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 In Dog Behavior

Fighting is an unfortunate result of dogs social structure. When dogs get into groups, the natural hierarchy of the “pack” becomes evident in their social behavior. This is a big generalization, because their are unique circumstances, but important for dog owners to understand if they want to improve their dog’s behavior. Here’s what to do with dogs that don’t get along.

alpha dog, weiner dogHave you ever been able to pick out the Alpha dog in a group of dogs? Their behavior isn’t always aggressive towards the other dogs in the group, and in fact may rarely ever be. Dog’s have a social hierarchy loosely controlled by one “alpha” dog. This dog may have noticeable control over the resources; balls, chew toys and beds. The alpha dog is followed by subordinate dogs who are ranked according to their willingness to share the resources. Usually the alpha dog is followed by a beta dog who may, in certain situations, attempt to assert dominance to gain resources, or the affections of human beings.

Households with two or more dogs may encounter problems such as aggression and fighting, especially when I new dog is brought into the home. Generally speaking, territories are very important, as well as relationships to other dogs and humans. Conflict is most likely to arise in the presence of humans.

What You Can Do With Two Dogs That Don’t Get Along

Never praise the beta dog or the subordinate because you feel sorry for them. This could result in even more tension between the dogs while you’re around, or change the behavior of the subordinate dog for the worst.

The beta dog may actually become an instigator if you ignore the social hierarchy and praise them when the alpha dog asserts dominance. This will disrupt the order naturally and lead to more fighting.

Your dog’s may have only just began fighting after a few months of peace in the house. This usually happens when a younger dog reaches maturity, and the older (alpha) dog is experiencing declining health and fitness. When this happens, a move for dominance may occur.

Other Solutions

Praise the dominant dog. I know, don’t feed his ego right? As hard as it may be for you to accept, you must acknowledge and understand the hierarchy in order to keep the peace. Don’t reject it or your dogs will continually reject each other.

Practice giving your alpha dog more ready access to resources. This means, feed him first, let him have the water bowl, and the comfy spot by your side when both dog’s are present. This will make your alpha and beta dog both happier and less confrontational. If your beta dog wants to challenge for resources, it should be on his own terms and not instigated by you.


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