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Neizvestnaya's avatar

Is it a good or bad idea to feed our pitbull separately? (see details)

Asked by Neizvestnaya (22622points) June 28th, 2010

3 dogs:
1 female pitbull
1 male chihuahua/minpin
1 male pomeranian
all 3 sterilized

I feed the dogs about a foot apart from each other but side by side and in a year have never seen the pit snarl at the chi-pin over food. This morning after the food was gone from their bowls then the chi-pin walked by the pit and she grabbed him by the head, flipped him over on his back and started biting his face and chest before I broke it up and got her to let him go. He didn’t get punctured anywhere but did get a cut over one of his eyes which could have just as easily been his eye. Anyhow.

I’m thinking of feeding the pit in the garage from now on in the hopes she won’t feel any pressure, intimidation (she’s not the dominant, the chi-pin is) or nervousness related to feeding time. Do you think this will work or do you think I’ll cause more problems by separation? I’m really afraid she will do this again and maybe to the pom’ too. I know she’s not intended to maul otherwise they’d both be goners but she is so much more powerful and hurts them out of sheer bite strength.

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23 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

I can’t see how separation can hurt.

CMaz's avatar

One of the first thing I have taught my dogs is to get along.



chyna's avatar

Separate them so you don’t have this problem again.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I also want them to work it out and accept they will all be expected to eat nicely together but… what to do when the normal behavior of dogs saying “enough is enough” or “get back in your place” to each other is off kilter due to one being at such an advantage? I’d like the pit to take the dominant position so she won’t feel it necessary to lash out like that (oxymoron?) but I also don’t want her to cause serious damage to the little ones. It boggles me how the chi-pin was allowed to become the boss in the first place. Grrr.

marinelife's avatar

Separate them for feeding. It will not cause any problems. Also, I would not leave them alone together if you are not at home since she has grabbed him once.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

She did nip him on the shoulder one time last year causing a tear and puncture. They’ve been together for about 5yrs and with my pom a few months, my bf says he’s never noticed her hurt him before.

CMaz's avatar

I don’t know how you can decide who will develop the alpha disposition in the pack.

It is something the dogs have to work out, and they do.Hopefully without killing one another. That being another issue all together.

Funny how the little dog always seems to be in charge. :-)

chyna's avatar

So she has grabbed him twice now. I would not leave them alone together either. I know you are probably thinking, but it’s only been twice in 5 years, but what if you came home to a critically mauled puppy? You would never forgive yourself or the pitbull. Pitbulls have the reputation for aggressive behavior for a reason. They were bred to fight, so the aggressiveness is in their genes, even if you have babied the dog its whole life.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@ChazMaz- I was watching Cesar Milan (Dog Whisperer man) and he suggested the largest/most powerful and oldest animal be given the dominant position, established by us human owners. I’m trying to learn how to be a pack leader and so far I suck.

@chyna- I know, I know and I’m afraid of what that might mean about keeping them all. My bf absolutely adores the chi-pin, he says it’s his “mini-me” (mini bf) and he would be devastated if the chi-pin was injured seriously. In the same vein, if my pom were seriously hurt then I think I’d ask for the pit’s removal even though she has the gentlest personality of them all (most of the time). This situation makes me feel afraid and like crap because I foresee us having to give her away through no real fault of her own. Me, I’d never had mixed a pit dog with small ones or non fighting breed dogs to begin with but they came with bf.

chyna's avatar

I’d hate for you to have to give any of them away. Is there a way to just keep them separated when you are away? Maybe use a baby gate to keep them in different rooms, but they could still hear each other and not be lonely.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

They share a small backyard and garage right now. For me to separate them would be awkward since the pit always wants to be with the chi-pin, she’s generally very protective of him and even whines if we bring her inside the house awhile, leaving the little ones outside. The little ones pee indoors and so all have been put to stay outside but I wonder how it would go if we made her a general inside dog with outside monitored privileges. Ugh.

chyna's avatar

This is harder than trying to blend 2 people with kids together! A blended dog family, haha.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Is it just at feeding time that she has bitten the other dog? I had two of the nicest golden retreivers, but the male snarled at the female when she got close to his food.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m kind of hoping it is just feeding time related so I can have success in feeding separately. When she bit him last year then we were at work so we don’t know what caused it but I have seen her snarl at him every once and awhile when she gets annoyed with his wanting to hump parts of her.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Major league red flags. If it was just feeding time I would trust them together a little more, but this sounds like a mauling waiting to happen. Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The temps where we live get into the 100’s which has made me very lazy to walk them outside at night and I’m very lazy to wake up early in the morning for dog walking but maybe this is what we need to do. Maybe the back yard isn’t enough to burn up any frustrations and pent up energy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think its energy related. I think the social order is out of whack. The throwing on his back thing concerns me, because that’s a dominant dog thing. The dogs might be able to work this out, but I’d be careful. The other option might be for you to really assert yourself as the alpha dog so the pecking order because less of an issue.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m going to try and be a better leader. When the little dogs get snitty with each other and fall into place it’s no big deal because they don’t tear or puncture skin but big dog has giant teeth. I want the big pit to be dominant because she tries to look out for the chi-pin anyway but her teeth are so big! They made up after he calmed down and stopped shaking, she came over right away when she sensed he was hurt. They sniffed and it was all good again but I want to really watch them during and after feedings now until they go their own ways.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Feeding them in the same room but in different corners may be sufficient, but an abundance of additional caution at feeding time will not cause any harm.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My bf just pointed out something I hadn’t considered changing until now. I usually the pom first since he’s the oldest and greediest (my doggie) and it keeps him from intruding into the other two dogs’ bowls but we’re going to try and start feeding the pit first then the pom and chi-pin. We’re also going to feed the two small dogs closer together and her farther away.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I have a pit and a papillion. My papillion is 5 lbs and is the alpha of the two. He will growl at my pit if she gets too close to the papillion’s toys or food. He’s tried to bite her a few times. Luckily he’s too small to do any harm to a 60 lb pitbull. But in your case, the pit is the one who is showing aggression with food. So I would definitely separate them during feedings and don’t leave them alone, unattended. I don’t think this calls for any drastic measures. There’s no need to kick your pit to the curb just yet. Many dogs have issues with food. Take care of this issue now before it becomes too big to handle.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wouldn’t consider removing the pit until we’ve tried every reasonable suggestion, no worries there. She’s the most gentle dog I’ve met yet and I’m a dog chicken. I used to be afraid to take a nap with her in the same room until one day when I was really cold and halfway asleep to move myself, she carefully came up onto the bed and rolled the length of her body against me and warmed me. I’ve had a sweet spot for her ever since.

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