View Full Version : fighting between household dogs

8th March 2009, 01:18 PM
This is a very interesting article -- as we've had some recent queries regarding dogs fighting within households I thought I'd offer this link:


Note this vet has the same message that many have made here -- IF you have dogs that are TRULY fighting, the best solution is almost always to rehome one of the dogs and accept that you may have a dog that simply does not want to share a home. IF you choose to keep two dogs, they will need to lead fairly separate lives and only ever have access to each other in very controlled circumstances with the owners at arms reach. I've heard trainers speak to this issue many times and IF dogs are fighting (really fighting, not just scrapping) occasionally the chances are this type of behaviour will only increase over time with possibly tragic results.

I also think this point is so, so important:

There are no truly "submissive" or "dominant/alpha" dogs and by putting these labels on dogs we blind ourselves to all of the interesting information that the dogs are communicating with its species-typical postures.

As she later notes, making assumptions about dominant/submissive dogs and behaviour can lead to catastrophes -- owners accidentally encouraging aggressive behaviour, or putting dogs down -- often from wrongly guessing which dog initiated fights and problems. The average pet owner in my experience with conflicts, and from talking to several trainers, usually assumes (thanks to the distorted information offered by popular TV trainers) the *wrong* dog is starting things... often it is the dog that has had enough that responds and gets labelled the problem dog.

This article, Are you Fluent in Dog, by the same vet is extremely useful too!!


8th March 2009, 02:20 PM
Very interesting! I've been thinking of getting Ilsa a sister and was wondering if there is any way to know how she'd react if we brought a new dog home. Of course, I'd include her in the selection process and choose a puppy she liked and seemed to get along with but is that enough? Is there anything else that could be done to insure a peaceful family? I've never rehomed a dog and don't want to - ever - but Ilsa is rather spoiled and used to having all my attention all the time! I'd hate to see her jealous or angry or worse, put a puppy on danger. I've been waffling for some time because of that, but I really do want to expand our canine family. I think it would be nice for Ilsa to have a friend and playmate as well. I'm thinking of a Tibetan Spaniel.

Jen and Ilsa

8th March 2009, 11:14 PM
That was a really interesting article.

as some of you know i have two large breed dogs & am looking into a rescue cavalier.

i have fostered several dogs & never had a problem with them fighting,the majority have been pups. i always found introducing them on neutral ground was the best way of introductions & feeding seperately at first, i also kept them seperate whilst out until the time was right to leave them together, i obviously wouldnt do this with a smaller dog as mine are very big! in all the time i have had them both, they had there first scuffle just last week which as usual was down to humon error! my mum had called around giving them bones, Thor likes to bury his Freya eats, she went to pinch his and he put a stop to it. all over with a command from me!

8th March 2009, 11:30 PM
Jen, if she is good meeting other dogs on walks then she will probably be fine. Most adults like or at least tolerate puppies so they can't really help much in picking out a puppy; but if you want a quieter dog companion a good breeder will help you pick the right puppy. Tibetans are a nice dog :). They also have few breed health issues and generally live a long time! They can be a bit yappy I think. Generally the advice is to get a second animal of the opposite sex. Two females actually tend to have more problems than two males. My two girls get along fine though and conflicts are pretty rare between cavaliers. I've been over at a breeder' home with a room full of intact males and they all got along fine -- in some breeds, that would be asking for a skirmish!

BTW I was in Paris last week and within 5 minutes of going for a walk from my hotel, I saw a woman with a cavalier, and saw a man walking another the next day. :)

9th March 2009, 09:39 AM
I have a soft spot for tibbies :o They are sweet babies, would need socialisation (like all dogs) when puppies to help give them confidence and the one health prob I do know they suffer with is eye problems so that is one thing to check with the breeder!

9th March 2009, 03:09 PM
Thanks Karlin and CavCross!!! I've researched Tibbies and they do seem like beautiful, healthy yet small dogs who can live well in an apartment. I love Cavaliers and especially Ilsa more then anything but I can't go through the pain of a sick little girl again. Any dog could be sick but knowing what I know now I want to play the odds. It's sad for such a lovely breed that rates of MVD and SM drive people away who love the breed. Plus, once I have the perfect cavalier why keep trying lol.

I have read what you said about males and females just getting along better but Ilsa seems to prefer playing with female dogs, and I prefer having female dogs so I think that'd be best for us both. I'm only afraid once he puppy is home she'd be jealous.

Karlin, where were you in Paris? We live in the 6th, wonder if you saw my girl!

Jen and Ilsa