Dog on Dog Aggression – My 2 dogs have started showing signs of aggression towards each other
(guelph ont can)
I have recently adopted a 1 year old female Pug, I also have a 2 yr old female puggle, both are spayed . They get along very well, the older one has been very tolerant of the puppy behavior. I find they are very similar in temperament. About a month ago they started having very aggressive exchanges, usually over a bone or chew toy, now it can be over nothing, it’s definitely more than just rough housing. I’m actually challenged when trying to pull them apart . They have not yet hurt each other but I do believe the potential is there as I was bitten and have been badly scratched while intervening. I don’t feel that they have established who the alpha dog is. Should I continue to pull them apart when this happens or should I leave them to settle it themselves? Outside of these encounters they get along well and enjoy each other .
Hi and thanks for your question – you hit th nail on the head when you said they have not sorted out who is the Alpha dog yet. If they were causing injury to each other then I would be concerned but this has not happened yet. It is good that they get on well most of the time – I will give you some tips below on how to work with two dogs that are working out their status.
A dog does not actually care where they are in the the social structure of a pack as long as they know they have a place in the pack. It sounds like your two dogs have yet to establish who is the top dog and each time you pull them apart you are just delaying the inevitable – they must sort out who is the alpha dog in the pack. Once your dogs have sorted out who is the alpha dog they will both be happy. If you keep interrupting them they will just wait until later to have another scrap and will sort out there issues then (when you are not around). Of course if they are going to cause each other injury or damage then that is the time to call in a canine behavior expert who can observe each dog, how they interact and what will need to be done to sort out any issues.
Once one of the dogs has worked out what position they are in the pack you will need to reinforce the pack leaders position – this means feeding her first, letting her have the best place on the couch, letting her walk through the door first etc You should still give each of them equal attention and praise so they feel they are equally loved. You will soon work out who is the alpha dog as the pack leader will keep her head higher, she will nudge the other out of the way – basically the lower ranking female will be submissive to the higher ranking female at all time.
Hope this helps