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Olivers Mom
Olivers Mom, Dog Answer Team
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Dog Expert
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Fighting dogs

Customer Question

Is there any way to get two male dogs to stop fighting? Both have been neutered.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Olivers Mom replied 11 years ago.

I am happy to help.  Would you mind giving me more specifics?


1)  How old are the two dogs?

2) What breed or breed mix are they?

3) Are they indoor or outdoor dogs?

4) Give me as much detailed information describing what you see happening when the dogs fight. (i.e. do they fight over an object or toy? does it start as play and then get out of hand? do they growl or bark first? does one seem to dominate over the other?  Don't limit your info to these suggestions if there is more.  The more information you can give the better it will be for me to help you!)
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Oliver’s Mom's Post: They are both Yorkies. One is 7, the other is 1. We have had Buddy, (the 7 yr old) since he was a puppy. We got Nick, (1 yr old) in Sept 2004. They just started the fighting two weeks ago. Up until then they got along great. Buddy has been neutered for at least 6 years. We just had Nick neutered , two weeks ago, right after the first fight. It is usually Nick that starts it with a growl. Buddy can just walk by and he will start in. Nick seems to be the one initiating. The only thing that I have been able to do is keep them separated. They will even try to go after each other thru the crate. I have tried discipline but it doesn't seem to be working.
Expert:  Olivers Mom replied 11 years ago.
Okay - thanks for the information.

I believe what is happening is two fold 1) Buddy is not yet accepting Nick.  This is not uncommon when there is an age difference like this.  Older dogs have less tolerance for the antics of young ones so they can lose their patience easily.  2) Nick has now matured into his adulthood - and this is a time when behaviors can appear that have not been seen before.  This new stage of his life is likely to start the behavior you are seeing.  He's now capable of practicing the common 'pack mentality' of who is going to top dog, or the more dominant of the two.  Buddy is comfortable about who he is and where he is in his life.  Young Nick is like a young adult 'finding his way' in life.


When you have more than one dog, it is important for them to work out who is going to be who in the pecking order between themselves however, the botXXXXX XXXXXne has to be that YOU are the leader, or top dog above all.


One thing that is important is specifically how they are 'fighting.'  Family dogs can get on each other's nerves once in awhile and display some toughness however bullying one another is not acceptable.  And it sounds from your description like Nick is bullying Buddy - if all it takes to start something is for Buddy to just walk by Nick.


The best way to get a handle on this and prevent any 'damage' from happening is to hire a trainer or behaviorist that will work specifically with this problem.  You need to find someone with experience and that uses positive reinforcment techinques in their training method.  ANY use of physical discipline, such as rolling the dog over and holding him down to show him 'who's boss', use of choker chains, for example, are techniques where I guarantee will make matters worse - it WILL make Nick even more aggressive.  So again - positive reinforcement is crucial.  (if you need help finding someone, let me know what city you live in). 


While you are searching, you can start now by immediately stopping any of this behavior as soon as it starts.  No second chances.  If Nick should start to growl at Buddy, he immediately needs to go into a 'time out.'  You would do this by telling him "NO!" in an authorative voice and placing him in his crate or a room.  A time out needs to be an isolated spot away from anyone.  Time out's for this behavior should last about 3 minutes.  At this time, you let him out of his time out, do not pay much attention to him at this time, and let him go about his business.  Repeat as often and as much as necessary.  Also make sure Buddy has his own space  and time away from Nick once in awhile.  You do need to respect he's been around longer and his age.


It's really important you find someone to help you with this.  If Nick shows this type of behavior to Buddy, he'll end up acting this way around other dogs AND people, especially children.


You're being a very responsible pet owner by searching for answers to this problem and I applaud you for it.  Yorkies may be small, but they still can bite and it can do as much damage as a dog of any size could do.
Olivers Mom, Dog Answer Team
Category: Dog
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Experience: Dog Expert
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