Pet Articles

Dogs – Canine Rivalry – Dog Fighting

Dogs – Canine Rivalry – Dog Fighting

What is Canine Rivalry?

Canine rivalry refers to repeated conflicts between dogs living in the same household. Animals that live in social groups establish a social structure within that group. This social structure is hierarchical and dogs determine their place in the hierarchy through control of and access to various resources, such as food, toys and attention from people. A stable hierarchy in which each individual knows and accepts his rank provides dogs with a sense of comfort and belonging. Conflicts arise between household dogs when there is instability in the social structure; that is, when the ranking of each dog is not clear or is in contention. Dogs may warn each other initially by snarling, growling or snapping, but not causing injury. However, the conflict may sometimes intensify into prolonged bouts of dangerous fighting, which may result in one or both dogs being becoming injured.

Getting Professional Help

Ongoing canine rivalry is potentially dangerous. Dogs or human family members could be severely injured as a result of fighting. Because resolving rivalry problems requires managing the dogs’ somewhat complex social behaviors, it’s often necessary for owners to obtain assistance from a professional animal behaviorist. Certified animal behaviorists are trained to observe, interpret and modify animal behavior.

Why Conflict Occurs

Conflicts between household dogs develop for a wide variety of reasons. Conflicts may occur if:

  • A new animal has been introduced to the household.
  • A resident animal has died or no longer lives in the house.
  • A resident animal is re-introduced after an absence.
  • A young dog reaches social maturity, which is usually between 10 months and 2 years of age, and challenges the established higher-ranking dog.
  • A high-ranking dog ages or becomes ill and cannot maintain his higher status.

Understanding Status Seeking Behavior and Social Structure

The dogs’ positions in the hierarchy are determined by the outcome of their interactions. The results of this complex and dynamic process will depend on the dogs themselves, without regard to your preferences. Any attempt on your part to interfere may result in increased conflict.

How dominance is established:

Dogs usually determine their social ranking through a series of behaviors, which include body postures and vocalizations that don’t result in injury. Examples of these behaviors are one dog “standing over” another by placing his paws or neck on the shoulders of the other, mounting, lip licking or rolling over onto the back. Some dogs may take toys away from other dogs, insist on being petted first or exercise control over other resources. However, because of past experiences, inadequate socialization or genetic tendencies, some dogs may escalate these displays into aggression with very little warning.

The Social Structure:

Do not attempt to influence or define the dogs’ rankings by treating them equally or by preventing a higher-ranking dog from asserting his position over another dog. The social hierarchy of the dogs is dynamic and complex, so even attempts to “support the dominant dog” may be counter productive. The dogs should be allowed to determine control of resources, such as toys and favorite sleeping places, amongst themselves. As much as possible, refrain from interfering in the dogs’ interactions with each other. But most importantly, establish yourself at the top of the hierarchy. Practicing “Nothing in Life is Free” is an easy and non-confrontational way to establish leadership by taking ultimate control of all resources the dogs find valuable. If your position as leader is clear, it will help the dogs sort out their lower places in the social structure more peacefully.

Breaking up a fight:

If you need to break up a fight, do so by squirting the dogs with water or making a loud noise to try and interrupt them. Never attempt to break up a dog fight by grabbing the dogs by their collars or getting any part of yourself in between them. Touching dogs while they are fighting can result in what is called “redirected aggression,” where a dog may bite you because he thinks you are part of the conflict. If you’ve had a dog fight, contact your veterinarian for a referral to a professional animal behaviorist.

What You Can Do To Help

  • If the dogs involved are intact males or females, spay or neuter both dogs.
  • Make sure that all of the humans in your household are at the top of the hierarchy by practicing “Nothing in Life is Free.”

Establish fair rules and enforce them consistently. This helps all the dogs feel more secure and also reinforces your role as leader. With the help of a professional animal behaviorist, elicit and reinforce non-aggressive behaviors using counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques. These procedures must be designed and tailored to specifically meet the needs of each individual case and require professional in-home help. Punishment will not resolve the issue and can actually make it worse. You should be aware that if you respond to this type of problem inappropriately, you run the risk of intensifying the problem and potentially causing injury to yourself and/or your dogs.

Article courtesy of Dumb Friends League
Reproduced by permission – All Rights Reserved.

Other related articles of interest may include:
WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE? A lesson in becoming Alpha
Puppy socialization – socializing your dog
Nothing in life is free

118 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Cain Barnett says:

    I have a german shepherd, beagle, and a italian mastiff. Mastiff used to go after the beagle, which has been in the household the longest. fights were bad, and then the beagle started to stay away. Then mastiff and german shepherd get into it. German Shepherd has been getting beat up severely. What should I do? Hard to break up their fights, know not to get in between too much. Is the only resolution to have to part with the mastiff? looking for any other solution.
    Mastiff was brought up in a different home as the only dog, when he was about two years old, moved back home where the other 2 dogs reside.
    Beagle: first dog, oldest, 12
    German Shepherd, 2nd, 8,
    Mastiff: 2, biggest. dangerous.

    • Avatar Cain Barnett says:

      All of the dogs were raised in a loving home. No abuse.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      If this were my situation, 100% I’d be calling a REFERRED pro dog trainer.

      Your dog needs to obey you when you say stop beating up the other dog! Without a doubt there are issues that can be solved and need to be solved for the sake of safety!

      A referred pro dog trainer will see the interaction between you and the dogs and recommend solutions. This is solvable, but by a pro. Ask your vet or someone you trust for a reference.
      Good luck.

  2. Avatar Sherri says:

    I have 2 dogs, one 6 year old border terrier and one 10 month old Akita. They seemed to be the best of freinds until a horrible fight last night. Both had minor bleedy injuries. Not knowing that I should not have break them up I pulled my terrier out from under my akita. Today my terrier will not leave my side and is very clingy. I keep telling myself not to judge on human emotions but she seems to be afriad of the other dog now, like her feelings are hurt. She is either trying to be on my lap or under my feet. I learned my lesson but I was bite (minor) while breaking up the fight by my terrier. I had never given them real bones before only rawhides . Last night my neighbor gave them real bones with meat on them. Do you think that caused the fight?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Be VERY careful with the Akita. They were bred to hunt bears and are known to be aggressive to other dogs. It “could” have been the bones that set the Akita off, but it might be something else in the future.
      The terrier is right to be clingy, it is in shock. It is right to be afraid of the other dog as the Akita could easily kill her. Easily. This can happen again, do NOT ignore this warning sign.

      Personally, if this were my dog it would never be left with the terrier alone without my direct supervision – until I was 100% sure that this won’t happen again. (and that may be never)

      The only way to solve this imo, is with PROFESSIONAL dog training by a referred trainer. If he already had training, he needs more.

      Good luck.

  3. Avatar Sherri says:

    Thank you Marko for you words of caution. I am taking this matter seriously. Things seem back to normal but I am still leary. Tonight, my terrior took dog food away from the Akita. There was no incident. My Akita, Stella, has been sweet tempered until this fight. I probably will never completely trust her again. I love my pets so much but it is not lost on me that they are animals. I had a small child visit and I would not allow the dog in the house. My family thinks I am over reacting. I cant help thinking what if a child unknowingly did something that the dog did not like. I will get professional help ASAP, Thanks again.

  4. Avatar Amanda Ballard says:

    I have 2 dogs- females- 1 mini dachshund and a mix breed (not really sure what the mix is) They have been in the same house together since they were 8 weeks. Lately the mix has been “attacking” the doxie even bitting and drawing blood. It seems to come out of nowhere. I can break them up but the doxie has gotten many many scars on her face from bites from the mix. I have tried putting the mix in a cage after the attacks and scolleding her. It is getting more frequent and severe. What can I do to keep my doxie safe?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Putting the mix in the cage AFTER this is happening will never ever work.
      The “punishment” must come AS THE EVENT is happening or it’s useless. In this case a loud and firm “NO”! as the attack is happening might help.
      Punishing after the fact is detrimental to your relationship with the dog. Dogs cannot process “WHY” they are being punished if it happens after the fact.

      Aside from that, this issue is too big for a comment in a blog post. I HIGHLY recommend a consult with a professional referred dog trainer who sees these issues all the time. An alternative would be to post this in our pet forum for a better back and forth between members.

      Given the current situation though, if these dogs were mine, they would NEVER be left alone when unsupervised. The aggressive dog would be locked in one room while I was away.

      Good luck!

  5. Avatar kate halligan says:

    hi i havea 4 year old short hair pointer and a 2 yr old cross of multi breeds. my small cross breed has been for months sitting on my top of my pointer, the last few nights they have had fights and i end up breaking them up with shouting no, however they have drawn blood in small cuts the last fight. i have spoken to a trainer and they said it will pass but im afraid of one of them killing the other. i haven’t been treating them differently and within minutes after the fights they are back next to each other licking each others wound and playing. Will they pass through this stage by themselves?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hmmm this is a tough one. If these were my dogs, I don’t think I would let them have access to each other while I was sleeping (if that’s when it’s happening)
      They would be in different rooms or one with me in a room and the other in the house. and I’d consult further with a trainer. Aggression is serious.
      Only you can judge how aggressive the dogs really are and the potential outcome – fatalities do happen though. I always err on the side of caution.
      Good luck.

