Two female dogs lounging together

Two Female Dogs- Aggression Problems

At my Utah dog training company we get several clients per year who have two dogs, sometimes two female dogs other times two male dogs, who are fighting in the home.  In most of these cases we actually find that the dogs were getting along for months or even years at a time.  In most of these cases there was some sort of ‘aggression trigger’ that started one initial fight.  These triggers have been varied, it could be a fight over food, over a toy or over and object in the yard.  In other cases we’ve seen it happen when two dogs were hooked together.

Regardless of how it started we often see that the initial fight quickly leads to other fights and other problems.  In many of these cases we’ve seen how the relationship between the two female dogs was one where there was an obvious dominant dog and an obvious submissive dog…but now the submissive dog is no longer willing to take the domineering attitude from the more dominant dog.

In any case, this is a common scenario that we run into several times a year.  There can, at times, be variations with some of the variables.  It’s not always two female dogs or two male dogs, perhaps it’s a mixture, or perhaps there are three dogs, but often the other elements remain the same.

The Case Study

While this is a common scenario we see in our training company in Salt Lake City, it’s also a common reason why dog owners invest in our dog training DVDs.  One such person is Tiffani in Illinois.  She invested in our training DVDs but also ordered our dog training with Skype.

A few weeks ago she and I got to work through Skype.  She told me a similar story to one I’ve heard many times.  She has two female dogs who aren’t getting along and she’s even had to resort to keeping them entirely separated throughout the day.  I wanted to take a minute to share this blog post on exactly what protocol I take when dealing with aggression under one roof:

  • The first thing we need to do is start getting the relationship in order.  Whenever I see dogs fighting in the same home I also see dogs who aren’t terribly respectful to the owners.  These things go hand in hand.  In order to solve relationship issues obedience training is the name of the game.  If a dog listens to obedience commands it means that the dog is putting the owner’s will first.  The more that occurs the more we see the calming influence of the obedience enter into the dog’s life.
  • The first obedience item I recommended is proper leash walking.  When I say ‘proper leash walking’ I refer to a dog who is paying attention and walking right next to the owner’s side.  This has a huge effect in getting a dog to see the owner in a leadership role.  In fact, focused walking tends to have what I call a ‘collateral effect’.  The better the dog walks on leash the better behaved overall the dog becomes…even with behaviors that aren’t even related to leash walking.
  • When we’ve got two dogs in the same home fighting we need strategies for even getting the dogs near each other.  I had Tiffani start working on the ‘place’ command.  We need to teach the dogs to be in the same room and under control.

Aggression Case Study- The Current Results

We’ve only just started the process but so far so good.  You can see in the upper left hand corner of the article how the dogs are lying in ‘place’ close to each other.  This placing in the same room will be big in helping the dogs learn to re-acclimate to each other.

Additionally Tiffani tells me, “We went on a walk this morning and we passed a dog for the first time without any noise or reaction – Yahoo!”  Previously, before working on our ‘crazy man method’ for teaching proper leash walking her dog would ‘flip out’ when she saw other dogs.

She also says, “Thank you so much for working with me, it is great…. I don’t think I can ever get too much teaching in this area as I have realized that I need more work on my timing and praise.  I was correcting a lot of the time but forgetting to praise when she did it right.  I’m growing with her.”

The reality is, folks, that there is no need for lots of trial and error.  Anything you are dealing with has already been dealt with.  I wanted to share this brief case study as two dogs fighting in the same house can be a very stressful thing to deal with.  We’ve got a long way to go with Tiffani and her dogs but in short order, with the right tools, the right techniques, and some good work from the owners, we’re already seeing nice results.

You can see this, too.  There are always formulas and protocols to work on whatever issue you are dealing with.  The key is finding the right techniques and getting to work.  I encourage you to set aside any excuses that you may have previously had in not getting the right results with your dog and getting to work!  Happy training.