I'll apologize in advance, because this is a long story. About 3 weeks ago, I broke my leg. I am the alpha in my house. I won't be able to put any weight on my leg for another 6 -7 weeks, and spend most of my time, sitting around with my leg propped up to prevent pain and severe swelling. My husband, Joe, has taken over most of the care of the dogs, feeding, etc. He is viewed as their playmate, more so than an authority figure in their lives. The dogs all love him, but it is a much different relationship from what I have with the dogs. If he is calling them, many times he will give up and have me do it. They don't listen to him. I have a 4 year old male, castrated, Tibetan Mastiff, Cody. Cody is my alpha. I also have 3 other dogs, a 2.5 year old castrated pyr, Jake, 2.5 year old, intact, male Irish Wolfhound, Max and a 2 year old, spayed, Caucasian Ovcharka, ChiChi. I got Max as a 5 month old puppy, from a breeder, 2 years ago last month. In February, of the following year I got Cody through the breed rescue. In June of that same year, I got Jake, through his breed rescue. We had a big happy family for a little over a year. In May of this year, we got ChiChi from her breed rescue. About a week and a half ago, fights started, between Max and Jake. There have been minor skirmishes in the past, but nothing serious. I don't break up fights. The dogs all outweigh me and I don't want to get hurt. If Cody is around, he breaks it up, if not, they fight it out. The only serious fight Max and Jake had, Jake won, clearly. Max was done and simply standing with his head down, panting and shaking. He had done all he could and after some warning growls from Jake, Jake walked away and they were back to playing and hanging out together the following day.
These current fights, I originally thought were about jealousy. Jake would be standing next to someone, getting petted and Max would jump him. They only happen when my hubby or my grown sons are here, never when I'm home alone. If I see it coming, I can yell or lob something at Max and he will turn around and leave it be. After Max starts a fight and they get physically separated, they had been okay with each other, for a few days and it would happen again. Christmas Eve, Max jumped Jake when Jake was standing next to my grown son. He and his wife separated them, put them in separate rooms for a little while. When they came back together, they were okay. Later that same day, Jake jumped Max, no warning. My son and daughter in law again separated them. We put them back together later and they were fine. We separated them again to go to church for midnight mass. When we got home, we let them back together and they were fine. Joe was walking into the bedroom, Jake was walking beside him, Max jumped Jake. Joe got them apart but his hand slipped off Jake's collar and into Max's mouth. Max just held his hand and didn't bite it. Jake lunged and bit Max in the chest. Max bit down on Joe's hand. My son drug Jake off Max. When we got them apart, Max had a gaping wound in his chest. Joe took him to the Vet ER and he ended up in surgery to repair the lacerations in his chest. He has 3 separate drains, numerous stitches, etc. When Joe brought Max home, Jake hit the french door growling, trying to get to Max. We have been keeping them apart since this happened. This morning, Joe went to let Cody and Jake out, they spent the night in the sunroom, and Jake had urinated and crapped all over the floor. When Joe tried to get Jake to go out, he went under the table and growled and snarled at Joe, refusing to come out. Joe reached under the table and pulled Jake out, by his collar. Jake screamed like he was dying. Joe was not hurting him. Once Jake was outside, he was just fine. When Joe let him back onto the deck, Jake started in the house. Cody was standing on the deck, with his head in the wind, facing away from Jake. Jake turned and jumped Cody. Cody grabbed him by the throat and slammed him to the deck. As soon as Jake whimpered, Cody let him go. They have been together for the rest of the day and there is no problem. None of my dogs have ever challenged Cody, other than ChiChi. He slams her, holds her til she submits and everything is fine. He is not a vicious dog, but he does keep order well. He has not been present during most of these fights. The one he was there for, Jake had started it, Cody nailed Jake and the fight effectively stopped.
I don't know if this is going to get better, or hopefully end, when I am back on my feet and things are back to normal. I'm not sure which way to go at this point.
Now for history on Jake. When I got him from rescue, he had severe separation anxiety. He trashed my house, pulling down curtains, turning over furniture, using the bathroom on the carpet, wood flooring, etc. everytime we left the house. We tried crating him, but he gets frantic, throwing himself against the sides of the crate, etc. We finally blocked the shelves, over the half wall, into the dining room, put up taller gates, etc., so he cannot get out of the kitchen and he has settled down. Now, when we leave, he might bark once or twice, but he quickly settles down and he is fine. He also had severe noise phobias. We have worked through desensitizing him and he is now fine with thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. No more panting, whining, nothing. He is still very aggressive towards small dogs, any dog that growls or barks at him, etc. I keep him on a short leash, attached to a prong collar, when we go out in public. That enables me to control him and his regular collar allows me to lift his front end off the floor, when he goes after another dog.
I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions that anyone has to work with this problem.