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Bark n Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk

Jan 27, 2018

Kersti Nieto, Dog Trainer at Dog Training Camp USA discusses what to do when you have pack competition. 

Dogs consider their home as a territory they need to defend, so they can get aggressive when another animal enters. It's very important to know what to do when two dogs don't get along to prevent more serious problems.

One of the most important issues is training them properly. As the owner, you are responsible for getting your pets to respond to your orders and obey the rules of the house. This is a very important step when it comes to introducing a new member into the family. If the two dogs don't get along you can start teaching orders to the new dog separately and gradually begin teaching them together as the training progresses.

By doing this, you can teach each animal to respect the space and possessions of the other. Each dog will have its own bed, food bowl and toys - especially at the start - which is why there will be fewer problems with possessiveness and jealousy.

The roles should be well marked: You are the leader of the pack and the dogs need to know it. Nonetheless, remember that violence leads to more violence, and you should never reprimand your dogs by hitting them or shouting at them aggressively. This is not only animal abuse, but can actually make your dogs more aggressive and cause them to fight more between each other - and perhaps even attack you. You can make your dogs respect you by using different training methods like positive reinforcement, rewarding good behaviors instead of punishing bad ones.

There is also hierarchy among the animals. Dogs may growl or challenge each other after the introduction of a new member to the family unless one of the two dogs is clearly submissive. This is a normal attitude and there is no need to worry.

Dogs sometimes fight for the affection of the owner, so you should avoid showing more affection to one than the other. At the same time, you should show the veteran of the house that nothing has changed despite the arrival of a new friend.

What to do when two dogs get along very badly?

If you have followed our advice but still feel that you can't control your dogs and you don't know what to do if your two dogs get along very badly, it will be best to consult a canine ethologist, who will analyse the situation and help you find a solution to the problem.

As we explained, growling and small feuds are common among dogs. However, serious fightsand situations which you cannot control require the visit of a professional who will guide you with appropriate guidelines and tips for your particular case. The ethologist will help you by evaluating your daily routine - including walks, exercise and other aspects - the welfare of both dogs and the possible causes of the problem.