  6. Avatar John Hamilton says:

    We have three cairn terriers. We had two, but our boy dog that was 12 (and the Alpha) died suddenly June 1. That left a 10-year-old female that weighs about 19 pounds (very sweet, will turn 11 in about 2 months). About a month later we got a 7-month-old female that turns 1 year tomorrow. She is very sweet, but still is not potty trained to go outside and she goes hyper, grabbing one of the other dogs’ leashes (or her own) and growling when we take her out to go to the bathroom. She also picks on the older dog quite a bit. She now weighs about 13 pounds. Then, about a month after getting her, we got a male puppy that is now almost 7 months old. He is full of energy, goes into his kennel when told, constantly seeks attention, and is very talkative (not just barking, but whining, growling, and anything inbetween). I think he is kind of hypervigilent, in that his attention is short and he is always looking to see what else is going on when being held. He is growing fast and is now is larger than the one-year-old. They have gotten along fairly well, but the younger dogs play-fight with each other (nothing serious) and they pick on the older dog, especially the female despite her smaller size. The older dog has basically “taken it.” About a week or so ago, the older dog had apparently taken it long enough and snapped back at the 1-year-old. They have gotten into real fights where one ends up clamped onto the other’s upper jaw. This has happened about 5 times, twice today. Tonight when I got home from work, my daughter was crying, my wife’s finger was bleeding, the two dogs were clamped together, and both had blood on their faces. My wife said the boy dog instigated it against the older dog, but once the 1-year-old joined and it got serious, he got out of it. This morning, however, the older dog was laying with a piece of rawhide in front of her, the younger female was giving her a stare-down, then pounced for her or the rawhide and a fight ensued. So far, we had tried to stop the fighting incorrectly, by picking one of them up. Tonight, however, I screamed “knock it off” and they let go. As I cleaned them up, I found only one place where the skin was actually broken (on the 1-year-old), so I don’t know where all the blood came from. Finally, the old dog has run of the house and sleeps in the bedroom. The puppies sleep in kennels in the living room. The old dog sleeps by the puppies when they are in their kennels during the day. Among other things, we are real concerned that one of them is going to lose an eye. Suggestions?

  7. Avatar Krista says:

    I recently had my dogs spayed/neutered, about 2 months ago. Until then, just the occasional scuffle between my 2 males doxies (ages 6 and 1 1/2). Now, since the neutering, the boys fight constantly…to the point that they cannot be in the same area loose together. They have to be muzzled, and then still try to fight. I have had to take to kenneling them, one while the other is loose, and vice versa. But they still try to fight through the barrier, muzzled or not. Their personality changes are so extreme, it’s like I have 2 completely different dogs now. I can’t enjoy them the way I used to…no walks together, etc. The younger’s personality has changed the most, to the point where he cowers and won’t come out of the kennel at all, not even when the older dog is outside. I HATE THIS! I’ve never had to muzzle my pets before this, and I regret neutering them. Things were fine before this. The only advice I could get from my vet was to muzzle/separate them. Great. I’m having a hard time finding any referred trainers in my area. What can I do? Am I doomed to have to get rid of them?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi Krista,

      I’d post this on our forum for free for a better back and forth. Our members offer great advice and this is a little complex for a blog post.
      Thx – marko

  8. Avatar Danielle says:

    I NEED ADVICE ASAP!!!!!!!!

    I have (2) 1 year old male dogs from the same liter (brothers). They are a mix of breeds. Treeing walker coonhound, husky and english shepard mix. My husband and I had them ever since they were 8 weeks old and they just turned 1. We havent had any issues with them other than the basic puppy things such as: chewing, nibble here and there, barking. With in the past 2-3 months they have had a few fights where blood was involved. Neither of them have got seriously hurt or anything but I am worried one of these times something very serious and bad will happen to one of them. I have tryed spraying/dumping water on them, i also tryed putting about 20 dimes in a water bottle and throwing it right near them. NOTHING seems to break them up or stop them from fighting. My husband and I bought muzzles and that works but we cant keep them on 24/7. One day our dogs will be fine and the next day they are fighting non stop. Do you thinking getting them neutered will stop this from happening? I need all the answers and suggestions i can get. This is causing my husband and I so much stress with constantly dealing with our dogs fighting. We are about to have nervous break downs. We do not want to get rid of either dog if there is ways to solve this.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I will assume that these dogs have never had obedience training which they desperately need….especially now that they have reached sexual maturity and are getting out of control. Please make sure the trainer comes referred from someone you trust like a vet.
      And YES!!! please neuter these dogs ASAP – Both these should help the situation
      Good luck!

  9. Avatar Deanna says:

    We have 4 dogs…. 14 yr old male poodle mix we have had since he was a yr and a half, neutered…. 12 yr old male cocker spaniel we have had since he was 9 weeks old neutered….. a female catahoula leopard dog born 9-30-2012, we got when she was 7 weeks old…….. and a doberman pinscher born 10-08-2012, we got when she was 8 weeks old…. So the catahoula is 1 week older than the doberman and we had the catahoula for 2 weeks before we got the doberman……. the 2 older dogs have never had a problem with fighting, once in a blue moon over a rawhide bone, but nothing serious…… the catahoula and the cocker have had words a couple of times….. the poodle mix pays no attention to them and snaps at them both if they get too close, the doberman bows down to him and they kiss each other, the catahoula just dont pay any attention to the poodle…… HOWEVER, the doberman and catahoula play and play and play and FIGHT ! they get into it more and more often. I yell “STOP IT” and bang on something and they usually stop. My husband will make them go outside or grabs them both and lays them down away from each other until they relax and submit…… they are getting very large though……. They are both very sweet and docile most all the time…. They are all house broke, with a doggie door….. I just cannot stand the fighting and as they continue to grow rapidly, I am affraid the fights will worsen as well…….. We have found a trainer that a groomer recommended, we are about to start…… they do sit and stay pretty good but they dont come to you when called all the time, especially the doberman….. what could be the fighting problem and what can we do to correct it ?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      You have made a FABULOUS decision by getting a trainer – KUDOS!
      The fighting problem could well be a dominance issue and the TRAINER is the right person to ask these questions to as they can observe the body language going on at the time of fighting.
      Your trainer should also have VERY concrete solutions for correcting this problem. and the Trainer should suggest remedies for them to come when called. This situation is MUCH too complicated for a blog post comment so again, very happy someone refereed is involved.
      Good luck!

  10. Avatar Sarah says:

    HELP! I have 2 Akitas, 9 yr old male & 6 yr old female, both neutered/spayed. The female has started triggering fights, firstly food related where if she was the first on the scene the male could not come near and then last night because she was cornered by the back door. They have had shouting matches previously, when female was intact, this has now escalated to full contact. After the shouting matches they would come back together licking each others muzzles, now the female is avoiding the male’s eyes and her hackles are coming up. She is acting nervous of him and the relationship that was previously a tight pack has gone. I can only think that either being 1 year -ish from her spaying she is going through a phantom season, has a behavior problem or is sick. My husband is close to finding her a new home and even writing this I am beside myself. Any suggestions? Note that I have no choice but to pull them apart as noise etc will not stop them once they have got this far, it is also hard to spot signs as there are no growls- Akitas give no warning.

  11. Avatar Sandy says:

    I have two neutered mixed (Alsatian + Labrador) dogs who have been living together in peace for 6 years. We recently adopted a 4 month brindle boarboel. Them three have been living together with no worries, although the older one always growls at the boarboel to establish that he’s the territorial head etc. But now, the youngest one is much bigger and stronger and the older one tries to bully him and they get into a fight. This has happened about 4 times within the space of 2 weeks. The youngest one has realized that he’s stronger now and can beat the older one. So when they fight, they always sustain injuries, and most especially the older one. The new dog is not neutered though. And everyone keeps saying its too late to train them both. What can I do???

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Who is everyone? Are they trainers?
      I would 1 jillion percent neuter the dog immediately and take BOTH dogs for obedience training.
      I’d ask my vet for a recommendation first and make sure to mention that this invloves an aggression problem. Then I’d call the trainers and ask these questions directly.
      If these were my dogs they would all be fixed and group obedience trained regardless of what age I got them.
      Good luck.

  12. Avatar Adele says:

    We have 6 dogs in total. 1x daschund 7 years old spade female 2 x jack russell terriers sisters from the same litter 4 years old spade females 1 x daschund 2 years old spade female and 2 x great danes 1 x male neuted and 1 x female spade at 1 year old. The 2 jack russells have started attacking the older daschund and has got so bad that she ended up with stitches and is now temporarily living with my mother for recovery. The Jack Russells have now started fighting with the younger daschund. The fights were completely a surprise. The dogs eat together, sleep together, lie on the couch with us and have their morning treats together without even as much as a murmer. Why would they suddenly start this fighting and what can we do to stop it. When they fight i do seperate them and tell the Jack Russells NO so they know what they are doing is wrong. please help.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Again this is complicated for a blog post comment – please post this in our forum where members can easily and freely share their experiences on this common issue.
      Good luck.

