If you have sibling rivalry going on amongst your dogs, you need to understand how you are creating that problem.
What’s Your Role?
Maybe it’s time to take a look at why your dogs have taken to fighting each other.
As you think about your relationship with your dogs, see if you can recognize any of the following that could be evidence of your own sibling rivalry.
Competition for your attention: Have you noticed that when you are petting one dog, the other comes over and splits the two of you apart?
Fighting over who’s the boss: Usually two housemates of the same sex trying to exert their dominance over the other by controlling valuable assets like food, space, toys or your love and affection.
They will often times get into a fight exiting the back door when being let out to the yard to play or potty.
An initial poor introduction to each other: When you got the second dog, did you properly introduce them on neutral ground to optimize their success?
One dog having established territory and resenting the other as an intruder
Redirected Aggression: Do your dogs really want to attack the mailman or the dog next door? Not being able to get at their primary target to release this aggression often times causes them to turn on each other in frustration.
Remember, your dogs are pursuing aggression, not because they are not “nice”, but because aggression is:
- Working for them to get them something they think they need i.e. access to resources (food, space, articles of play and attention from you), status etc.
- Working to keep someone or something away they desperately want kept away i.e. a housemate who would otherwise strike first
THE ACTIONABLE STEPS
1. Redefine your relationship with your dogs
Discover what have you and/or your family been or NOT been doing that may be contributing factors to your dogs fighting?
Learn how to build a healthier relationship with your dogs by establishing better rules, boundaries and expectations. This will provide you with a stronger framework with which to begin working on your dog fighting problem.
It’s going to be very important to examine your own relationship with your dogs. Have you been providing your dogs with these?
- Rules to follow
- Boundaries to respect and,
- Expectations of what to do and when to do it?
Are you aware that all dog behavior problems are usually stress related? What’s causing stress in your dogs?
- Not enough or no consistent and predictable structure in your home?
- Not providing your dogs with enough structured walks for exercise?
- Too much doting?
Any one of these or other reasons can be causing stress in your dogs which in turn contributes to the fighting.
Know that maintaining a healthy relationship is critical for long term success in keeping stress to a minimum and keeping peace in the pack. The rules you establish today must be reinforced tomorrow.
Before you begin to work on resolving the issues between your dogs, fix the relationship between you and your dogs.
2. Strengthen your dog’s obedience commands
Receiving a fast response to obedience commands from your dogs – especially in the presence of each other is critical to the success of your program. Responding to your commands gives your dogs a sense of working for you rather than you following their lead.
Do you know how to be successful here?
Clear expectations by your dogs, of what to do and when to do it (obedience training) will begin to foster more pleasant experiences in each other’s company. It relieves stress.
Less stress = less fighting—eventually.
The more stress you can eliminate, the easier this will be to accomplish.
In the meantime, keep fighting from recurring while you are in the process of fixing issues between your dogs.
Keeping dogs and people safe should be your #1 priority. You can do this by using crates, gates or keep them separated with leashes if in the same room together.
We hosted an incredible free teleseminar to help folks get this terrifying issue under control. We had attendees from Vermont, Maine, California, Florida – all over the United States.
Happy to give you a copy of this is you’d like. Just click here: Why Dogs Fight then enter your name and email and we’ll send it to you- free of charge.
You’re in good company – read what others said about how the call helped them:
Jessica Weishaar, South Dakota had this to say:
Thank you for the awesome information that you gave in your mp3 on why dogs fight. We adopted two sister dogs from the local humane society and were shocked to discover one of the dogs being very controlling of her sister once they got into our house.
The one would try to keep the other from all toys, food and attention and the first few days they were at our house we broke up 3 really severe fights, one of which took a hunk of skin out of the other.
We were at our wits end and about ready to give the dominant dog back to the humane society and then I stumbled across your recorded session via a web search. It was very insightful and it combined with other info I found, have made a huge difference!
We are planning on keeping both dogs and there have been no serious dominance displays. We just make sure to pay attention to the dominant one first when we get home, she takes evening walks first, she eats first, etc. Also, we have them sitting prior to doing anything ( your suggestion). They are 6 mth old puppies, so sit is the only command they know at this point. We can actually enjoy our new members now, without fear that a huge fight is going to ensue. THANK YOU!
Judy Piercy emailed us immediately after to say:
Everything on the teleseminar was great – I can’t think of anything I did not like and it finally made it all fit and come together so we understood why this is happening. The information was great, amazing how much sense it made. Some of the situations he mentioned “could have been our family!” It’s horrible when our two dogs fight, so now I know we are not the only ones and and now I feel —We Can Do This!
Carol Benitz said: I must say I found your seminar very helpful. Your approach is precise and very well explained. I tried out the command and redirect the next day and it worked! Thank you so much for training me to raise my dogs in the proper fashion that provides comfort and safety to our whole pack.
Denise said: I really enjoyed your seminar, it gave me some really good pointers on how to prevent fights with my dogs. I putting the give before take rule into place and making them work for rewards like affection. I KNOW it won’t happen over night but, I feel it’s a beginning.
Arden Tucker said: “Several years ago, I experienced fighting between two of my pack members, and it was a very scary and dangerous thing to witness. At the time, I didn’t understand all the dynamics involved. Jim’s dog fighting teleseminar brought back those memories; and, now, I know what the problem was . . . resource guarding and guess who was the item of value? To make matters worse, I gave in to my nurturing instinct; no wonder, the situation got worse instead of better! Thanks to this seminar, I now understand what went wrong back then and will definitely not make the same mistakes again.”
Amy Clause said: Jim, I just finished listening to your teleseminar on Why Dogs Fight, and I have to say I really enjoyed it and thank you for making it available for free download. I have found it to be very helpful information. Thanks again!
Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog
Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients. Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. One of his clients says it best:
There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant. Jane Wagner
(c) 2012 Jim Burwell