In the last week I have had 4 separate enquires from people needing help because one of their dogs is attacking another of their dogs. This is obviously very upsetting for the people who enquired as the dogs are all a part of the family, and it can be very difficult to see that these problems can be overcome and that there isn’t a need to permanently split the dogs up.
Why does it happen?
When one of your dogs is attacking another, the most likely reason is because that dog feels that he/she is the “top dog” and sees the other one as a threat/challenger to that position, and believes that he/she needs to be put in their place. It’s most common for this to happen between the same sex, as they are both vying for the Alpha male or female role dependent, but it can also happen between a male and female if one feels that the other has stepped out of line and is now jeopardising the pack.
Another reason is that your dog may be feeling weak/vulnerable and is attacking out of self preservation. This can happen when a more elderly or poorly dog is faced with a new, younger, more boisterous companion and just doesn’t appreciate their attempts to play. In either case, this behaviour can be resolved.
What to do when your is dog attacking your other dog?
The actual methodology behind how to stop this is too complicated to write in a blog article, but what I can explain quite easily is that it’s all about taking charge yourself. If you are the Alpha of your pack then:
- Your dogs don’t need to fight between them over who is the Alpha. AND
- They will accept your decisions on what is appropriate behaviour between them, so it is easier to show them that attacking/warning one another is not on – and it actually makes a difference.
Not only that, but taking the Alpha role in the home has a hugely calming effect on the dogs, so they are much less volatile day to day. It’s easier to get their responsiveness to basic requests, and they aren’t motivated to do things like pull on the lead any more.
These two beauties used to fight terribly, but thanks to their owners taking the leadership, they are now the best of friends again.
How can I learn to be Alpha?
There are many different paths to learn how to be Alpha, some of which are actually very confrontational and therefore can result in MORE fighting, so the only approach I recommend is using the technique which is known as AB (Amichien Bonding), which is the natural and kind approach to leadership. Think leadership through trust rather than forced upon them as a dictatorship.
If you are based in Essex and the surrounding areas, then I can come to your home and teach you personally, as a family, everything you need to be doing to take leadership and stop the fighting between your dogs. If you are outside of this area, then I can recommend going to your local Dog Listener, via Jan Fennell’s website.