  13. Avatar James t says:

    We have two dachshunds (father and son) we recently got a small Chihuahua. a week after we brought him home the younger dachshund began putting his paws on his fathers back and the hair on their backs raise up and they start growling at each other. they do not show any aggression towards the Chihuahua.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Pretty interesting – Hmm – this might be a transitional thing and as long as it’s just growling that subsides, maybe they are just working it out themselves.
      Feel free to post this on our forum as well. Lots of experienced dog people there.
      good luck!

  14. Avatar Paul says:

    I have 7 dogs in my home. All are spayed or neutered. I have 5 rescued terriers and two female dobermans. The oldest doberman is 2.5 yrs old, the younger one is 6 months old. Terriers range in age from 3 yrs to 14 yrs old.

    My oldest doberman (the Alpha dog) gets along great with the younger dobe and two of the terriers. Two other terriers, she totally ignores–it’s like she doesnt even acknowledge that they even exist. She doesnt appear to like or dislike them. But the terrier that is closest to her age is the one that she has the problem with. This terrrier weighs about 20 lbs, and is very feisty, barks a lot, makes toothy faces at the other dogs when she feels insecure for any reason, and will run and charge at the glass in the back door when the dobermans are outside and snarl and bark at them through the glass. She is definitely NOT big enough to back up her attitude.

    The older doberman has attacked her on three separate occasions over the past 2 years. Never to the point that the terrier had to have stitches, but still, when the dobe has had more of the terrier’s attitude than she can handle, she grabs her by the back of the neck, and holds her down to the ground and it’s all I can do to make her let go. She does draw blood at the puncture sites, but the injuries are never deep enough to cause profuse or uncontrolled bleeding. They got into a fight again last night (it’s been about 3 months since they tangled last, and since that time, I have been keeping them separated if I’m not right there with them at all times) in the house (always before, they were outside if a fight occured, and ALWAYS when I am nearby) and it happened while I was at the computer, so my back was to them so I have no idea what provoked it. I had to grab the doberman by the back legs and flip her upside down in order to make her let go of the other dog.

    My wife is about to have a nervous breakdown over these dogs fighting, and she wants me to get an electronic collar to ‘zap’ the doberman every time she looks at the terrier. I hope that there is a solution to this problem, because I cant bear to get rid of either of these dogs. I dont want the next fight to be worse. The terrier is the one that always gets beat up. How can I prevent it from happening again? Do I need to just constantly keep the two of them separated at ALL times now? Please help. It’s driving me and my family crazy trying to keep the peace.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi Paul,

      This is much to complicated for a blog post comment. Please post this on our forum where other members can help offer advice.
      Good luck.

  15. Avatar Shannon says:

    We have 3 dogs in our household. The mother (Rayni) is almost 7 yrs. old; a mix between dashchund and jack russel. And the 2 others are her daughters. Their father was part dashchund also. They will be 3 yrs. old in December. We are now experiencing the mother and one of the daughters (Daisy) with nonstop!! fighting!! Its as if Daisy is fighting to kill. She will lock onto Raynis neck and will not let go!! We have shed our own blood now several times trying to brak them up! Rayni is a fairly small built dog. She basically has the jack- body build- but maybe alittle more fragile. To where Daisy out grew her mother and father. She is our biggest dog. She’s prob. 2X’s the size of her mother. – maybe 3x’s- I cant help from wonder if this is what the fights are all about? I know Rayni has dominance. But Daisy. She is really quite the BULLY!!. EVERY! toy in the house belongs to her! (I am not kidding!) I sometimes get the feeling that she even tries to bully us by the way she gets in our faces when she wants to be pet! Her nose will almost be touching ours. And its not like she lacks any attention at all! I guess what I am wanting to know is this a power struggle over placement? If so what are the usual end results?? I love both dogs (all 3) very very much and can’t even think about getting rid of one! I would assume it would end when Rayni might give up her position??? But will she?? I have to say she is the one getting the worse of it after their fights! Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated..

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Aggression like this is serious. IMO, you need a referred trainer that has experience with aggression to go to your house and see what is going on.
      There are leadership issues for sure and the trainer will be able to help with this.
      For one thing

      “….She is really quite the BULLY!!. EVERY! toy in the house belongs to her! (I am not kidding!) I sometimes get the feeling that she even tries to bully us by the way she gets in our faces when she wants to be pet! Her nose will almost be touching ours.”

      Every toy belongs to YOU! Everything belongs to you but the dogs are not respecting your authority – likely because you are not acting like a leader in the dog’s mind.

      here are a few general articles that can help – but my best advice is that trainer at your home ASAP.
      Good luck!

  16. Avatar Leslie says:

    Having issues with the temporary dog pack. We have a 11yrF-18lb Lhasa(rescued, untrained, barker, growler,lazy,doesn’t like toys, narcistic dog we have had for 6yrs and 11yrM-11lb YorkiePoodle since a pup (submissive, ocd licker, hyper, now diabetic and developing tumor) Recently, my college daughter rescued a 5yrF-42lb Shepherd Mix on 5/9/12. The dog will be staying until 8/19/12. Great dog. Just after her 1st wk w us she went into heat. Therefore, planning to get her spayed in August. We have had dog fights because my Lhasa just con’t s to growl at the Shepmix in passing. Both dogs are fighting for my attention. My husband, daughter & myself all help w managing daily care. My question, is it ok to be treating the dogs all differently because of their physical abilities/personalities? My dogs sleep in separate crates in the basement but my daughter’s dog sleeps in her room. We feed her dog in a separate area and avoid giving treats randomly because of the diabetic dog. We walk the dogs together 2-3x a day. Her dog and the Lhasa can walk w/o leashes but I never allow the Yorkie because he runs away. Her dog needs and enjoys more exercise. She loves going in the car. So we only take her to the park, for runs or for car rides. She even swims in our pool. Is it healthy to have different relationships w each dog?

  17. Avatar Barb says:

    We have an almost 7 year old female boxer named Tia and are in the process of adopting an 8 month old Boxer mix named Emmy. Emmy has been at our house for a week now. Tia has always loved having neighbor dogs to play with and playing at the dog park so I thought she would enjoy another dog to play with. She’s always been very gentle and only in the past year has she started standing her ground if a dog gets too aggressive with her. Emmy is trying to be the alpha dog and is constantly nipping at her muzzle, ears and legs and going on top of her. At first Tia just brushed her off as she has always treated puppies gently. After a few days she had enough and has been trying to put Emmy in her place, but rarely does Emmy back off. Boxers play rough, but it doesn’t seem like play to me and I am wondering if I intervene or just let them work it out. Tia weighs around 60 pounds and Emmy is 30 at the most, but Emmy is fearless!

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I would say that you NEED to have control over both these dogs. This means that when you call either of them – they come.
      When you tell either of them to stop – they stop what they are doing.

      If you do not have this control then I would highly suggest some group obedience training. There you will be taught that YOU are the leader of both dogs…and dogs listen to the leader.
      If it does not seem like play – it probably is not play and again group obedience (from a RECOMMENDED trainer from someone you trust)

      I don’t know the level of aggression here – but it’s enough to say that I would be quite concerned if these dogs lived in my home.
      For additional info, I recommend you post this as well on the forum. We have a number of members that are very knowledgeable in matters like these.
      Good luck!

  18. Avatar ann-marie says:

    hi i have an 11 year old boxer who is a total mummys boy, if u want 2 find me, look 4 bruno as hes always by my side, even in the toilet, lol. i have been offered a 10 month old doberman, do u think my old boy would accept him? or would total jealously prevent this? space is not a problem, i dnt want 2 bring this young 1 in to our home if theres going to be rivalry…

    Any tips would be great.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      There is no way to predict rivalry imo, unless u already know that your dog is more of an alpha-dog that doesn’t get along with other animals…if this is the case – the answer is don’t do it.

      If you don’t know this to be true then possibly an 11 year old doberman and a 10 month old doberman might not be the best match due to the age difference and energy differences the 2 will have.
      Feel free to post this same question on on forum.

      Whatever the case – I would not blindly bring that 10 month old home.

      I might bring the 11 year old for a visit to the 10 month old (on THAT dog’s turf) to see if they get along – then I might have that 10 month old come over for a visit to see the reaction.

