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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Customer Question

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

What are the ages of both dogs as well as the sex, and whether they are fixed or not?

Are they both in good health?

How long have you owned each one.

Which one is the aggressor?

Can you describe a couple of instances where this happened including what was going on around them before it happened?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.


I was hoping to get a response back to my request for more information, but I don’t want you to go without an answer either.

It is likely a dominance issue between the two dogs. Dogs are pack animals and they use growls and nips to reprimand unacceptable behavior from a lower ranking dog. Alphas are supposed to get to eat first, own everything and just allow other dogs to have things and they by right should get treats and affection first as well. So if a lower ranking dog takes something that the alpha thinks is theirs then they will reprimand them with a growl or nip.

Sometimes owners contribute the tension. An owner might show affection for a lower ranking dog before the alpha. The alpha can not reprimand you (usually) and thus will take it out on the dog since they should have known not to go to you until the alpha had all the attention they wanted. Often an owner will feed or give treats to a lower ranking dog leading to a reprimand.

You can help the situation by recognizing the alpha dog and always feeding that dog first or show that dog attention first. This will help prevent situations where they might clash. Obedience training will help as well The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Obedience training helps you control your dogs and as you gain control of them, they see you as the boss and as boss you decide who you want to show attention to and who gets reprimanded. That usually help with attacks that happen only when the owner is around.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.