Sudden aggression between dogs of the same household can be alarming and downright baffling to owners. It also presents obvious safety concerns and leaves everyone (including both two- and four-footers) on edge.
Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Below, we’ll explain some of the reasons seemingly random aggression occurs between canine housemates and discuss what you can do about it.
Key Takeaways: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Aggressive with Other Dogs in the House?
- There are a variety of reasons dogs may show sudden aggression towards each other. Some of the most common causes of conflict between familiar dogs include frustration, illness, and resource guarding.
- You’ll need to clearly identify the root of the problem to restore household harmony. However, it is important to understand that the underlying tension that leads to these outbursts has usually been present for a while.
- You can sometimes help prevent these kinds of canine conflicts via normal dog management techniques and minor lifestyle adjustments. But unfortunately, you’ll often need to work with a certified canine behaviorist to address dog aggression — this is not a problem to take lightly.
Why Do Dogs Show Sudden Aggression Toward Other Dogs?
First and foremost, we’re not talking about ongoing dog aggression today.
Instead, we’re focusing on pups that normally get along, who then show sudden aggression toward one another (including cases in which the violence is one-sided, as well as those times in which both dogs are fighting or acting antagonistically).
Typical dog aggression and reactivity are different issues that require specific approaches under professional supervision. On the other hand, you may be able to address sudden, out-of-the-blue episodes of canine-on-canine aggression yourself — largely via management strategies.
But before going further, it is important to note that sudden aggression between dogs in multi-dog families can often be traced back to long-term stressors.
These lingering issues mount on a daily basis, until the dogs are suddenly set off by a sudden “straw that broke the camel’s back” interaction, resulting in a growl, snap, bite, or in the worst cases, a full-fledged fight.
Think of it like something poking at you repeatedly until you finally react.
Even when these outbursts seem to come out of nowhere, there is usually a history of antagonism or frustration between the dogs. However, dogs rely heavily on body language to communicate, and it’s not uncommon for owners to miss the signs of a brewing confrontation.
The most common causes of sudden aggression between doggy roommates fall into any of several buckets, which we’ll discuss below.
Illness or Injury
Illness and injury are both common causes of canine conflict.
It’s easy to understand why: If your dog isn’t feeling his best, he’s bound to be cranky. Your other pup can then aggravate the ill or injured doggo, and earn a snap or warning growl in return.
And while this is can happen with any dogs, it’s a particularly common issue between younger and older dogs. The youngster just wants to play, play, play, while the senior — who’s often feeling achy or otherwise unwell — just snaps when he’s had enough. Conflict is not terribly surprising in these situations
So, whenever you see unexpected aggression between puppers who live in the same house, it’s a good idea to bring both dogs to the vet for a thorough examination. This can help rule out health-related causes.
The guarding of toys, furniture, or food can be a problem in multi-dog households, particularly when a new doggo joins the family. In these cases, one of your dogs fears losing something of value to the other dog.
The reactions will tend to escalate over time as the stress builds, moving from growing to biting if the situation is not corrected. It’s essential to address these issues ASAP if you want to get your family dogs to stop fighting.
Resource guarding requires all family members to be onboard with soothing the stressed dog. He should be made to feel secure that there are enough resources to go around and that he’s not going to lose his favorite chew, toy, or dinner to the other pooch.
Also, he should never punished for reacting negatively — this can just worsen the anxiety he’s feeling and lead to additional conflicts.
Instead, just separate your dogs during feeding, when distributing treats, or toy-chewing time, and never leave high-value items such as bones out. However, resource guarding is a serious issue, and it’ll usually be wisest to work with a certified canine behaviorist anytime resource guarding takes place.
A shift in routine, new family member, or your own worries can stress your dogs out. Dogs thrive on routines, and disruptions in their daily life can take a toll on our furry friends.
We know it’s hard (and sometimes downright impossible), but try to make these transitions as smooth as possible. Ensure that your dogs’ schedules and surroundings remain as similar as you can, and make any necessary changes gradually to help avoid creating anxiety.
New people to the home (such as new romantic partners, new roommates, or older children returning home after long absences) can also lead to stress.
Not to mention that new individuals in your dog’s life may treat the dog differently than you, which can end up resulting in a dog disliking a certain family member or visitor.
In such cases, you’ll want to continue to keep their daily regimen as normal as possible, and do everything you can to foster a positive relationship between both dogs and the new person.
