Four Battle-Tested Tips: Combatting Dog-on-Dog Aggression

It starts so suddenly. Your furry friends have lived together in harmony for years, but now they are snarling, snapping and biting at each other like bargain hunters on Black Friday. I’ve been there, and so have millions of caring and competent dog owners. Take heart and a nice deep breath, and try my pro tips for your cranky canines:

  • Follow the leader: Implement a daily training strategy. Work each dog individually while the other is crated to watch and learn. Assuming control turns their focus to you and away from each other.
  • Divide and conquer: Use a divider like a tall baby gate that the dogs can see through. Put one dog on each side. When they look at each other, ignore them. When they look up at you, toss a couple of treats behind each of them, so they must turn away from each other to get the prize. Treats have to be very good to inspire them to turn the other cheek. I like Just for Puppy Mini Soft Treats from Wellness and Blue Bits from Buffalo Blue.
  • Take it to the streets: Take some field trips with your dogs. Bring a friend to help with the handling and make sure they are separated in the car (crates are safest). Neutral territory like a park or farmer’s market provides healthy stimulation and social opportunities for dogs. If they are fine together out in public, the problem at home is largely territorial.
  • Knowing is half the battle: Take note of when and where these aggression incidents have occurred. Does it happen when they jostle each other to go outside? At feeding time? On the sofa? Teach them to Wait at the doorway and usher them out one by one. Reclaim the sofa and feed them in their crates or in entirely separate rooms.

Effective management can go a long way to establishing peace talks with your dogs. Keep an eye on their body language and don’t hesitate to interrupt a tense moment with a well-timed command and yummy reward. Increasing exercise and training time will help get their brains and bodies working for you. With a little bit of planning and a little bit of work doggie order can soon be restored.

Got double dog problems? Let’s hear your stories.