      If I did in the end decide to adopt the dog – the introduction would be done methodically and slowly. This means that the 11 year old would have the run of the house and the new pup would be in a much smaller area….UNTIL they become buddies.
      Good luck

  19. Avatar Angie says:

    Hi, I have 2 springer spaniels, one is 9 and the other is 4, both have been spayed. I got them both from puppies and they got along really well until the younger dog started to mature. I have tried every trick in the book to stop them fighting, feeding separately, being very strict with them, taking away toys so they have nothing to fight over, making sure they are well exercised, ignoring the younger dog when she demand attention etc, but nothing has worked, even had advice from a dog behaviourist and what she told us to try seemed to work for a few weeks then a massive fight occurred and the oldest had to go to vet as the younger one had ripped her eyelid . They are well trained and do what they are told, apart from when they are fighting. They get on with other dogs outside the home, they show no aggressive behaviour to people. There is very rarely any warning that a fight is about to start. The rest of the time they get on brilliantly together. I am in the process of re-homing the younger one as I feel she will take to new owners better. Having made this decision to re-home her we are now just waiting for a place at the kennels. This is really killing myself and my partner as we love both our dogs to bits and the younger dog is such a loving dog towards us. We want to make sure before she goes that we have tried everything possible. Is there anything else we can try before we let her go?

  20. Avatar Marjorie says:

    We’ve recently added a dog, previously we had a 13 yo golden mix, female, and an almost 4 yo Newf, female. We’ve had the golden for 10 years, and this Newf for 3. We just got a second Newf, 2 yo, male. Everyone is fixed. The male has had at least 3 families before us. Things are mostly ok at home, some quibbles over cookies, but he seems to be settling into the pack here. But, at the dog park we get into problems. Generally it starts when he gets a little dominant with another dog, chin-overs and the like. The other dog will signal that it doesn’t like that, sitting down, backing away, but he doesn’t seem to recognize those signals, so it escalates to snapping. We’re trying to redirect before that point, but if we miss it, I grab his back end and pull him away. (He was very weak when we got him, but he’s getting stronger, so I don’t know how long that’s an option.) We also try to tire him out a bit more by doing laps in the park before we let him have free play. I feel like he doesn’t understand dog language, and with his size the other owners are understandably not real willing to put up with his behavior.

  21. Avatar janae says:

    My 1 year old male shar pei started attacking my 5 year old pit bull recently out of nowhere.. The first few fights my pit would pretty much just defend himself and stop when I said “No”… The other day out of nowhere my pit started full out attacking my shar pei and would not listen to us. We have appointments to have them both neutered this week in hopes that will help. We have been keeping then separated since then.. Any more advice I really dont want to get rid of our shar pei ?? Im looking into a trainer. I rescued a female pit a few months back from my neighbors who left her behind do u think shes the problem? Or is it a maturity/ dominance thing between the males?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I’d post this on our forum for a better back and forth.
      Yes both should be neutered. Both should also be obedience trained from a referred trainer.
      There is no reason to get rid of your dog – just get the obedience training.

      Good luck.

  22. Avatar Kendra says:

    We have a 15 year old neutered male shih tzu. When he was about 4 we got a young chihuahua female. They did so well together, even when she developed Cushings disease. She died shortly before her 9th bd from complications of the disease. We were devastated. Her passing left such a hole in our family that 6 months later we got another female chihuahua puppy. We got her spayed and she went through basic obedience training. She has a stronger personality than our previous chi and is overall just more dominant. When she got to be a year old we noticed her starting to pick on our shih tzu. I use the “leave it” command and she will leave him alone. However, in the last couple of weeks, she will leave her bone in the middle of the floor. If he goes anywhere near it, she will go and attack him.. Even though he is bigger and weighs a lot more than she does, he will submit. He is not trying to get her bone. In fact he doesn’t even seem to know it is there. If she has already started to attack, she will ignore the leave it command. Our shih tzu is yelping, so I grab her by the scruff and separate her from him by putting her outside for a few min. She is immediately barking to come back in, When I let her back in she immediately goes back to the shih tzu. I give her the leave it command. She will “leave it” for a few min. then goes back to him “sniffing his ears and walking around him. I give her the leave it command again, and as she leaves him, he makes a hasty exit under the table. The shi tzu has been starting to show his age, and he’s such a good dog. We don’t want him living his final years scared and bullied. Our chi. does not have any aggression with anyone else in the family ( we have 3 teenagers). She is a very playful high energy dog and thoroughly enjoys romping in the yard with the kids, playing catch etc. She can be high strung, and seems to be a bit hypersensitive to noises- the door bell, the garbage truck, etc. I am wondering how to effectively stop her bullying our shih tzu. I wish she could have the same relationship as our other chi had with him. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi Kendra,

      This is solvable, but not here in the comments section of a blogpost – it requires it’s own thread.
      Please post this for free in our forum. Thx and good luck!

  23. Avatar steve diamond says:

    i have 6 dogs. 14,13,7,5,5,1 1/2. all border collies. the 13 year old is sick and has a cone to keep him from licking an infected area.i was outside and i heard loud yelping in the house. the 1.5 year old was attacking the sick 13 year old. this happened again a bout a week later when i wasnt ingury to the old dog just lots of wet fur where he was attacked. im keeping the old guy with me or isolated until hes better.

  24. Avatar Andria Riddle says:

    I have two female dogs in my house who fight often. The oldest is seven years old and is a border collie blue healer mix, the other is five years old and a black lab border collie mix. Since my yellow lab, died two years ago, and I rescued a black lab this past spring the fights have gotten worse. This last summer, the girls got in to it real bad. The lab/collie had the healer/collie by the neck and would not let go. The only way I got the lab/collie to let go was to put my hand in her mouth and yank down on her mouth, I tried pulling her tail, and her back legs and that did not work. Once I got the lab/collie to let go I had to lay down on top of her while the healer/collie ran to the door to be let in the house. They both suffered injuries to the neck and legs. I kept them separated and when they would growl at each other I would loudly yell “NO!”. Everything seemed to be getting better until last night when out of no where the healer/collie lunged at the lab/collie and punctured her upper left front leg. By the time I go up to stop the fight the lab/collie had the healer/collie by the neck again and was starting to shake her head. I put my weight the lab/collie while my brother grabbed the healer/collie and dragged her in to another room. While this was going on my rescue dog ran down stairs and hid.The growling and snarling has continued today but I separate them before anything could happen. I have no idea what to do any more. I don’t want to get rid of either of my girls, but I don’t want them to hurt each other or worse. What should I do?

  25. Avatar Andria Riddle says:

    I forgot to mention that all of my dogs are fixed.

  26. Avatar laura says:

    my 3 year old german sheperd came in and managed get my husbands food off the side i herd growling went in and she had bittin my labrador puppy im worried because it was bad she’s never dun that with her before i dont know what do as im worried next time it will be alot worse x

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Keep all dogs away from the kitchen during meal times. Some dogs are food possessive or aggressive. Don’t give them access to the food (maybe by having them in a locked room during your own mealtimes) and your problem is solved. Good luck!

  27. Avatar Laura says:

    I have two 10 year old jack Russell bitches. Q
    We also now have a 4month old jack Russell bitch. Historically the older two have had fights, we have had them splayed and things did calm down for a while although they would still fight. Since the arrival of the pup the fights are happening weekly. I don’t know what to do? I have spoken to the vet for advice all he could suggest was a therapist. I am worried as when they fight it is very aggressive and if the pup is out of her crate I worry that the will turn on her. The dogs have always been part of the family and have never been aggressive towards us. Help as I don’t want to have to lose either dog. We have been told that by intervening we are stopping the dogs sorting out who is the dominant one. However, I cannot just them them fight it out. When fighting they do not respond to any commands when normally they are well behaved.

  28. Avatar Sarah says:

    Hi, we have two female jack russells from the same litter. They are 9 months old and have been getting along fine..up until recently when they had started fighting. my husband and i broke up the fights the first times and told them NO, however we had heard that letting them fight it out so they can determine who is the alpha is better. So the next time they fought we let them, they had 3/4 major fights and had quite bad scrapes and cuts on their face and ears and i think its too much and am worried they could get more serious injuries. I have bought 2 muzzles for them for piece of mind and so we can try and get them used to each others company again. We are keeping them separated at bed time etc and when we are out so nothing serious can occur. They are both due to be spayed in 3 weeks time. We love them both and dont want to have them separated. Is there anything else we can do?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Spaying them is a great idea and the muzzling (until you can solve the issue) is also a great idea.
      Many people on our forum have suggested that 2 female dogs are harder than male male or male female.
      I’d post this on our forum if i were you so that people with experience in this matter can offer you their personal advice.
      Good luck!

  29. Avatar Paul says:

    Once two females have started fighting each other, and especially if the fights have escalated each time, it’s very difficult to convince them to stop. Keeping them separated is the best thing you can do, and always, ALWAYS supervise them.

