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Hiya, I have a 6 year old basset, rescued at 1yr old, and a rottie x mastiff, they've lived together for 5 years. Never had problems up until a few weeks ago. They've always eaten in the kitchen together, but the last few weeks Bert (basset) goes mental at chops (rottie) when he's finished to make sure he doesn't go near his bowl. Some days though they swap over so it's not consistent. He did have an ear infection when it began, but that's since cleared up and in all other aspects he appears fine and well. Booked in vets next week as I think a check up is worth it, but wondered if anyone had any ways of dealing with this or have encountered this before? Thanks, Jo


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The ONLY answer with this, and yes it could be that the ear infection was making him grouchy, is to feed them in separate places and don't let them back together until both have finished and you've picked up the bowls. With our now just two, one (Basset) eats in the kitchen and the other (Whippet) in the living room. He usually finishes first but they don't get to be back together, until I've picked up. And there's NO swapping allowed. When we had numbers, they all had their spot where their bowls went down, and I had to put them down in the same order, calling each name, and in the same place or there'd have been CHAOS. And as we started having oldies, I had to be right there so the younger faster eaters didn't have any chance of piling into what the older shower eaters had.


I end the meals with a biscuit treat so they tend(ed) to stay by their bowls before I pick up, focusing on the treat to come, not on their bowls!!


A vet trip for a checkup might be a good idea.
 

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"Feed them in separate places and don't let them back together until both have finished and you've picked up the bowls. "

could not agree more!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We took their bowls away this morning and separated them whilst having breakfast but Bert waited for chops and got his back up and made a bee line for him when they went to go outside. The rest of the day and tea time are fine. I don't understand why it's just at breakfast.

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We took their bowls away this morning and separated them whilst having breakfast but Bert waited for chops and got his back up and made a bee line for him when they went to go outside. The rest of the day and tea time are fine. I don't understand why it's just at breakfast.

Improvement may not happen immediately. Your Basset need to understand that his current behaviour will not be tolerated! I don't know why this is only happening with breakfast, other than maybe this is when he has max.energy levels. And thinking about why suddenly, could it be that your Basset senses something wrong with your other dog and is pushing the boundaries?


I hope you don't free-feed!! My best advice is watch the body language - anticipate/prevent/avoid. And maybe let Bert out ahead of Chops if this is about going outside now?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What's free feed? I've booked him in at the vets for tomorrow morning so I'm hoping he's ok physically. I'll keep going with the seperatating at meal times and getting Bert out first then chops. They're currently snuggled up together! Thank you for helping

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What's free feed?

Free feeding is rather than having set mealtimes, leaving food out all day. Not anything I'd ever do even if possible with numbers. Unlike cats, who snack, dogs do far better having set mealtimes (even if, as with mine, they will anticipate their next mealtime!!).


If they are snuggled together, this clearly is food-resource guarding so again, you'll have to monitor what goes on when food is around. Being a pack animal, quite often Bassets resource guard - in the pack they will defend dwhat they see as their's from their resting places, to food, or anything else 'of value' to them. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ah no we don't do that, they have set meal times and eat it then it's gone and the bowls are cleaned out.
Thank you again for your help, fingers crossed we can get to the bottom of it.

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Did anything happen between them before Bert started acting out? Bassets have long memories and he may be still upset about it.
 

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Nope, they're always like the best of friends. Berts a particular sort anyway because we rescued him at 1yr so he has his quirks, doesn't like people unless he knows them, But he's never been out of character with chops.

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Beautiful babies my dog does the same thing with her treats. I think it's just an age thing. She's 9 and rotten.

