Dog Aggression From Formerly Friendly Dogs

My dog (2 years-old) and my mother’s dog (4 years-old) have always gotten along very well. But lately, they’ve started to fight over certain things. We’re appalled by this behavior and immediately break them up and scold them.

However, I am concerned and don’t know if I am doing the right thing.

Thank you, Danny.

Adam replies: Dear Danny: You need to let them work it out. Every time you break it up, you make it worse for the next time. I would recommend that you read my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!” (Find it in the download library, at left).

It will give you a much deeper understanding of how dogs communicate with each other and with us. My advice on this issue is to supervise them with a garden hose and a break stick– just in case they start to seriously injure each other. But if both dogs are generally well socialized, it’s more than likely just a dominance scuffle that needs to be worked out and not actual dog aggression.. Again, the rule of thumb is to let them work it out as long as the dominant dog is not INJURING the other dog. (Viscous sounds, growling, nipping on the neck, don’t count as “injury.”) If you don’t heed my advice, then you can still make them get along while you’re there, but when you’re not, then they must be separated. And as always, if there is any question or you are still unsure as to whether it’s a dominance scuffle or a death feud, then please contact a qualified local trainer who can supervise the situation.