Frustration can increase the odds of conflict among anyone — including our dogs!
For example, dogs who lack sufficient interaction with their humans or fail to get enough daily exercise may act out through aggression. Imagine how aggravating it must be to be trapped inside all day or having to go for long stretches without your favorite person!
We’d probably get pretty touchy too.
One of the best ways to treat frustration is through action, such as implementing more daily walks or backyard play. In some cases, this will be all that’s necessary to ratchet down the temperature between the pups.
Another few other ideas you may want to try include:
- Hire a dog walker for a midday stroll if you’re stuck at work all day.
- Consider interactive dog toys to keep your canines’ brains buzzing.
- Set up “scavenger hunts” to give your doggo something to do.
The goal in any of these cases is to get your dogs’ bodies and minds moving through engaging interactions and exercise.
It’s not unusual for two dogs to not see eye to eye when one is a young pup and the other is a tired old senior. As mentioned above, physical ailments associated with an aging canine (such as degrading eyesight, arthritis, and joint pain) can make a dog grumpier and more on edge.
However, it’s worth noting that puppies can be just super darn annoying!
Just as a 60-year-old grandfather probably has little interest in hanging out with a bunch of young frat boys, many greying canines have little patience for a pup’s misadventures. And it isn’t fair to put all the blame on the senior dog in these cases – pups are notoriously obnoxious and will often ignore an older dog’s requests to be left alone. Make sure to advocate for your senior dog and avoid letting the pup harass him!
Even two dogs of similar ages might simply have different play styles and personalities that cause conflict. As humans who are not always well-versed in canine body language, it can be easy for us to blame a dog fight on the dog who let out the first nip. But in many cases, the other dog may have been subtly haranguing and pestering the other dog for a long time already.
This is all simply to say that you shouldn’t take sides too quickly and remember that it’s common for us to miss some of the larger context that happens around dog-on-dog conflicts.
Sometimes, redirected arousal is linked to conflict among dogs who know each other. This occurs when one dog reaches a certain level of arousal or excitement and then redirects his energy negatively through biting the other dog (or, in some cases, a person).
This is sometimes caused outdoors by invisible fences — especially when these devices are first put into use. Another common scenario involves fence-fighting behavior between dogs on either side of a boundary.
In these or similar cases, the result is similar to the dog frustration fights discussed earlier: One dog turns his frustration on another dog, resulting in a bite or all-out fight.
Note that these kinds of redirected-arousal conflicts can also occur in happy times, when your pups are excited. This may happen when the doorbell rings or while you’re preparing for a walk.
In cases of redirected arousal, the key is preventing your dogs from ever reaching that level of arousal and positively harnessing the excitement.
In other words, try to lower the overall excitement level and give them both something constructive to do. This may mean teaching your dogs the doorbell means getting treats in their kennels or that sitting on their beds is required before a walk.
However, in other cases, it may require avoiding the situation entirely, such as going inside when the neighbor’s dog is out or getting rid of the underground fencing system. This is another case in which you may need the help of a certified behaviorist to determine which strategy is wisest.
Some dogs display aggressive behavior when fearful, such as during a storm or fireworks. Others may attack their doggo siblings or roommates following punishment or other harsh training strategies.
Once again, aggressive reactions in these cases are completely understandable — we all get edgy when frightened.
In these situations, you want to alleviate your dogs’ anxiety to eliminate the negative fear response.
There are a variety of ways to reduce your dog’s anxiety, but it’s often necessary to match your management strategy with the triggering event or stimulus.
In the event of storms or fireworks, for example, you may need to invest in a Thundershirt, play calming music, or in extreme cases, opt for prescribed dog anxiety medications. If the cause of the anxiety is a recent move or change in lifestyle, you’ll want to provide plenty of comfort and reassurance to your pup and also try to implement some familiar aspects of daily life (such as a routine walk every day at the same time).
Regarding dogs who also act out after harsh punishment or training techniques, our advice is simple: Stop doing that. Yelling or scolding your dog (never mind doing even worse things) will not only prove unproductive and unlikely to yield the desired results, they’re also just disrespectful to your dog.
Before going further, let’s be clear about one thing: Dogs may try to dominate other dogs or establish hierarchical relationships, but they do not do these things with humans. Full stop.
So please, for the love of dogs, do not “alpha roll” your pup or engage in any similarly rude and outdated “techniques.”
But among each other, dogs may occasionally have tiffs over hierarchy and their place in the “pack.”
