first time I am coming across one like this.

Based on the information you have given me, I hypothesize that the incidents are linked with primal instinct. When it comes to pack hierarchy in the wild, the dynamics alter when an individual gets sick or injured. I suspect that something similar is occurring here. I unfortunately do not believe that training will 'cure' her completely of this instinct, it is too hard wired into some dogs. It may, however, help in terms of getting her to listen to your command when a situation does arise. So I encourage to continue with it and maybe even consider taking her through alpha training as well. I do recommend that you do not let your guard down and never leave them unsupervised when let loose.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to write back if you have any other comments or questions.

Best wishes,