  30. Avatar Marcy says:

    I have two six month old lab/samoyed mix sibling pups. Male and female, both were fixed at 5 months of age. They are always together, but the fighting has become more aggressive and I know they are probably establishing their order in the family. Most of the time they get along great, wag tails, and sleep together (she sleeps in the kennel, he sleeps on a bed outside the kennel, I believe he gets warmer as he has more Sammy fur than she does). The aggressive behavior started with giving them bones (I have given them soup bones, ham bones, etc. since they were pretty little) as they hit about 4 1/2 months. Before that, they were both able to chew on their bones and even trade them, without any squabbles. Now they fight and quarrel frequently, even without bones. No bloody wounds or aggressive behavior to us or the cat, but just wondered what else we should do. We try to tell them no and separate them with a stick (put it between them so we don’t get nipped). Any further suggestions? They’ve been fixed for a month, so there’s a chance it could decrease over time, right?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I keep saying this in many responses, and try to help with simple answers but this is the wrong spot for this question.
      There are a whole community of members on our forum and some of them with experience with your breeds – Please post this question there for free of course.
      Good luck!

  31. Avatar Laura says:

    We have a 10 yr old female spayed Cairn Molli and a rescue 2 yr old spayed female Cairn/ Wirehaired Dachsund mix Niki. We got Niki because we had another older spayed female Cairn put to sleep, Molli’s best friend. Molli grieved terribly so our Vet said to get another companion.When we got them together they played and played and had the best time. We did not know at the time that Niki was not spayed. Out of the clear blue one day during a thunderstorm Molli the 10 yr old just started fighting with the younger dog. They fought several times during that one week and a half. They were separated as we tried to figure out what was going on . We then realized that Niki was not spayed. So we got her to the Vet and spayed. They still were separated. We hired a very expensive Doggie behaviorist Vet. Her approach was quite involved and wasn’t working . Our Vet had no clue. We ended up at several other Vet and behaviorists and no help. Spent a Lot of money and the dogs are still separated for over “1″ year! Yet ,they have been walking together twice everyday ( mornings with several doggie friends and their owners) for over 6 months and NEVER have a problem of aggression at all! WE REALLY need to get them back together,but we are not sure what approach to take. We have choke collars which we were told to use and muzzles if we need them. We are just apprehensive in doing this. But, it really needs to be done. The older dog has no idea why she can’t be out an about with everyone. I am afraid they have been apart so long the animosity will escalate quickly? I am now just looking for an answer to what we do when we do put them back together and they possibly fight again? Do we separate them again or just let them cool down and put them together again? I know I can never trust the older Cairn, She fought with our deceased Cairn when we had them together, but only about 2-3 times a year. I keep thinking the first time Molli fought with Niki was because Niki was in heat and Molli was never around another dog in heat! Now that the younger dog is no longer able to be in heat maybe they will like each other again?

  32. Avatar Amanda says:

    Hey, so I have a border collie cross kelpie and he is amazing, very intelligent , very observent but sadly every time he comes in contact with a male dog he sees red and goes nuts he gets very agressive with them and almost always ends up fighting them. I live him dearly and don’t wan’t the behaviour to continue. He is not neutered and I was wondering if neutering him would make a difference or is this a character problem? Please help me

  33. Avatar Dean says:

    I have a 5yo male neo mastiff x which is fixed, just got an 11month pure bred neo unspade. The 5 yo has been the only dog in the house hold for 4 years and is normally good with other dogs and younger dogs, they were fine in the introduction and it was tense when feeding but were feed apart and supervised, they were fine together when left alone exploring the yard, took them both for a walk on the lead no worries, but later on when they were recovered from the walk and wanted a little play in the yard a fight broke out after a rope was being played with and a tug of war between them both, I knew it was a bad idea but happened to quick, the male 5yo won the tug of war and the female walked away but the male then went for her and it was on. A hose was used to break it up a little blood on them both but we are unsure of what to do now please help with some suggestions.

  34. Avatar Jacqueline Brown says:

    We have three dogs. Two are rescues. One is a Schnauzer. She stays away from the two bigger dogs because she is 9 years old. The two bigger, a dobie and a mixed breed, (both are 6 yrs old, and female) are close to the same size. Their stories are different. The mixed breed was mistreated physically, the dobie was starved and left out in sub-zero temps 24/7. We’ve only had her for a few months. The two big dogs played constantly, then out of nowhere, the Dobie attacked the mixed breed. The fight was pretty bad, blood was drawn on the Dobie. This has happened twice. The Dobie never was aggressive, she is a sweet, loving dog, she even lets the other two eat out of her bowl, or we can pick her food up and move it without an issue or even a growl. We separated them, but it is a bit scary. The last time they fought, my husband was petting the mixed breed when the Dobie attacked. The Dobie always seems to take the brunt and is the one that gets hurt. What do you suggest?

  35. Avatar karen says:

    please help, i have a cross jack russel/poodle. we moved to a house that had a shared garden with next door,they have a jack russel,they are around same age 2, they got on really well playing garden going into each others homes,my dog had puppies by him,they all went,still after the 2 dogs got on well but out the blue they started fighting over toys,bones if the other dog gets attention by his owner,my dog seems to start the fights and there is no warning,i am now worried about letting her in the garden when other dog is out which is quite a lot,my dog is very disobediant barking at every thing even if people walk past house,she takes no notice of commands, she is trainable as we have made her sit and stay ect, but if she does not want to listen she wont,commands go out the window,hence trying to split up fighting does not work. as i have a heart problem this fighting is driving me insane and giving me alot of stress. please help with any advice.

  36. Avatar Brooke says:

    I have 3 intact dogs, a 22 month old male boxer who was the initial dog in our yard from a puppy, we then introduced a 20 month old male boxer x cattle dog x shag approximately 6 months ago and a 18 month old boxer x (unsure maybe bull Arab or pitbull) about 4 months ago! The last two are trained hunting dogs. The boxer asserted dominance immediately but there were a few fights between the males initially and now just play fighting! However our female has started to stand up and fight the male boxer, it took a while to establish this as when I appear they break it up, but the instances of fights are increasing and both are starting to get minor injuries, more so the boxer! I don’t know what to do as they break the fight up when I appear but I worry about leaving them alone to go to work for instance and when we lock them up they bark and howl consistently being a bother to neighbors! What can I do and what could be causing the new fights?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      First thing that comes to mind is spaying and neutering these pets. That often calms things down.
      Next they’d be at group obedience training with a trainer that came recommended from someone I trust.
      3 dogs is a lot to handle – you’ll definitely want some personalized instruction. It will likely be the best investment you’ll make for the doogers.
      Good luck!

  37. Avatar Brooke says:

    Sorry the 18 month old is female!

  38. Avatar Brooke says:

    Also the female has an implant to prevent her going on heat!

  39. Avatar patty says:

    I have a big problem with my pups… 2 male pups will not stop picking on a female pup. They are siblings. I have no idea what to do. She is not in heat, they all eat separate, and they a re 2 months old. I dont believe they fight for territory or any toys. They just smell her and they attack her like a toy or something. Please let me know what i should do. I already separated them but every time i take her out so she can use it they immediately go for her.

  40. Avatar Patrick says:

    I have both a 12 year old and a 7 year old spayed female Eng. Springer Spaniels. They have been living peacefully together for the past 7 years. The 7 year old requires more attention, while the 12 year is happy with not as much attention. The 12 old is holding on to the dominant role, but lately they have been getting into fights, especially when we are not around. They are both very obedient and are friendly and affectionate. I’m not sure what to do. They stay in a fenced in yard all day and sleep with us at night. I know about pent up energy and try to get them out running in the fields as often as I can. Is there any thing else I can do?

  41. Avatar Angie says:

    Patrick, I had a similar problem with my spaniels and I was advised by a dog behaviourlist to try ‘The dog listener’ by Jan Fennell. I urge you to buy this book. I have followed her training methods religiously for about 9 months and it has completely transformed my dogs behaviour towards each other. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a quick fix, it is something that is always ongoing and hard work but its wrll worth it. I got my copy from amazon for about 3 quid.

  42. Avatar Patrick says:

    Dear Angie,
    Thank you for the info. I will get that book. I have read books by Ceasar Millan ‘The dog whisperer’. He is very good also, but mostly deals with problem dogs. I have not had any out burst lately since I have re-established who is the leader of the pack, (ME). Well thanks again.

  43. Avatar Francesca says:

    I have 3 spaniels. Alfie who is 8, Teo who is 2 and oboe who is 9 months. We recently got obie and Teo got castrated not long after, due to fighting between the two eldest. Since the castration Teo as Alfie have been fighting a lot! It seems like Teo is starting it but its getting more and more vicious. We have run out of ideas to try and stop this and my mum is terrified it’s going to happen when she is alone with them and she won’t be able to break it up. We’ve tried removing toys but nothing seems to work. The fights can start over nothing and just out of the blue. Teo seems to be trying to become the dominant male since the new puppy has come in. Obie the youngest is starting to try an join in to protect Teo now which is very concerning.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      This is an involved question and I recommend you post it for free on our pet forum.
      There members can help at a 1:1 level.
      Good luck.