These tensions — like most aggression stressors — build over time. Relationships are like tectonic plates in a way, shifting as this pressure builds and builds until something triggers a reaction finally. Your dogs may have multiple negative interactions that you don’t notice, but they most certainly do.
Solving dog-to-dog issues can be tricky, but it starts with establishing respect and creating “cool down” time away from one another to relax and work things out.
This might be napping separately or enjoying backyard time alone if one dog pesters the other. Pack walks and sniffari adventures are also helpful for strengthening their bond again, too (as long as they don’t aggravate either dogs’ triggers).
How Can You Help Your Dogs Get Along Better?
Building back your pups’ once-solid relationship will take some work, but it’s possible in many cases.
As with most canine issues, this is a marathon and not a sprint, so you shouldn’t expect everything to be hunky-dory in no time. You need to take a careful approach and cover all your bases to ensure a happy household once again.
However, if you’re dealing with two dogs who have never really seen eye-to-eye, you might have to rely on management strategies to keep everyone safe and happy — check out our guide on how to live with two dogs who don’t get along for more information on how to manage that arrangement.
Learn Dog Body Language
In a multi-dog family, it’s vital to learn dog body language and know the signs of imminent danger or fighting to prevent further issues from happening. When dogs are having a problem with one another, they don’t always “voice” it through growling or barking, so you need to pay attention to their bodies.
Signs of trouble include:
- Whale eyeing
- Stiff movement
- Rigid tail movements
- Snarling or growling
- High tail wagging
- Bared teeth
- One dog placing his head over the shoulders or back of another
- Direct head-on, eye contact
If an actual dog fight ever occurs, never try to separate your dogs using your hands. You may suffer a very serious injury, which will only make the situation worse.
It’s important to note that dog fights often sound a lot worse than they are and are seemingly over before they begin, but that doesn’t mean you should even put yourself in the middle of one.
Instead, grab your dogs’ attention by yelling or blasting an airhorn. You can also throw water or a blanket on the dogs to separate them. If all else fails, use a break stick or other large, hard object to wedge the dogs apart, or use the “wheel barrow” technique if you have a friend who can help (both people essentially grab the legs of a different dog and walk backwards).
Remove Underlying Stressors
Once you know the warning signs of trouble, work on eliminating the underlying stressors that led to the breakdown.
This essentially means addressing the issues and implementing the strategies we discussed earlier, including:
- Sort out any health issues your dogs may have
- Set up physical boundaries where they are lacking (such as during feeding time)
- Reestablish a cohesive pack where each dog respects the other’s personal space.
This can also mean giving your dogs a break from one another if they’re getting on one another’s nerves through the use of indoor gates or rotating crate time where one dog is crated for a few hours to rest while the other gets play time and attention from you, and then switching the setup.
While it certainly isn’t ideal, some owners live on a 24/7 dog rotation schedule that implements gates, crates, and household management to ensure that two incompatible dogs are never (or rarely) in the same space at the same time. This isn’t an easy system to manage and can be stressful for the dogs and humans in the home, but it is a possibility and can at the very least be done temporarily while you assess all your other options.
Avoid Trigger Stressors
To avoid dog-on-dog conflict, try to dodge trigger stressors at all costs. These are the igniting instances that created the burst of aggression.
For example, if your dogs are snapping at one another around high-value chews or redirecting their frustration during excited backyard play, you’ll want to sidestep these issues.
Some novice owners mistakenly think that they need to let the dog perform the unwanted behavior (in this situation, snapping at the co-habitant dog) and then punish the dog to show that the behavior is unacceptable.
However, this strategy can often backfire, can increase irritation or fear associated with the other dog, and allows your dog to practice the undesired behavior. Whenever dealing with an undesired behavior, your goal should be to prevent the dog from practicing and repeating the behavior while finding an alternative behavior for the dog to engage in instead.
So for this particular situation, you may try distributing treats when the dogs are separate, and make sure to intervene and redirect them when they’re getting over-excited. You may also need to keep all chews, toys, or trigger items out of sight for dogs who resource guard.
It might also mean enjoying one-on-one time in the yard between you and one of the dogs at a time, rather than playing with both dogs together. Doing so will also help you avoid any problems with uncontrolled variables, like the neighbor’s dog, who is known to get your dogs riled up.
Increasing Exercise and Interaction
It is remarkable how many different problems additional exercise can solve. So, if your dogs are fighting and lack sufficient daily physical and mental exercise, now is the time to pump it up.
