I Have Two Fighting Dogs

by Amy Dreibelbis
(Myerstown, PA)

I got a male Jack Russell fixed almost 2 years ago. This past December I rescued a female. They have been fighting quite a bit and I don't know what to do. The male (dominant) steals all of her chews and toys from her. When I catch it I make him drop them and give them back to her. This past Saturday she stood up to him and he bit her in the neck drawling blood.

I love them both very much and both are very good dogs. How can I stop the fighting, or help them better get along! I really don't want to see either of them hurt, or even worse dead.


Vet Suggestion on Dog Aggressive Behavior to Other Dogs

Hello Amy,

Dealing with aggression between canine housemates is not easy. React in the wrong way and very likely you will make things worse rather than better. The problems between your dogs sound serious enough that your best option is probably to make an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in behavior. The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists’ website has a search function that allows owners to find these board certified specialists locally.

In the meantime, it is important that you keep both of your dogs safe and do whatever is necessary to prevent aggressive outbreaks. The more times the male acts aggressively, the more ingrained and difficult to treat the behavior becomes. If treats and chews are a major point of contention, pick them all up and only allow the dogs access to them when they are separated. For example, put one dog in a crate with a favorite chew while the other plays with toys; then switch who gets to do what.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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