  44. Avatar Sharon says:

    hello, how do i tell which one of my dogs is 2ic to us, We have a male staffy 6yr which we have had since a pup and is use to having everything to himself, 3 weeks ago we rescued a female staffy who thinks all the toys and balls are all hers and they have had 2 fights, one stopped on its own because she yelped and was hurt, the other we had to pull him off, which is very hard to do, because he was in that frenzy mode, and again she got very hurt. Other than that they get on.
    Are we supposed to let them fight to sort it out and if so how without one being killed.



    • Avatar Marko says:

      Are we supposed to let them fight to sort it out and if so how without one being killed.

      uhhh no that doesn’t make sense since one dog can kill the other dog.
      Given the state of affairs now, if these were my dogs they would never ever be left alone until you are a jillion % sure that one of them won’t harm the other.
      Both dogs need obedience training. Everything belongs to YOU – the dogs own NOTHING.
      Until both dogs are taught this through obedience training your weaker dog is at risk of being killed and I’m not exaggerating in the least. The stakes are obviously higher when food and/or toys are at stake.

      Please ask someone you trust (like a vet) for a professional dog trainer. I like group training as it’s cheaper and the dogs get to learn with other dogs which teaches them additional socialization skills.

      Good luck.

  45. Avatar Sharon says:

    Thanks Marko, I will take all that on board. I also have posted on the forum and im getting great help on there as weel :-)

  46. Avatar Bernadette says:

    I have two male Jack Russell’s, same age (14 months) and from same family (brothers). They have just started to fight like crazy, as I understand they need to work out who’s Alpha with each other. What happens when both male dogs are very dominant? And both have Alpha traits? How do we fix this? Do we just wait it out? They start fighting when we come home, so we try and just stay as calm as we can for the pups. But I fear this bickering and fighting with the two dogs will never end as they are both just too dominant?!

  47. Avatar celina says:

    Hi Marko,
    I have a 7 year old black lab/ Sheppard mix. Yesterday we picked up a pit bull male puppy no older than 7 months. My lab is friendly with other dogs so we didn’t see an issue with getting another dog. The lab has attacked the puppy 4 times since yesterday and I am not sure how to solve this. I put a muzzle on the lab so he can’t actually hurt the puppy and so they can get use to each other. I need help!!

  48. Avatar ramaananth says:

    We first have a female labrador, she is 1 and a half year old, and she has been the only dog in our house. She was very active , cheerful and healthy in every way.
    Now we have been forced to take our daughter’s dog , which is also a Labrador but a male, he is 2 years old. He has also been brought up alone with no other dogs.
    Now she is forced to leave him with us as she is going to London to be with her husband. They tried to find a place in dog friendly area, but were unable to get one in their limited budget. So they thought since we have a big house with lot of open space and garden, and already with a same breed dog, they felt their dog would be happy here with us.
    Initially, I was reluctant, but with no other option for them, i had to agree to have the dog come and live with us. Both dogs are individually well behaved and friendly, but lately the male dog ( my daughter’s dog) has started taking all the play things from her, and she has also started giving it to him without any fuss, I feel she is threatened by his presence or maybe does not want to fight with him. He is also not hurting her , but she kind of just tolerates him i feel. She has also become very quiet, and has lost all her active charm.
    He too is sweet, for both his parents have left him in our care and and gone off to london. I feel sad for him too.
    So now, I play with them separately, so that he does not come in the middle claim her toys, and she does not feel left out. And I play with him too but again separately to make him feel wanted and loved.
    I am really at loss how to deal with the situation. I don’t want our dog to become depressed and fall sick.
    I want both dogs to be happy and secured, and loved, fr I love both of them. My husband takes them for walks together, and they don’t create any problems to him.
    My own dog seems to be depressed, that is what is worrying me.
    In fact when we give them bones they both don’t fight for the bones, each has its share at its own pace, and he even gives her his half chewed bone.
    We have a maid and two guards and they also love dogs and both are treated with love and care by all of them too.
    our dog is used to sleep outside with the guard in the night, but from the time the new dog as come she prefers to sleep alone at a different place as soon as she sees the new dog come and sleep with them.
    Please tell me , that it just a passing phase, and soon she would get used to him and know that both are loved equally and become friendly with him.
    They are both sterilized, so there is no question of mating, but is it enough, or do we have some problems not known to us in our hands. please answer as soon as possible.
    They both have had trainers, in the past, but both their trainers had left after few months of training saying these dogs seem not to be interested in learning anything substantial. of course both had different trainers in different place.
    And also how do I act as if I own all the toys and with my permission only they can play?
    Thanks. You can even email me at

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Love to help but this is too long for commenting in a blog post.
      Please copy and paste this and post it in our forum for free.
      Other members will be sure to help.
      Good luck!

  49. Avatar David says:

    Hi, I have 2 female dogs, none of them are trained, but respond to orders such as ¨Sit, NO¨ And they both answer to their names, one of them it´s a chocolate labrador, the other one was from the street, we adopt her, she is smaller than the other one, they both got along really well, for like a year, they never got trouble, then, a week ago, the bigger one started to growl, they got into a fight, we broke the fight, then, after a walk, they both calm down, and get along again, yesterday, they were barking at a dog, and i made a mistake, I stood between them, the bigger one, took it as a challenge, and came on the smaller one, there no fight, only growl, I ignore it, thinking it was nothing, then when i fed them, the bigger one, came on the smaller one, and they started a fight again, i broke up the fight and separate them, and now, the bigger one, just push the smaller one, or try to dominate her, they are not neuter. I really don´t know what to do, i´m afraid if i leave them alone, they are going to fight, and i´m not gonna be there, to stop it. Can you help me please?

  50. Avatar Sarah says:

    Hi, I had consulted this site a while ago for answers as i had 2 jack russell bitches from the same litter who had begun fighting when they were coming up to a year old. It was really really bad and upset me loads as i was starting to think we would have to give one away-which was not really an option. We had awful trouble and had to keep them separated when we were out and when they went to bed. Fights were usually triggered over toys/food etc. I purchased muzzles for the 2 of them as a bit of reassurance when they were together and then gradually used them as a punishment if they faught. we got them spayed hoping this would help with some of the female hormones and tension. i didnt hold much hope as it can sometimes do the opposite but for us it seemed to help. I also started more rigorous training with them both, going to obedience classes as well as agility to give them some stimulation. They are also walked daily. I also made sure they were fed a good bit apart and lifted food bowls as soon as they were finshed. I also removed all toys or things which i thought would start a fight. Doing all this i noticed a big improvment in behaviour and the frequency of the fights improved a lot. we have still had the odd fight maybe once a month for a bit, one of which was because we introduced a new toy but they havent faught now for a good few months. I have come to recognise their behaviour,look in eye or growling and use a very firm and stern voice to tell them to cut it out which works. Now they can play together, kicking a ball outside etc. Still a bit funny around dinner time but we know what we need to do. But a massive massive improvement. I think obedience is a big part to assert your dominance as the leader and that fighting behaviour is not acceptable. Just thought i would share my story that a soloution can be achieved.

  51. Avatar Tim says:

    Hi, I have two female labradors. 2 and half years old, siblings. They get on fine during the day, play fine and never fight. At night though, it’s a different story. They end up having quite vicious fights during the night and have to be separated, put outside for a few minutes to cool off. Both get treated exactly the same and are very gentle happy dogs. They can’t sleep apart though, if you take one into a different room they bark to be put back together so it’s not an option to separate them from one another. Both have been spayed also. Is there any way I can stop this? I want to make sure they don’t injure each other as the fights are quite serious and intense. Today I bought soft net muzzles and am intending on putting them on them as a pre-caution to stop any injury as soon as they start to fight. Not intended to be a long-term thing but I am hoping that after a week or so of putting the muzzles on them for the night whenever they start fighting it will teach them or train them not to do so. I don’t want to muzzle them for the entire night but for their own safety it appears to be the most likely way of stopping any serious injury to them to begin with. I’m hoping that after a week they’ll learn that the muzzle will go on for the night if they fight and will stop this behaviour so they won’t have to be muzzled anymore. Is there any danger in leaving the muzzles on over night, they’re lose fitting so they can drink easily and are quite soft so I don’t think it’l do any harm, and they’ll quickly learn to stop fighting and thus I won’t need to muzzle them at night. Anything else I can try?

  52. Avatar Jessey says:

    Hello. I have a 3 year old german shepherd and a 1 year old boxer/pitt mix. When I lived with my brother earlier in 2013 the mix would go after the shepherd every once in a great awhile, usually over a toy. My husband and i just moved into a new house a little under a month ago and now the “fighting” is at least 3 times a day. I use quotations because when the mix goes after the shepherd, there are never any wounds. They just growl and push on each other. It sounds a lot worse than it is but I’m afraid one day there will be actual biting going on. I’m constantly on edge because it usually happens out of no where… at least thats how it seems. My shepherd will walk by the mix and the mix attacks. They will both be waiting at the back door to go inside and the mix attacks. Is in home training the only solution? Because from what I have researched it is very expensive, a cost we cannot afford. When they fight, I pull on the mix’s collar and pull him back, then I cage him. I’ve been told thats not the solution but when trying to calmly break it up it never works. Nothing distracts the mix dog when hes in fight mode. Not sure what to do….