Just make sure the exercise if fun! You are trying to wear your pooch out the same way your child may be exhausted after a day at the pool. You don’t want to make your dog trudge on for mile after boring mile, just to make him tired.
Simple walking together will often suffice if you give Spot plenty of time to sniff the roses (or, more likely, pee spots). It can also help restore a pack bond and burn off energy at the same time. Fetch or tug-of-war are both even better (though they may tire you a bit too). You can also look into canine sports like dock-jumping or agility to get their hearts pumping.
Never underestimate the power of touch, either. In addition to telling your dogs how handsome they are, make sure you shower them in rubs and pats. Petting is a calming, reassuring interaction between you and your dogs.
Whether caused by storms, fireworks, or life itself, anxiety is never fun. Dogs with anxiety need to find relief in some form to break the cycle of fear and fear-based aggression.
In some cases, this may mean treating your dogs with medications, natural remedies like CBD oil, or other anxiety-busting tools. Just be sure that you always check with your vet before giving your pups any supplement.
If negative training methods or tools cause anxieties, stop using them entirely and focus on positive reinforcement training to build up your dogs’ confidence and establish a healthy relationship with you. Essentially, this means teaching your dogs how to be the best dogs they can be through reward-based training.
Make sure there is enough love to go around, too, by giving both dogs equal attention.
It can get tricky if you have a puppy demanding love while an older dog hides away to avoid the ruckus, but get creative. Separate them as needed to ensure each gets enough one-on-one time. Play puzzle games with your older dog while your puppy naps, and then practice tricks with your puppy once he wakes up and your older dog is ready to chill on the porch and watch the world go by.
The sky’s the limit — just try things until you stumble upon a working solution.
Create a Routine
There’s a reason pups function as wireless alarm clocks on the weekend: They thrive on a schedule.
Your dogs may only be a physical part of your life before and after work, but you are their whole life. It’s important to remember this when you get frustrated with them acting out or getting snippy with one another.
So, work on keeping your schedule as consistent as possible, so your dogs don’t have to stress about why you’re not home for their daily walk or why dinner is three hours late. Consider things like your puppers’ walking, eating, and playing schedule just as important as your work or exercise routine.
Talk to Your Vet
As we’ve discussed, you need to rule out medical conditions in both dogs when any aggression is displayed. Not only can aggression be a sign of pain, but it could also be a symptom of a condition, such as hormonal or metabolic imbalances.
Don’t have easy access to a vet? You may want to consider getting help from JustAnswer — a service that provides instant virtual-chat access to a certified vet online.
You can discuss the issue with them, and even share video or photos if need be. The online vet can help you determine what your next steps should be.
While talking with your own vet — who understands the ins and outs of your dog’s history — is probably ideal, JustAnswer is a good backup option.
Contact a Certified Dog Behaviorist
If you can’t identify what the issues are between your dogs or if you’re not confident in your abilities to develop an improvement plan, reach out to a credentialed animal behaviorist.
Often, trained professionals will not only have better solutions to your canine problems, but they will pick up on subtler cues your dogs provide.
This is also essential if your dogs have caused serious harm to one another in the past. Leave these extreme cases to the professionals to ensure a positive outcome.
Last Resort Options for Dogs Who Won’t Get Along
Despite your best efforts (even with professionals), some dogs just don’t get along.
In these instances, your only option for everyone’s safety and well-being is to keep the dogs apart on a more-or-less permanent basis.
This may mean separating them using crates, kennels, or gates for small dogs, or it may ultimately mean rehoming the dog. In fact, if death or serious bodily injury is likely, the latter is the best option for all involved. Not only will catastrophe be avoided, but both dogs will be happier in the long run under separate roofs.
We understand that this is neither easy nor ideal, but it may — in rare cases — be the only viable solution.
Sudden aggression is always rattling, but in most cases, you can resolve the pooch problems with a few changes. Have you had any issues between ruffing roommates? What changes did you implement? Let us know in the comments.
