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Avoiding Dog Fights

Living with multiple dogs is very different than having just one. For example, when one dog goes outside in the rain, he tends to simply do his business and come back in, while two dogs together might choose to play chase or do some mud wrestling before returning to your back door.

This is just one example of the day-to-day differences between single or multiple dog households. However, muddy paws can be wiped with a towel quite easily, while dog fights or squabbles can be downright scary. Whether your dogs always get along famously, or they occasionally squabble, the following tips can help prevent or alleviate skirmishes:

  • Think Ahead- If you don’t already have more than one dog, plan ahead for the best outcome by choosing a dog of opposite gender. Two males or two females are far more likely to have disagreements than a male and female combo.
  • Consider Your Breed- If you choose a breed who is renowned for not getting along with others, don’t be surprised when you end up with problems. Either steer clear of these breeds, keep only one dog, or plan on doing a lot of training with your opposite gender pair.
  • Avoid Animal Products- Items such as rawhides, pig’s ears and other things made of animal parts are far more likely to cause a skirmish than synthetic toys such as balls or plastic bones. Avoid problems by either not giving these chews, or keeping dogs in separate crates while enjoying them.
  • Provide Personal Space- Separate bowls and separate eating areas should be provided for the dogs, to reduce competition. Puppies should have separate crates and each dog should have time and space away from one other, particularly in households with a puppy and an older dog.
  • Allow Their Relationship to Develop- Humans often (either consciously or unconsciously) try to interfere with the pecking order of their dogs. For example, it may not seem right or fair for your puppy chihuahua to be more dominant than your adult Rottweiler. That little scamp steals all the toys and all the attention for himself! However, when humans try to interfere (perhaps by taking the toy and giving it back to the other dog), it can cause friction between the dogs. The more dominant dog may feel even more inclined to assert his position as leader, possibly leading to snapping, snarling or worse. Instead, let them be. No amount of interference from you will change their relationship anyway.
  • Pay Separate Attention- Although a new pet may be a lot of work, or one pet may require more attention than another, be sure to provide some separate love, attention and obedience training for each dog separately. This will help cut down on competition for your attention.

By applying these tips, many problems in multiple dog households can be avoided. However, if you’re experiencing a dog fighting problem, you may need the assistance of a professional trainer to get things on track.