    • Avatar Marko says:

      imo, group training with both dogs is the best answer here. make sure the trainer is referred by someone you trust. It is cheaper and better (imo) than private home training. For a better back and forth I encourage you to post this in our forum. Good luck.

  53. Avatar Chase says:

    Hello I need help I have 3 yorkies they 1 is a shitzu yorky mix and the other ones are just yorkys we have 2 boys and 1 girl the mix we just got and is now bigger than the other male and they have been constantly fighting we have not had any bloody incindents yet I need any help I can get.
    Thank You

  54. Avatar Anna says:

    Hi there. I am hoping that you could offer me some advice… I have a 3 year old great dane. I recently adopted another great dane cross. She is 1 years old. When I am home they lived pretty much in harmony. However, every time I come back from work they are both covered in bite wounds. How can I stop them from fighting? I dont want tp separate them… but I am at breaking point. There are no trainersbin my area so am at a loss as to how I might get them to accept one another. I would very much appreciate any possible solutions. Thank you!

    • Avatar Marko says:

      If they can’t be trusted when you are away, they need to be separated.

      Since there are no trainers near you…they need to be separated when you are away.

      Feel free to post this on our forum for a better back and forth specific to your problem….maybe other members will have more to offer.
      Good luck!

  55. Avatar shawn says:

    hi there i have a bull mastiff/pitter mix and hes an awesome dog i just recently rescued a purebred boxer they are both male and roughly the same age both intact im looking for way to introduce them with out any fighting the first time they met the boxer fought with my other dog and have been nervous to introduce them again going to try taking them out for a walk to see if that helps

  56. Avatar philip partridge says:

    Hi please can you give me some guidence.My name is phil and I have two dogs , a whippet called penny who is 2 1/2 years old and a collie cross springer called lucy who is 1 1/2 years old.The problem I have is every time I walk them together they always end up fighting , yet in the house they are fine together.They are both off the lead when I walk them so stopping the fight before it gets to the red zone is a problem as they are often too far away for me to physically intervien and when they are chasing each other during the fight they will not listen to any commands. I have tried them on a long lead but they dont fight if one of them is on the lead. I would say it is lucy the collie cross that starts it alot of the time. There is no sign or change in her body language that alerts you that she is going to chase penny and fight, by this time they are both chasing each other and fighting, normally side by side with lucy biteing pennys cheek close to her eye’s.I have trained both of them to come to a whistle witch they both do when they are not fighting. I just dont know where else to turn as I am scared that they will end up seriously hurting each other. I am seriously thinking of giving lucy away to my parents as I am thinking that they are just not ever going to get along on walks.Thanks for reading.Phil P

    • Avatar Marko says:

      This is way too complex for a blog post comment Phil. Please post this on our forum where people can help with your particular issue.

  57. Avatar Etain says:

    Hi I have a female husky/border collie mix called Sasha that is very dominant over the other two dogs I have (male and female) probably just because they are both very submissive. She never fights with them but often guards food and snarls if there is food around.

    She was never aggressive towards other dogs unless they were in my house then she would get into a fight. Whenever she encounters another dog when I bring all of them out for a run she sticks her back hair up and spit her head down low and looks aggressive however she never used to do anything her tail would be wagging within a few minutes and she would play with the other dog. This still happens sometimes but she has also started to fight with some of them i noticed a few months ago she started resting her head on the back of dogs necks in a dominant way, this soon escalated into fights if the other dog didn’t like it.

    She never draws blood from the other dog when she fights but it still looks serious and scary, today she lay completely on top of the other dog and pinned it to the ground and stayed like that for a few minutes. She has met The dog she fought with today and has never had a problem with it until today, I noticed she was playing with it until I walked up, then she started growling at it and it turned into a fight.

    She fights with boy and girl dogs (sometime I think she thinks she’s a boy as she pees with her leg up against trees?) and is always snarling at me when she is excited (she never bites just makes husky noises and snarls) and also she always puts her paw on me as she wants attention a lot.

    I don’t know what to do I feel like I’ve tried everything .eg giving out and smacking her and also I tried being nice and talking to her in a calm voice and petting her when her back hair sticks up but nothing seems to work, she is extremely independent and likes to run off and do what she wants and will not listen to me unless I have treats she will sometimes run back. I Feel so embaressed when she fights other dogs and feel like shes getting worse no matter how hard I try, just wondering if you have any advice, thanks :)

  58. Avatar Pat says:

    We have two basset brothers one year old who growl and have to be kept apart when entering or leaving the car to go to or return from the dog park, for example. They have similar issues entering the house. We have had them since they were 4 months old and this has not been an issue until perhaps three months ago, and it is increasing in frequency. 90% of the time they are fine together. How can I stop this territorial behavior. Thanks!!

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi Pat,

      I’d recommend getting a referred trainer to help you with this. They will be able to give you hands on advice and they will see the problem directly. This type of scenatio is very complicated for a blog post comment. Feel free to post it in our forum.
      Good luck!

  59. Avatar Carli says:

    My good friends/former roommates have three dogs- a male yorkie around 3 years old, a female golden retriever around 4 years old, and an American bulldog who is almost 2. The golden retriever came first, and the yorkie came about a year later. They got along great, and still do. The American bulldog came to them when he was still a puppy and intact (we weren’t sure how old he was because we rescued him directly from someone who wasn’t taking care of him, but our guess was no more than 6 months). I should mention that the golden is also a rescue, and although my friends have had her for years, she is still not your typical happy-go-lucky golden. She is skittish and does not like unfamiliar people, and she really doesn’t like men, except for my roommate and a few other close friends of ours. Anyway, the issue is between the golden and the bulldog. After he (the bulldog) got neutered, he calmed down tremendously and turned into a wonderful dog. He does get a little rough sometimes when he’s excited to see someone, but nothing crazy or unusual. They’ve had him for a year and a half and the golden and the bulldog learned to like each other and were getting along just fine. They would get a little rough in their play sometimes, but they coexisted just fine. Well, recently, they have been getting into fights. Pretty nasty ones, too, and it’s becoming more frequent. The golden is the instigator pretty much 100 percent of the time, and they both end up with wounds. My roommates have been bitten a few times trying to break them up. We all know that trying to break them up that way is not a good idea, but when it’s happening, they don’t have a lot of time to go over the game plan. I suggested an airhorn, because we keep dog safety kits at my job and I do remember that those are in them (I am a dog groomer). I’m trying to get some more advice before they are forced to rehome one of their babies. What would cause them to fight after living in harmony for a year and a half? How can this be corrected? Any insight and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  60. Avatar Angie says:

    Carli, Tell ur friends to buy ‘the dog listener’ by jan fennell. Totally transformed my 2 dogs. They were also fighting and causing wounds but once we started following the training methods in her book my dogs were like different dogs.

  61. Avatar michael says:

    i have a 3 year old border collie and a 11 month German Sheppard. the GS wants to play all the time and the border collie ends up lifting her top lip over her nose and snarling and then air snaps at him and some times even trys to attack him. ?

    i had the GS snipped last week and went to take him for his check up today. i got with in 100 yards of the vets and out of the blue he jumped up and grabbed my arm and tryed to pull me down to the ground. soon as i turned and started to walk back home he was fine. any idea’s?

    on there own they are very well trained. but put them together and they just ignore every command.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I’d say – dooger is not fond of the vet….but dooger needs to listen in all cases.
      In this case I’d definitely get a referred trainer to come take a look. Obedience training may well need to be strenghthened here.
      Of course feel free join the forum and ask this question there for a better back and forth.
      Good luck!

  62. Avatar Celinea says:

    Okay. So I’ve got these two females dogs. One is a Rottweiler and the other a Siberian Husky. Both are around the same age and have always been able to get along. They were always in the same yard together, feed together, walked together. Everything. A few weeks back they both came on heat at basically the exact same time. Then, they started fighting. Nothing serious at first, but then I became worried. They were grabbing each other around the throat and not letting go. You would get them apart and they would just try to run back at each other. I sent the Rottweiler away to a friend just until she got off heat thinking that was the best thing to do. But now, I cannot re introduce them to each other. They still just want to kill the other one. I’ve tried putting muzzles on both and just letting them sort it themselves, I’ve tried being the main focus of attention when bringing them together. I literally have no clue how to safely put them back together. I’ve had both since they were pups and really don’t want to have to re home either. Will behavioural training fix this, or is it more serious then that.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      It doesn’t sound like you are a professional breeder so you should spay these two dogs and that in and of itself may help.
      But YES, a referred experienced trainer should be able to help you.
      Good luck.

  63. Avatar christy says:

    I have 4 dogs one who is the alfa male a silky terrier and a female pom,and there 2 babies, I just had the male terrier neutered and since that my female who is not yet fixed had become so aggressive towards him it’s unbearable. I just know one day he will hurt her up to now he hasn’t. but they are getting worse every-time they fight there was blood last time, He doesn’t want to fight it’s al her and I don’t understand why for 21/2 yrs.. they have been best of fiends. Please help

    • Avatar Marko says:

      For a better back and forth please post this on our forum but it goes without saying that they should not be left alone unsupervised until this is resolved.