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*update*
So we went to the vets yesterday. Ear infection has definately cleared up, but he has a sore point on his back. It looks like a pulled muscle, so painkillers for a week and then back if no improvement. The aggression has been explained by the vets as because his food is the only thing that's his (he shares house, parents, sofa etc) he is being dominant over it. She said once he's not in pain anymore we shouldn't have a problem. Going to carry on with seperate feeding anyway because it gives him that security the rottie isn't going to steal it. Thank you for all help given, I really do appreciate having someone to talk to about it x

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*update*
So we went to the vets yesterday. Ear infection has definately cleared up, but he has a sore point on his back. It looks like a pulled muscle, so painkillers for a week and then back if no improvement. The aggression has been explained by the vets as because his food is the only thing that's his (he shares house, parents, sofa etc) he is being dominant over it. She said once he's not in pain anymore we shouldn't have a problem. Going to carry on with seperate feeding anyway because it gives him that security the rottie isn't going to steal it. Thank you for all help given, I really do appreciate having someone to talk to about it x

Glad you've found something that might be causing all this, all of a sudden and I hope the pain relief helps. Crate (or other confine) rest is essential btw.


Incidentally unless vets have first-hand experience with BASSETS, I tend not to take what they say as necessarily accurate. As said, the Basset is a pack animal and within a pack situation (or even just one other dog around) he may well resource guard. So stick with the separate feeding - even beyond this pain situation, would be my recommendation.
 

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his food is the only thing that's his (he shares house, parents, sofa etc) he is being dominant over it."
Answers like this is why it is never a good idea to get behavior advice from a vet nes specifically trained in behavior issues most are not. Resource guarding is not about dominance it is a Normal Adaptive Behavior that is self reinforcing. A dog that can not retain control of a resource in the wild will not survive. Because it is normal does not make it acceptable. and there are somethings you can do to reduce it management being key to prevent the dog from continually practicing and being reward by this self rewarding behavior, If you want a resource on dealing with this behavior I highly recommend https://www.amazon.com/Mine-Pratical-Guide-Resource-Guarding-ebook/dp/B06Y2GXSX3.


some other helpful links

https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

https://nonlineardogs.com/analytical-papers/social-organization-domesticated-dog/
"The theory that a hierarchy based on dominance relationships is the organizing principle in social groups of the sort canis lupus is a human projection that needs replacing. Furthermore, the model has unjustifiably been transferred from its original place in the discussion of the behavior of wolves to the discussion of the behavior of domestic dogs (canis familiaris). This paper presents a new, more adequate model of how familiaris organizes itself when in groups. This paper is based on a longitudinal study of a permanent group of five randomly acquired dogs living in their natural habitat, as they interact with each other within the group, with newcomers of various species who joined the group, and with fleetingly met individuals of various species in their outside environment. This study shows that the existence of the phenomenon “dominance” is questionable, but that in any case “dominance” does not operate as a principle in the social organization of domestic dogs. Dominance hierarchies do not exist and are in fact impossible to construct without entering the realm of human projection and fantasy. The hypotheses were tested by repeatedly starting systems at chaos and observing whether the model predicted the evolution of each new system. The study shows that domestic canine social groups must be viewed as complex autopoietic systems, whose primary systemic behavior is to gravitate as quickly as possible to a stable division of the fitness landscape so that each animal present is sitting on a fitness hill unchallenged by other group members. Aggression is not used in the division of the fitness landscape. It is not possible for an observer to measure the height of respective hills. There is no hierarchy between or among the animals. The organization of the system is based on binary relationships, which are converted by the agents as quickly as possible from competitive to complementary or cooperative binaries, through the creation of domains of consensus. "

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pets-and-their-people/201603/dominance-in-dogs-again
" in our new paper we reaffirm that dominance is, of course, a well-established concept in academic ethology for extracting underlying social structure from observations of the interactions between the members of any group of animals. We see no reason whatsoever why it should not be used to probe how packs of free-ranging dogs are organised.