March 1, 2023
I have one older dog that has started showing aggression to my younger dog. A few years ago I moved back in with my dad to help care for him. His dog was already here. A little over a year ago I got a puppy and they’ve been getting along together aside from him telling the pup to calm down. We’re past that at this point. They’ve been getting along and playing just fine. Until about a month ago when my dad passed away. Ever since then his dog has been showing aggression to the younger dog. I have been trying to make the change as easy as possible for him but my dad was a HUGE part of our daily routine that I can’t replicate. I have ruled our any other health issues and I know it is because of the loss. I’m being patient with him but it isn’t fair to the other dog. They are both fixed and the other dog isn’t doing anything to trigger him. There doesn’t even have to be food or attention involved. He isn’t being aggressive to me at all and he listens when I tell him to stop. I am at a loss and don’t know what to do for them.
March 2, 2023
Hey there, Anna.
We’re sorry to hear about your dad passing, as well as the troubles with your pooches.
Based on the timing of his dog’s aggression, it certainly seems like it is (at least partially) a reaction to your dad. He could very well be depressed, which is making him irritable, which is in turn, leading to the aggression.
Hopefully, he’ll start feeling better in the coming weeks or months, which may solve the problem by itself.
At any rate, it’d probably be a good idea to keep them separated as much as you can and give them both plenty of attention (especially your dad’s dog). If you don’t start seeing improvement within a few weeks or so, you should probably reach out to a certified dog behavior consultant.
Best of luck!
December 20, 2022
Hi everyone! I am so comforted by these comments (which never happens when reading comments!) because I am in the same boat. I have two female chiweenie rescues that may never have been best friends but certain tolerated each other for a year and a half – then in May, one of them became insanely aggressive towards the other and now it is maddening, stressful, and super sad. We do work with a Canine Behaviorist who has made some suggestions and a trainer but we haven’t had any results. They are fine on walks together and that seems to be about it. I am worried that one of my sons will find himself in the middle of one of their fights. We have been watching for signs, using positive reinforcement (Which isn’t always easy) and separating them but it is really making for an unhappy home in the evenings when we all just want to chill out together but find ourselves managing dogs.
December 21, 2022
We’re so glad you’ve found the article and comments comforting, Elizabeth.
Just keep working on finding solutions — you’ll likely enjoy slow, incremental progress in terms of behavior and management.
Best of luck!
December 1, 2022
I have two female dogs that are beasties 99% of the time. One is a Great Pyrenees mix 2.5 yrs old, and the other is a little terrier mix, 7 yrs old. We have had both since a few weeks old. Six months ago, we got chickens. The dogs were dogs beside themselves running the fence line wishing they could get to the birds. Out of nowhere the GP attacked our terrier and she was relentless. Once separated we ended up with the little dog needing many stitches. After a week of separation, we slowly allowed supervised interaction. They went back to being buddies. But there were two times our GP was triggered once again. One time was when my husband forcefully held the terrier when she barked at an arriving house guest. The terrier squirmed aggressively to get loose. The GP instantly got that look and I could feel her body language. She wanted at the terrier. I made sure the two stayed separated for about 48 hours, then slowly reintroduced them to each other. Back to beasties again. Fast forward to this week, and I was back out at the chicken yard cleaning the coop. The dogs aren’t really interested in the chickens. The novelty of them has worn off. The terrier happened to force her head through a part of the fence trying to eat grass on the other side. She got her head stuck, panicked and started flopping around. The GP attacked her once again and I had to pull her off the terrier who again needed emergency stitches, etc. I have the dogs apart of course for the next couple of weeks. The GP seems to be triggered by the terrier being in distress if that makes sense. I can’t allow this to happen again. She will kill the terrier if there’s a 3rd time. Poor girl can’t take much more. I love both my dogs and they love each other it seems most of the time. There are 4 adults and one baby in the home. Also a standard poodle. My daughter fears that the GP will one day attack her baby. But the GP has never shown aggression to any human and not the standard poodle either. Should I rehome the terrier? rehome the GP? Should I worry she will turn on the baby?
December 2, 2022
Hey there, Kathy. Sorry to hear about the struggles with your pooches!
From afar it sounds like the Pyr is getting overstimulated by the terrier, which is leading to the attacks.
We’d hate for you to have to rehome either of the dogs, so we’d first recommend reaching out to a certified dog behavior consultant (not a standard trainer). He or she should be able to assess the doggos and provide a good plan for moving forward. Alternatively, you could just take a management approach to the problem and keep them separated — if not permanently, at least during those times in which the Pyr may become excited. I have to keep my dogs (a Rottie and a Pyr) separated on a more-or-less permanent basis. It certainly isn’t easy, but you can do it with the help of baby gates, etc.
Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.
