Her Dogs Previously Got Along… Now They Show Dog Aggression. Here’s What To Do

Skipdogwalker wrote to me about how to handle dog aggression:

Hi: I have 3 dogs (Kona, male pit mix 3 yrs old) (Sur, male pit mix 18 months old) (Sierra, female boxer 7 yrs old) all spayed and neutered. Kona was the first dog… we have had him since he was about 6 months old.

Sierra came next and has been with us for over a year and gets along with everyone.

Sur came last has been with us about 6 months, he had a severe case of mange when we got him but it is now cleared up.

Dog Aggression Over A Kong Toy

Kona and Sur played together, slept together, ate together everyday until last month when they showed dog aggression over a kong toy ($1200.00 at the vet) we now have to crate them and bring them out separately in shifts. We let them out in the house together but they are now always on leashes. They have still fought 2 more times but not as long as the first fight (I was home alone for the first fight and it took me a while to separate them) They are both back to the “nothing in life is free” method. They both wear prong collars and Kona has been trained a little with the e collar. Every time we feel like they are making progress we get a little overconfident thinking/hoping they get along and they go at it again. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also my wife and I have been married for two weeks and this is not making life easy! Thanks

Adam replies:

Hi, Skipdogwalker:

Congratulations on your nuptials!

dog aggression
dog aggression

As you know, there are several aspects to dog aggression: dominant aggression, fear aggression, territorial aggression and all kinds of other facets of aggressive dog behavior, such as predatory aggression in dogs, aggressive barking, reactivity, etc… And without seeing what’s going on, I can only give you a “best guess” as to what’s going on in this specific case.

The best case scenario is that you can get them to be around each other, but they won’t ever be able to interact with each other– because: They’re both males and they’ve already demonstrated that they are unsafe around each other.

What I would do is either:

1. Find one another home.


2. Get absolute, solid obedience on both dogs, so that they respond to voice commands PERFECTLY … specifically, the “No!” command (which you can use to break them up immediately, should a fight start).

But realize that it’s an explosive situation that you’re always going to need to be “on top” of, 100% of time. I’d definitely get a crate, and alternate which dog is allowed free time. Otherwise, having to constantly supervise the situation will drive you crazy. Of course, both dogs knowing sold down-stay commands will help make life easier. But you’re still in a situation where you’re living under the dog aggression equivalent of the sword of Damocles.

13 thoughts on “Her Dogs Previously Got Along… Now They Show Dog Aggression. Here’s What To Do”

  1. Hi Adam,

    I have a similar situation. I found a puppy back in Feb and he’s now huge. He’s neutered. We have three other dogs, all girls. He’s been fighting with the larger girl dog, no skin has been broken yet. They are both in the bootcamp right now. She has aggression towards one of the smaller dogs and he’s getting aggressive towards strangers, even company. I don’t like where this is going. They are great otherwise. I can pull food right out of thier mouths, they’re so gentle with me and my family.
    I know it’s alot, but what do I do? Do you think if I continue bootcamp, that I can conquer this and we can eventually live happily again? They all used to get along so well. 🙁
    Thanks for your time,
    Carol Anne

  2. Hi, Carol:

    Yes, you can.

    Best case scenario, the dogs learn to get along just fine.
    Worst case scenario: They will ignore each other when you are around. When you are not around, they will need to be confined separately.

    I don’t know what type of “bootcamp” you’re doing… but for more info. on getting rock solid obedience, take a look at my “Secrets” book.