      Good luck.

  64. Avatar Lisa says:

    Hi. I have a female pit bull who is spayed and a female lab who is not spayed yet. The pit bull keeps standing over the lab while she is on the floor, she won’t let her up at times. My lab is in her first heat, after that is over I plan on taking her to get spayed. Why is my pit bull doing this to her?

  65. Avatar Emilianne Fitzpatrick says:

    Hello I have two male dogs, one is 9 years old Jack Russell minature and the other is a Puggle almost 3 years old. They’ve had a few fights but one just got really ugly. The Jack Russell almost died, my puggle had him by the ear almost ripping it off. I love them both very very much they are my babies and do not want to get rid of one. I am extremely scared and do not want another fight to happen again because I know my Jack Russell will be dead next time. They are not neutered and we have an appointment for them to get neutered in a few weeks, I’m just wondering if this is going to help? I need some advice because I am really scared and worried. These dogs are my children. Thank you

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi emilianne,

      You need more than advice. You need a trainer with aggression experience to go to your place, evaluate what is going on and offer advice based on what they see in your house.
      The trainer will have many questions for you….and will develop a plan for you.
      The neutering may well help and is a great start!

      Until then, if these were my dogs, they would be separated 100% of the time when they weren’t under my direct supervision.
      Good luck!

  66. Avatar Ryan says:

    I have 3 Boxers, mom 8yrs and spayed, father 3yrs in tacked, son 2yrs in tacked. A few wks ago the father and son began having bouts with each other, over treats, toys, standing over each other. We would break it up, separate them for an hr or so and they were best of friends again. About 4 days ago the father and son had another bout, but this time it seemed more aggressive the the bouts they had here and there. And since that bout 4 days ago every time I bring them near each other the break out into a huge fight. We now have the boys separated, as they can’t be near each other without fighting. Today mom and father broke into a fight and I seporated them as well. I scheduled an appointment for the boys with the vet to be neutered in 2 days. I don’t know what happened or how we got here. I don’t know what to do. This is very disheartening and frustrating


    • Avatar Marko says:

      Hi Ryan – this is too complex for a blog post.
      Please post this in our forum for free for a better back and forth between you and other pet owners.
      Good luck!

  67. Avatar amanda says:

    I have two grey hounds one entire one not and about a year ago we got a female ridgeback and she is about 3 the hounds are the same age and all was fine and now she just really gets aggressive towards the fixed hound and he can literally do nothing with out her annoying Him!!!! Does anyone know what to do there are no animal behaviour people in my area it’s very stressful :-/

  68. Avatar Dianne says:

    I have a 2.5 year old Rhodesian. He has been in daycares since he was 6 months old. He has always gotten along with dogs and I had on rare occasion seen him a little to agressive but he had never got into a fight with another dog. This weekend that all changed when we went camping and there were three other dogs present. three males and one female total. All of the dogs were fixed except one male. My dog fart with all three dogs at different times and had to be pulled off. The other dogs played nicely with each other but my dog took toys away from them fought to get to the ball first. It was a stressful experience for me because his behavior was out of line. One of the fights was another dog eating a treat and my dog went for the treat and they had to be separated. Another time my dog was on a lead and the dog walked in his “territory”. His last fight was swimming after a ball he but the dogs ear to get the ball first. At home there are no other dogs and my dog gets along with all the dogs in the neighborhood. I’m confused as to why he behaved like this. The trainers I talked to on returning have said it was just my dog being dominant. I am nervous and I really don’t want a dog behaving like this. Can you advise?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Sure – sounds to me like your dog was never properly socialized and his aggression was never treated.
      “and I had on rare occasion seen him a little to agressive but he had never got into a fight with another dog”

      This is a sign that your dog needs training so if you want to avoid this for the future, get a referral from someone you trust and get this dog obedience training. It will be the best investment you make in this dog.
      Good luck!

  69. Avatar Mark says:


    I have two dogs which keep fighting. One is a pug and the other a cross jack Russell/pug.

    The jug is younger (2y) and is very jealous as she fights the male pug when there is food or attention involved.

    We have tried everything to prevent this from happening but it is getting worse. During the day they are best if friends who can’t leave each other’s side.

    Any advice would be appreciated

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Both dogs need group obedience training from a professional referred by someone you trust.

      This will be the best investment you make in your dogs.

      Good luck

  70. Avatar elaine howett says:

    i have a border terrior crossed with a paterdale he will be 4 in april and in the house he is so good never barks always does what he is told . When he was younger he was very sociable with other dogs but in the past few months he has had a few fights with other dogs most of the time he is fine he usually waits on the other dog passing has a sniff then comes after me but i am now getting nervous wenever i take him out because of these fights whch are unpredictable i also cannot let him off the lead if there is any live stock in the area as he goes after them and lastly he has a habbit of running off and just coming back when he feels like it even though he knows he is in trouble i hav seen me lookin for him for 2 hours . Is there anything i can do to stop him fighting with other dogs as it is now putting me off taking him out where other dogs are .

  71. Avatar Lena says:


    I have a German Shepherd (female) aged 6yrs, we had her from a pup & lived with our Chihuahua (male) who was the boss. Unfortunately our little Chihuahua died unexpectedly, the German Shepherd was lost without him not eating etc so we decided to get a pup for a bit of company for her as she always got on well with the chihuahua.

    The new pup is a miniature Schnauzer 9 weeks old & she’s desperate to play with the German shepherd, we’ve put the pup in a crate to introduce the pup however this meeting hasn’t gone to well as the shepherd keeps snapping, nipping an barking at the pup…I’m scared she’s going to attack the pup, is this normal behaviour when introducing a pup & is there anything I can do to help the situation?

    • Avatar Marko says:

      This is too complicated for a blog post comment.
      Please post this in our forum – it’s free and other members will be able to help you. Good luck!

  72. Avatar Lynn says:

    Hello Wife and I have two 3 1/2 year old male Sharpei’s from the same litter. Both were neutered at 6 months. We are looking at bringing in a female Sharpei into the home. It is 4 months old. Looking for advice and some of the pros and cons of this scenario. Obviously would have the female spayed as soon as practical. Currently the males get along fairly well, engaging on spirited play throughout the day, depending on how much they “rested” during the day. Dogs are left alone during the day and have access to the fenced in yard with plenty of play room. Appreciate any comments/advice here, before I may the investment. Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Not 100% sure about this one and it’s an EXCELLENT question. Please post it in our forum where other members will see this and answer it personally.
      Good luck

  73. Avatar Alicia says:

    Hello I have a 2 and half year old boxer male and a 1 and a half year old male german shepherd. We got the german shepherd at 8 weeks and he has always lived with us and the boxer. About three weeks ago we had to put our oldest boxer down he was 13 and in bad health. Now the boxer and shepherd have had some small fights but just this weekend they got into a big fight. The boxer started it he usually does but the shepherd is stronger and more powerful he ended up getting the boxers throat and it took us a little bit to get them to stop. The boxer did have to go get stitches in his neck and face. The shepherd never acts aggressive about anything the boxer had but it has never gotten this bad. We brought the boxer home from the vet yesterday and they still want to kill each other I need help I don’t know what to do. The boxer is caged just so he is protected from anything due to his injuries. But they try to get each other through the cage and letting them fight it out is not an option or the boxer will be killed.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Contact a professional referred trainer from someone you trust.
      These issues are solvable, but you need someone with aggression experience.
      Good luck!

  74. Avatar Dakota says:

    Dogs Snapping?

    Hi I have a 6 month old jack russell that we rescued when he was about 10 weeks old and a Pomeranian who is almost 3. Lately if I pick them up at the same time my pomeranian has been snapping at my JR which results in a serious fight. Usually if I yell they both stop and look very sad, but i am worried of this being a permanent thing. Pom is also becoming jealous and occasionally there is a fight over food, Today I tried grabbing them which ended up me getting accidentally bitten. I assume this is a phase due to maturing and dominance, and hoping it will pass. Please let me know if you have any advice, thanks.

  75. Avatar Cait says:

    I have 2 female staffies, one 4 and one 2. We adopted the younger one 6-7 months ago and the dogs got along well for the first 5 months. However they got into the first fight when we were away and have gotten into 3 fights since. The first 3 fights, they were around other dogs so we stopped allowing them around other dogs. We also found out our older dog needed acl surgery so we scheduled that and thought that would be the end of the fighting. However they just got into a bad fight while our younger dog was sitting in between us and our older dog approached. The younger dog went after the older one and would not stop attacking her and the older one had to get stitches. The fighting came out of nowhere and apart from the fights they are perfectly fine together. I’ve contacted a local trainer and we are keeping them away from each other but I’m terrified I’ll have to re-home the newer dog because I care about them both so much. Please help!

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