Sibling Aggression – We Can Fix It! Manhattan Dog Trainer
Siblings are naturally competitive. They compete for attention, better grades, the last cookie in the cookie jar, friends, significant others, etc. It’s easy enough to tell kids to knock it off and remind them everyone’s special, but it’s harder to communicate that to dogs.
Dogs begin their lives in competition with the rest of the litter, namely for food. It’s common for the runt to get pushed out of the way while nursing, especially in a large litter, and without help from a human he or she may not make it. Of course this isn’t based in aggression at this age; it’s simple “survival of the fittest.” But as puppies mature, their competition and behavior naturally escalates. They wrestle, nip, growl, etc. Playing rough like this usually doesn’t have dire consequences, and, again, it’s very natural. But this puppy stage is the ideal stage to start setting behavioral boundaries, simply because this innocent play can easily morph into sibling aggression as the dogs continue to grow.
Two puppies who used to wrestle may begin a true fight for dominance, and this can be scary for owners. This is when stories of owners being attacked for trying to break up fights between two dogs occur. And it doesn’t only happen with puppies from the same litter–adoptive siblings can lash out, too.
Sibling aggression puts unnecessary stress and fear on the owner, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I am well-equipped to resolve any behavior issue, whether the dogs in question are young, old, starting to growl, or in full-on attack mode. The key is to eliminate the fight for the leader position by placing you, the owner, in the leader position. Using a tailored program of time-tested, reward-based techniques, your dogs will learn to respect you and the boundaries you set rather than focusing on each other.
To learn more about how I can help your dogs stop bickering and start listening, give me a call at 800.649.7297.