November 12, 2022
Hey guys some advice and information needed, we have decided to re-home our pup after she keep attacking her mum, the issue is that mum will cower from pup until being bitten, she then defends her self,
My partner is tryin to say both dogs are agressive and because of this behaviour we cannot trust both as both are agressive dogs(her words)
My arguement is that mum is not aggressive as she tries to come from the situation until being bitten (both dogs are very loyal to humans and both are great with my 2 sons 2/3 years of age
I understand I’m partly at fault due to Makin pup feel left out when she has been punished but should I be worried for my children from the mother of the pup that cowers from her pup
November 14, 2022
Hey there, Tristan.
I’m not sure I completely follow, but it sounds like you could use some professional assistance (which is really a good idea anytime you’re dealing with aggressive doggos).
It’d probably be a good idea to reach out to a certified dog behavior consultant, who could assess both pups and offer a good action plan.
Best of luck!
November 5, 2022
I have 2 male pups, 1.5 yr German Shepherd/Malinois mix & 6 yr Lab/retriever. Both were intact & got along great for the entire 1+yr we’ve had the German mix. We got him neutered because he kept running off when neighbors dogs came in heat. IMMEDIATELY afterwards-the next day-he started randomly attacking our older, more docile lab mix. It’s alway unexpected and seemingly no triggers. I’m afraid he will seriously injure or kill my other dog. HELP! I feel horrible as I was trying to keep him safe from wandering off and now I’m afraid I’ll have to have him put down 🙁
November 7, 2022
Hey there, Mary. We’re so sorry to hear about the issues with your pooches!
For starters, it is important that you don’t automatically assume it was the neutering itself that caused the change — it could have also been the stress of the procedure or something subtle could have changed between the doggos (a lot goes on between dogs that we can’t/don’t perceive). It may very well have been the neutering, but it is important to consider all of the possibilities.
No matter the cause, we’d recommend you start by keeping the dogs separated for the time being. Then, we’d recommend reaching out to a certified dog behavior consultant (not a trainer). He or she may not only be able to shed some light on the cause of the personality shift but also provide a plan of attack for helping to repair the relationship between the two.
But please understand, dogs who are aggressive with other dogs needn’t be euthanized! I have two dog-reactive dogs, who’re living happy, full lives — they just have to live separately. That’s certainly not easy, and it entails quite a bit of canine management, but it’s certainly better than euthanizing either (something I can hardly even bear to type) or rehoming one of them.
Best of luck!
September 3, 2022
My dogs, a daschund (16 month old) and a boxer (10 month old) have been living together for 6 months and never had a fight until my boxer got her first heat recently… The daschund too got her heat at the same time (her second one) and we got her to check whether we can breed her (but we didn’t breed though). Since then, they have been so aggressive. Our vet recommended separating them during heat but they are still aggressive even afterwards… Is there anything we can do?
September 6, 2022
Hey there, Dilencia. Heat cycles definitely can cause changes in your canine-canine family dynamics.
It’s hard for us to provide much advice from afar, as we can’t observe the dogs and see what’s going on. So, we’d recommend keeping them separated for a while and reaching out to a certified dog behavior consultant.
Best of luck!
September 3, 2022
I have 2 dogs both female Anytime they are put together they fight The both healthyim needing advice on getting them advise on stopping it right now I’m separating them and its very difficult on the dogs rotating them from room to room
September 6, 2022
Hey there, Dennis. Sorry to hear about the problems with your pooches (I have exactly the same issue — two gals who just will not get along).
Have you tried any of the tips from the article? If they’re not working, you’ll probably want to reach out to a certified dog behavior consultant. It probably won’t be something you can fix overnight, so you may just need to embrace some dog management techniques (baby gates, kennels, etc.) in the meantime.
Best of luck!
December 20, 2022
HI Dennis! This is us too! Two healthy, young dogs that can’t seem to get it together. I am so sorry about your situation because I know how terribly stressful it is. I have since learned two female dogs together are the worst combo but we were doing great for the first 18 months of having them.
August 18, 2022
I recently just moved into a new home with my 1 year old female golden doodle. The roommate we moved in with already had her 2 year old male golden retriever living in the house for about a year. My doodle has never showed any signs of aggression until now. One minute they are fine and playing with each other and then the next they are full on trying to attack each other. It is usually my doodle who initiates the barking and growling which escalates to fights. They haven’t actually bitten each other but they have gotten pretty close. We keep them in separate sleeping rooms for the majority of the day, but do try to give them time to bond. Any tips on how to introduce a new dog into a new home to a dog who has lived there the majority of his life?