However, we and many authors before us have counselled against the presumption that simply because a hierarchical structure can be measured in a group of animals, that the animals themselves are aware of that structure, or are striving to achieve “dominance” within it. Mindless robots with slightly different software or physical characteristics will form measureable “hierarchies” if allowed to interact repeatedly

So, do dogs “think about” dominance? Are they even capable of “thinking about” their position in the hierarchy? The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of research into the dog’s mind, but have failed to demonstrate that dogs possess “theory of mind” – they seem to have little concept that other dogs – or humans – are capable of independent thought. Rather, the consensus is emerging that if dogs are capable of “thinking about thinking”, they don’t do it in the same way that we do. They are, however, adept at fooling us that they think more than they actually do, because they are such exquisite readers of human behaviour

It is indeed possible that the carnivore brain is constructed in such a way as to preclude any appreciation of intentionality. Kay Holekamp’s laboratory at Michigan State University has concluded that spotted hyenas, the most socially complex of all the Carnivora (far more adept than the wolf), construct their outwardly sophisticated cultures by means of simple associative learning. "
 

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another area that those not total immersed in dog behavior understand is conflict resolution, https://thebark.com/content/dogs-use-non-aggressive-fighting-resolve-conflicts

Some dog interactions clearly qualify as aggressive — for example, a dog with a history of initiating unprovoked attacks and inflicting damaging bites is clearly aggressive, and letting her interact with other dogs is dangerous. No one would disagree about this. However, what about cases where teeth are f lashing, spit is flying and the growling is deafening, but in the end, neither dog is the worse for wear? This is a gray area that is so very interesting precisely because it’s often not clear-cut. Are these instances of aggression?

The answer depends upon whom you ask. Even among behavioral scientists, the term “aggression” can have so many meanings that, in effect, it has lost its meaning. For example, behaviorists might use the word “aggressive” not only to describe a dog who has killed another dog but also to describe a dog who growls or snarls at a dog who is trying to take his bone. The motivations and emotions are clearly very different in these two examples. In the first case, the dog intended to do harm and did, but in the second case, the dog was likely just communicating his displeasure. Using the same word to describe two completely different scenarios can affect how we think about and respond to a wide variety of dog-dog interactions.

Perhaps a more useful term to describe growling at a potential bone thief or the interaction between Denny and Meadow is “agonistic behavior.” Ethologists, who often use this term when studying nonhuman animals, define agonistic behaviors as those that occur between individuals of a particular species in conf lict situations. Examples of agonistic behaviors in dogs include threats like muzzle-puckering and growling; submissive behaviors like crouching, lowering the head and tucking the tail; offensive behaviors like lunging and snapping; defensive behaviors like retracting the commissure (lips) while showing the teeth; and attacking behaviors like biting. With the exception of biting that results in punctures or tears, none of these behaviors necessarily indicates intent to do harm. They simply reveal emotion (e.g., anger or fear), communicate intention (e.g., to maintain control of a resource or to avoid an interaction) or function as a normal part of play fighting (e.g., growling, snapping or inhibited biting). To determine if an interaction meets the criteria for “agonistic behavior,” an observer must focus on an objective description of the communicative patterns displayed rather than automatically jumping to judgments associated with the use of the term “aggression.”

If signals such as bared teeth and growling are not typically preludes to fighting, why do they exist? Paradoxically, such behaviors are usually about how to avoid fighting. To understand this contention, we need to understand wolves — or, for that matter, our own evolutionary history. Wolves, like our human ancestors, live in family-based groups whose members cooperate to hunt, defend resources and rear young. At the same time, as we know all too well, family members quarrel.

We negotiate and move beyond such conflicts with phrases like, “Don’t do that,” “Hey, that’s mine!” “Leave me alone!” or “I’m sorry.” Wolves (and many other social animals) convey similar meanings with a varied repertoire of gestures, postures, facial expressions and sounds, including those mentioned earlier as examples of agonistic behavior. Precisely because they employ such signals, wolves can resolve conflicts without hurting each other. This is an important consideration, because serious wounds in any adult can reduce a pack’s viability as a cooperative unit. Fortunately, dogs, as descendants of wolves, have retained many of these behaviors as well as the motivation — most of the time — to avoid dangerous fights. (A recent study* reported that none of 127 agonistic interactions observed at a dog park resulted in injury.)"
 
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