Dog On Dog Aggression

by Nadia
(New York, NY)

Reader Question: How Do I Stop My Dogs From Fighting Each Other?

New dog who is four is being very aggressive to other dog who is 18 months both are rescue dogs. The 18 months old we have had 3 months and the four year old 4 days. The younger dog fended for herself in the wild for some time. The older dog had been dominated by two other dogs (mother and brother) also badly treated. The older dog is very submissive towards me.

How do I cure this?

Vet Suggestions for Stopping Dogs that Fight


It is possible that with a little bit of time, your dogs will work out their relationship and the aggression will wane. In the meantime, however, you must make sure that nobody (including people in the home) gets hurt.

There are many causes for the type of behavior you describe (e.g., fear aggression, dominance aggression, etc.), and each is treated differently. It is important to get to the bottom of why your older dog is acting in this way. If you treat her for the wrong type of aggression you could very well make the situation worse rather than better.

A veterinarian who specializes in behavior can diagnose what is going on with your dog, come up with an effective behavioral modification plan, and in some circumstances even prescribe medications that will make the situation better.

In the meantime, avoid putting the dogs into situations that seem to incite aggressive behavior (e.g., feed them in separate rooms, crate one while you are playing with the other, etc.) and reward them with praise and/or treats when they are behaving well.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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