August 19, 2022
Hey there, Candace. So sorry to hear about the challenges with your puppers!
Some dog-dog introductions can certainly be tricky, but we have two articles that you may want to check out. Neither describes your *exact* situation, but the tips provided in each will likely help.
Introducing a Puppy to Older Resident Dog
How to Introduce a New Dog to an Aggressive Dog
Best of luck!
August 8, 2022
We have three dogs. The eldest is an intact female golden retriever. The middle child is a large neutered Pomeranian and the youngest is an intact male golden retriever.
Our make golden just turned 1 & is occasionally acting aggressively by growling and snarling & locking eyes & stiffening his body with the pom.
The pom doesn’t back down & I separate them by putting the pom in the crate but they would keep snarling through the crate if I didn’t split them up. Hormones? Jealousy? Guarding of the female?
Most of the time they’re best pals. This is new & my make golden is huge & has a terrifying growl& the strength of three men!
Bones are now banned as they were all resource guarding them.
August 8, 2022
It’s hard to tell what is going on from afar, C, but don’t be afraid to use management techniques (puppy gates, etc.) until you get to the bottom of things.
Best of luck!
August 27, 2022
We have 4 dogs, 3 years ago we inherited a German Shepard bitch when my brother died. The issue is that she randomly attacks 2 of the others. There is never any warning and is totally one sided. This normally only happens when out on a walk, sometimes on the lead sometimes off. There does not really seem to be a trigger. She seems fine with any dog we meet on a walk and will not attack our other dog.
August 29, 2022
Hey there, Simon. Warning-free conflicts are certainly a bit of a nightmare!
Have you tried any of the tips from the article (avoiding triggers, etc.)?
August 7, 2022
We have an 8 year old female Norwegian Elkhound and a 4 year old female American Bulldog/pitbull. Our 4 year old started attacking the older last week and we were already working with a trainer so she has been helping us. My husband and I deal with a lot of health issues and doing this run around to keep them separated is wearing us down and we can’t do it anymore. They both have a lot of anxiety and I don’t think rehoming would be kind only stressful for her. We don’t want to make any drastic decisions, it started a week ago, but we can’t keep going on like this.
August 6, 2022
We’re having an absolute nightmare with two of our collies who don’t seem to be able to break a specific cycle of fighting. One stalks the other, when she’s in her own space, and she then reacts by growling…the stalking continues until a full fight breaks out. The same dog also corners one of our other collies, and will really go for her. All 3 other dogs are terrified of this one. She doesn’t get any more, or less attention than the others. They are all treated equally, and we love them all. But the situation is becoming unmanageable with these behaviours repeating throughout the day when we are all in the kitchen, and just want a quiet life! Please advise. 2 of the collies are spayed, and 2 aren’t. It’s the two spayed bitches who are fighting most.
August 8, 2022
Hey there, Julia.
There’s not much helpful advice we can provide from afar, but you have two basic options: Work with a certified dog behavior consultant or implement management strategies (puppy gates, etc.) to keep them separated.
I have to use the latter approach with two of my girls, but a behavior consultant may be able to provide some tips depending on the reason the dogs aren’t getting along.
Best of luck!
July 26, 2022
We have four dogs. Soka (female, 9y/o Rottweiler), Dennis (male,6y/o Pit/Shepard), Lucy (female,5y/o Lab/Shepard), Chapo(3y/o Pitbull). All are fixed except for Chapo which will be done next week. When Lucy was fixed about 3 1/2 years ago, Dennis started being aggressive towards her when she first came home but it seemed to stop not long after. Other than that they have all gotten along very well until the last 1/2 year ago or so. We’ve had them since they were very young puppies, two of them were around 5 months old when we got them. All but Sokka have started being aggressive towards each other and a few have turned into bad fights. My husband and I are both disabled and don’t have much in the way of money for training. We do know that part of the problem is exercise. We don’t have a fenced in yard and if we let them out on their own they will take off. We’re in the process of getting them out more. Right now we have them all in separate rooms but we can’t continue to do this! Sokka is like Switzerland and has no problem being with any of them thank goodness! Anything that would help will be greatly appreciated!
July 27, 2022
Hey, Kiki. That’s a tough one, and I don’t know if there are any easy solutions.