  3. I have a akita/german shepparuad mix which we rescued from the pound when he was 5 months old. he is nutered and a ver handsome dog. he is now 2 years old. Someone gave us a full-blooded akite female who at this time is 5 months old. however when kobe first saw her, he attacked her drawing a small amount of blood. We want to keep her but we want kobi(the 1st dog) and lady to get along. Whai can we do to make this possible. Kobi’s best friend is a 6year old chiuaua. I would really appreciate your help. thank you

    1. Well for starters, Akita’s are a very dominant breed. And so are German Shepherds. You HAVE to establish yourself as the pack leader from the start! Introducing a pure bred Akita female into the pack is not going to be easy. The Akita male was there first and will not take kindly to an intruder, especially a female. You have your work cut out for you. I wish you the best of luck but you may have to keep them seperate. An Akita male has to be the one to make the choice of which female he prefers to keep him company,….NOT you make the choice for him. That is their breed. The Akita male can be very picky and you don’t want to force his choice either. It will make him distrust you then you’ll start to have behavior issues with him. So goodluck.

  4. I agree with Adam. You will always have to be on top of this 100% to keep them from fighting. I have two Staffordshire Terrier/Pit mixes that are sisters (their twin brothers live with my cousin) and the youngest has already demonstrated dominance over the other. They had always played together with a toy then one day, it happened. They got into it over the toy and it was a very bad fight. My two “wounded warriors” did not come out of this unscathed. They both required minor first aid. I had to keep them seperate until they healed. Now, I no longer give them a toy to play with when I am not there to supervise. Without the toy, they’re fine together. I also have to keep them seperate from my other two boys (an Old English Sheepdog and a Rottweiler). Thankfully, my yard is large enough to divide it in half. The boys on one side, the girls on the other. They are ALL trained to listen to commands and if it weren’t for that, well, I’d be in a mess. So Adam most certainly has the right idea. Keep them apart unless you can be there to supervise.

  5. my parents have just rehomed a 2 year old male Jack Russell named Patch,who has yet to be spade.The dog has settled in well ,however when dad takes him for a walk he can turn aggresive towards other dogs and humans ,this is putting a strain on dads relation with Patch,can you help in anyway.
    kind regards keith

  6. i have three dogs. 1st JW (3yrs, mixed labra), 2ndsimba(3yrs, australian labra), sheroo(2yrs 6months, adopted stray).
    i’ve had JW since he was 2 days old… infact his mom died on the second day of his birth… i’ve brought him up since then…. simba i got when he was 25 days old and sheroo i had adopted from the streets when he was 20 days old from the streets . i have brought them up single handedly. they used to play together always . though sheroo was always on a long leash & outside the house, they were inside the house. but they never had any problems. they always played together off leash free for 2 hours everyday. the problem started when i bkoke my leg. sheroo saw me limping and knew that i was in pain… whenever free he used to lie near me with his chin on my cast. one day JW accidently jumped on my leg which was in a cast causing pain…. since then sheroo would not allo him near me and gradually the started getting into fights. even simba was attacked by sheroo & JW cause he was the peace maker. now simba just stopped playing with sheroo cause sheroo constanty looked for excuses to pick up a fight. i love my furry angles beyond compare and cant think of giving up either sherroo or JW. though i always let them off free separately to avoid any fights i feel i need help with them. i have been bitten thrice trying to separate them. can you guide me……

  7. I have a beautiful loving collie who is my best friend. However, when walking and he sees another dog he lashes out and barks, wines, pulls to go after the dog. It embarasses me. He has been through 14 weeks of training classes and does the commands well in class. He was the star pupil. But outside walking has become a major chore. How can I get him to show what a beautiful creature he is with me to others and to leave other dogs alone.

  8. Hey all, just found this website. Interesting stuff! I, too, have an aggressive dog. Paschal is a 1 yr, neutered, terrier mix. he’s now bitten my husband about 6 times. He bit my granddaugher last wk’end. He didn’t break the skin but left a bruise on her. However, he has broken the skin on hubby.
    It seems he’s guarding me, doesn’t want my hubby close to me at all. At times he can be on the floor and start to growl when Jim comes into the room….I’m at a loss as to stopping this!!
    ANY help would be greatly appreciated!

  9. My 1yr boxer Tyson has become aggsive towards other dogs and some people. When he is in the car he barks at people and almost breaks my window. Before he wasn’t like this. I haven’t be able to walk him as much because of it. There’s kids in the area.

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