My oldest dog, Joy, is a spayed female, estimated to be close to seven years old. I've had her for four years, and she quickly established herself as the guardian of the house. I guess you might say she's the alpha dog.
Joy is an adopted dog from a pet rescue group, so I'm not really sure of her background. I know she doesn't like uniforms or people on bicycles. So beware, bike cops.
Kali is my two-year-old Borgi (border collie-corgi mix) whom I've had since she was 10 weeks old. She is also spayed.
I was afraid when Kali was a puppy that Joy would kill her. However, they learned to get along well. Even though they play and bite at each other in their game playing, they never make an attempt to hurt one another.
However, the problems started happening just recently. I used to be able feed them close together and neither would bother the other's food. Now Joy eats her food and then tries to take away Kali's food.
Since I'm a vegetarian, my poor dogs get little real meat except what's in their dog food. One day last week, I decided to bring them home a treat – a real hot dog. I divided it evenly, cut each half into smaller pieces and gave them to both dogs.
In the past, similar feedings have caused no problems. However, this time, Joy attacked Kali. Instead of Kali cringing away, as in the past, she fought back. They went at it for several minutes, growling and gnashing. I though they might kill each other. Worse, I didn't know how to get them apart without getting bitten myself.
I was finally able to pull Joy back and pick her up. By that time, she was so worn out from fighting that she was panting like crazy. I was afraid she might have a stroke or something.
Despite all the fracas, the worst damage I could find on either dog were some minor injuries to their ear flaps. Both seem sort of in shock, and Kali spent the rest of the day trying to hide and avoid Joy.
Since that fight, I'm being very careful to feed the dogs in separate rooms.
Since I'm not a dog psychologist, I can only make some guesses about what is happening.
My best guess is that since Kail is now an adult dog and a little more assertive, Joy feels her alpha dog status is threatened. She is choosing feeding as a time to demonstrate this top dog status. She has always been very protective of her food. My best guess is that she was once a dog on the street and had to fight for her food. She doesn't even like other dogs getting near her when she's drinking water.
So if there's any dog psychologists out there who would like to offer some free advice, I'm all ears. In the meantime, all seems to be OK if I keep their feedings separated.
I know there's bigger problems in the world than two dogs fighting, but I sometimes wonder if there's really any difference between people fights and dog fights.
Jones is a reporter for the Times-Georgian.