For starters, the social dynamics between groups of dogs can be very complicated in the best of times. Once you combine that with the lack of exercise, it makes the problem even more challenging.
You may want to look into hiring a dog walker (I know you said money was an issue, but that would likely be cheaper than a behaviorist). You could also consider installing a dog trolley — that would at least give you a way to let the dogs play outside individually (you’d just have to rotate them throughout the day). I’d also consider upping the amount of enrichment activities they get throughout the day. Bored dogs can be more liable to pick fights, so ensuring they’re mentally stimulated throughout the day and have activities may go a long way.
Best of luck!
July 12, 2022
Hi there. I have four dachshunds. Well Technically I have one, my mum has two and my dad has one. But because we all live together they’ve all been together. They’ve all lived in harmony for the last 4 years. There are two males and two females, all are spayed and neutered. The females are no problem whatsoever but recently one of the males (the elder one who is about to turn 5) has begun to viciously attack the younger one (who just turned 4) completely unprovoked. The last attack was two days ago, it seemed to be completely random as have the others. I was walking past and the younger dog (my dog) was following me then out of nowhere the older male (mums dog) savagely attacked him causing injury. (a nick in his eyelid and a wound near his back leg) My dog (the younger one) does not really fight back or really do anything to provoke these increasingly vicious attacks. He screams/yelps and he runs to me and I pick him up to get him away from the other dog as fast as possible, and the other dog will make every effort to jump up to him and continue attacking him, even when he’s in my arms. It’s at the point where I just grab my dog as quick as I can and take him into my bedroom to protect him. It’s getting progressively worse and we do not know what caused it. the younger dog is now terrified of him and its caused serious disruption in our house among the people and the dogs. Mum has been considering rehoming the older dog but we all love him and he’s usually a really friendly, loving, happy dog so we really don’t want to have to do that. We are thinking this is some kind of jealousy problem but I’m not sure what to do to reduce his jealousy toward the other dog. I do my best to include him in everything I do (walks, games, etc) and that’s how its always been so I’m not sure what more I can do to make him feel equal to the other dog.
July 12, 2022
Hey there, Kiah. Sorry to hear about the problems with your pooches.
Unfortunately, it’s tough for us to know what caused the problem between the puppers from afar. Regardless of the cause though, it would probably be wise to separate them by using puppy gates or playpens to keep everyone safe. Then, over time, you can start implementing some of the tips from the article.
Best of luck!
June 5, 2022
Have 2 dogs. 1 med sz & 1 sm. 4 seemingly unprovoked fights have happened recently. 2 while we were sleeping on my bed. Other 2 in kitchen. All med dog attacking sm dothey have been together almost 2 yrs and it just started. Unknown trigger but may be guarding food on counter. Doesnt happen during meal time or treat time. What can i do to prevent further fights besides rehoming? There has been blood drawn twice. They dont play together. Just coexhist in home.
June 6, 2022
Sorry to hear your pups aren’t getting along, but it is really tough for us to provide much assistance from afar based on your description. It would probably be wise to reach out to a certified dog behavior consultant, who can formulate a detailed training plan.
In the meantime, we’d just encourage you to keep them separated via crates or dog gates
Best of luck!
February 15, 2022
My family bring a new 3 month-old bi-colored puppy from street.We call her Mandy and she was vaccinated,well-fed.We also have three adult female mongrels whose were also bought from street and being vaccinated and spayed.Their names are Kalu(mother),Tiny(younger sister) and Ollie (older sister).Kalu and Ollie are played well with Mandy but Tiny hates her though she tolerates her. When she approach,she growls at her.How should I encourage Tiny to be like Mandy?I don’t need a professional trainer.
February 16, 2022
Hey there, Jaty.
There may not be anything you can do — some dogs simply won’t get along with others. Just let them continue to get to know each other, but make sure to feed them separately and provide them with separate beds, toys, etc.
Let us know how it goes!
January 28, 2022
We recently rescued a 1 yr old chichihuas to be a companion for our 2 yr old chichihuas. They got along for 2 weeks just fine then all of a sudden our older chi started attacking the younger one. I think it’s a territorial issue plus a dominance deal. Any advice on what to do? We have to keep them separated and I’m afraid one will get hurt.
January 31, 2022
The best thing would be to start with some of the tips Meg mentions above. If they don’t prove helpful, you may want to think about reaching out to a certified dog behavior consultant for some guidance.
Best of luck!