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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19661
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We have two XXXXX XXXXXs one 5 years of and one 12 years,

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We have two XXXXX XXXXX's one 5 years of and one 12 years, two females. The youngest seems very jealous of the older dog although the youngest does seem to get most of the attention, een though we try to give them both the same. They have had the odd fight, but it seems to be getting worse and we don't know what to do about it. My husband was playing with the older dog and this has not been a problem before and the younger one doesn't mind, however today see didn't like it and starting to attaching the older dog, she drew blood and we have locked the younger dog in her create. What should we do?

Hi JaCustomer,.


My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. .


In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient. .


How long have you had each dog?

Did you have the older one first?

Are they spayed?

Does either dog have health issues that you are aware of?

What obedience training have they had?

Are they allowed on the couch and beds?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We bought them both from the same breeder, and have had them since they were puppies.


We have had Penny since a pup.


Yes they have both been de-sexed.


No both dogs are in good health.


They both only had puppy pre-school.

The older dog is much better natured than the younger one in so much as she has manners, and she also does as she is told, sits and shakes hands. The younger one doesn't do any of that. She is too busy chasing anything that moves.


After they fight they just get on as if nothing has happened, it seems.


We have just been away overseas for the last 7 weeks, and they have been in the kennels and they had a fight there and involved a vet visit. I am concerned for our older dog who doesn't deserve this, as she is a really lovely good natured dog. I am at wits end with these fights.


Yes they are allowed on the couch sometimes. Because Coco is much smaller she does like to sit on my lap while watching TV. Penny sits on the end of the couch, same couch. Let me know if you need any more information. Thanks

Thanks for the additional information. Usually when you bring a new puppy into a household, the resident older dog is the alpha dog and the puppy accepts that. However, as dogs age, younger dogs sometimes feel that since they are healthier, in some cases larger or more dominant by nature, they should be the top dog. When that occurs, they start acting more dominant toward the top dog. Seldom does an alpha dog just relinquish the top position voluntarily and fights start to occur. Fights can also start to occur when a top dog becomes ill. Since your one dog is elderly, it is possible that she has an undiagnosed issue that needs to be taken care of.

Dogs don't always fight to establish dominance and many times posturing alone might convince a higher ranking but less dominant female to relinquish her place in the ranking. However, it sounds like your girls are fighting at this point.

Some experts might suggest letting them work it out but in a pack situation, I feel that can turn ugly quickly. What I recommend is that you be sure they understand that you are the alpha of your pack. The best way of accomplishing this is with obedience training of all the dogs. This will help establish you as the alpha since each time they obey a command, mentally they are a little lower than you. So your younger dog definitely needs obedience training.


I suggest that you enroll her in an obedience class at a minimum. Before you can get into classes, I am including links to a couple of other sites that teach some good methods of training. Be sure and read both.


The following site is helpful. Be sure and click on link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.



Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). You can train each day with each dog but formal training classes will help teach them to obey with distractions. I would start making your dogs work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.


You will also want to keep a leash on them at all times initially to grab if they should disobey. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well your dogs do with training. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.

You then need to let them know that you won't tolerate aggression toward each other. Instead of waiting for a fight to occur, try and stop it at the first hint that one dog is getting ready to attack the other dog or any signs of aggression. In most cases, you will see a dog focus on the other dog and adopt a posture. If you look for it, you will likely see what I'm talking about. The following site may also give you a clue that it is going to occur.


If you notice that posture, give a tug on the leash attached and a firm low toned "NO" to let the aggressive dog know you will not tolerate the behavior anymore. Waiting till they are already fighting doesn't work. You need to stop it before. In many cases, these fights only occur when the owner is around since during these times the dogs are both vying for the owners attention and the higher ranking female feels the other dog is not respecting her right to have your attention first.


In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I've provided, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.


Living in a household with multiple females can be an issue. You may eventually need to keep the two separate to avoid these problems. You can read about this issue here:


I would also get the younger dog off the furniture and make her stay on the floor. That also helps lower her to a submissive position in the household.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


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