How To Stop Your Family Dogs From Fighting Among Themselves

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Dog Behavior
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I feel very strongly about this subject, it’s the one topic that a lot of dog trainers have difficulty with. If you want to find the solution, you must first understand the psychology behind this nerve-racking behavior. Once you understand why they are fighting, you can now learn how to stop your family dogs from fighting among themselves.

It is very common for dogs to live in the same house for many years, and get along perfectly fine. Then seemingly without warning they begin to fight,(and I’m not talking about little nips or scuffles.)

I mean full body contact, blood and fur flying, wounds that may require a trip to the vet.

Your dogs will make sounds that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, and one of the dog’s could easily end up dead.

Note: I don’t recommend that you try to break up this kind of fight, you may get severely injured. Your dogs won’t be in the mood to obey you, and they may react to you as if you were another dog entering the fight.


Though it may seem that the fighting just started out of the blue and for no reason, the truth is that you dog has been trying to communicate that there is certain things going on that he don’t like, and if the warnings are not heeded, the dog will do what dogs do, and react physically.

The signs that a dog fight is about to happen can be very subtle, and this is where most people miss it. It could be a low growl, while staring at the other dog, or it could be a curled lip that exposes teeth, a tail tucked under the belly.

Dogs who are a match for each other will fight the most, a larger more powerful dog will most likely kill a smaller one, and in some cases one dog will submit to the other and there will be less fighting.However if you don’t address the under-lying problem, you dogs will continue to fight among themselves.

Learning more about your dog’s body language will help you identify these subtle warning, that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Let’s think about what is causing the problem.

Is it the breed?

Some breeds have an undeserved reputation for fighting, well let me tell you right off, it has nothing what so ever to do with the breed.

Is it because both dogs are male or female?

It is been my experience that two males are more likely to fight, just the same as two females may eventually go at each other. If you have a mixed pair, they will be much less likely to fight. My advice is if your thinking about owning two dogs, having a boy and a girl will go a long way to helping you keep the peace.

Does it have anything to do with fear?

If you have ever seen dogs squabble at the dog park you might have seen some dogs scurrying around looking like they are afraid of the dog that is running around puffing up, bumping his chest against another dog, showing off his confidence, and yes the fear this causes can manifest into a “dirt up” in the park. Fear is often the primary cause of aggression in dogs.

However two dogs that live together may well fight this morning and be playing in the afternoon. Fear has nothing to do with what caused the ruckus in the morning.

This is why training will not solve the problem.

Then what is triggering the fighting?

There are many things that can spark a rowe between you dogs, for example,..

1.Food: one dog might try to steal some of the other dog’s food.

2. Sleeping arrangements: one dog wants to sleep in a certain area, only to find the other dog is already there.

3. Toys: One dog likes a particular toy, and the other dog has it.

4. Excitement: Your getting ready to take them for a walk, and the excitement boils over and there is a fight.

5. Your presence: Sometimes one dog will not like it if the other one shows you any affection, and a bluster will ensue.

What we have been discussing here are simply the triggers, that thing that sets the dog off. You can remove these triggers, but your dog’s will simply find others, so this will not solve your problem.

So, what will solve the problem?

It is at this point that most dog trainers will tell you it’s all about the fact that our dogs are descended from wolves so they must be fighting for higher ranking in the pack. While it’s true that domesticated dogs share the DNA of the wolf, they do not adhere to the rigid structure of a true pack animal, like the hierarchy that governs a wolf pack.

It is my experience that it is all about resources, even us humans want the best place to sleep, and the most food we can get, but we are civilized animals, and most of us don’t fight one another for the only basketball in the gym, but even as civilized as we are sometimes when someone wants something and they think no one can stop them, maybe they will take it, sometimes by extreme force. Those people are usually caught and placed in prison.

Now I’m not suggesting you set up a doggie prison, and have your belligerent pets striped and thrown in the hold.

The simple answer to your problem is to supervise your dogs interaction, and nip these behaviors in the bud, before they escalate.

Consider the behavior and then replace it with one that teaches your dog’s to be calm and settled.

For example, instead of letting the excitement build into a fight, have your dogs sit calmly while you get ready to go for a walk, and remain calm through out the walk.

Instead of leaving toys lying around for the dogs to fight over, pick them up and put them away out of sight, and only you get to bring them out for play. Remember to set some rules for your dogs so they clearly understand what they can do and how you expect them to behave.

Work with your dogs to ensure they keep to their own food dish, and when they are done, go somewhere and relax while the other dog finishes.

This will require you to take the time necessary to develop new ways for your dogs to behave. In time your dogs will feel less pressure to make decisions for themselves, because you are now clearly the one who sets the rules and enforces them. This will lead to fewer opportunities for your dogs to go at it.

Calm and settled dogs do not fight.

If needed bring in a professional to help you, there are no magic pills, but with patience and a commitment to change, you can learn how to stop your family dogs from fighting among themselves.

That’s it for now

If you like this post let me know by liking my Face Book Page River Valley Dog Training

Good luck


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