By Kelly Marshall
Canine rivalry is a situation many pet owners find themselves in when they bring home a new addition to the family.
Problems often quickly escalate as the two animals try to establish who will be the dominant dog in the home.
This situation can also arise if one dog suddenly begins to get an inordinate amount of attention from one or more of the humans in the house.
Dogs share their genetic profile with the wolf and as such even though they have been domesticated for many years some of the pack traits come to the surface.
Among wolves there is a clear leader known as the alpha male, same with females. All other animals in the pack will defer to the strong alpha male leader of the pack. When it comes to domesticated dogs the lines are not so clearly drawn but often times you will see conflict as boundaries are created and then challenged.
The one question on most dog lovers’ minds is how to alleviate the canine rivalry that is disrupting their peaceful homes. This is a question that needs an answer and quickly as unresolved canine rivalry has the potential to cause severe injury to the animals or the people who love them.
The first thing you must do is establish yourself at the top of the food chain so to speak. In other words, when it is all said and done you are the alpha leader in the house and all dogs are to submit to your authority.
That being said you should not necessarily intervene when your dogs are attempting to establish their hierarchy. Unless the situation begins to look dire you should allow your dogs to work out their canine rivalry on their own, this is the natural progression of relationships between dogs. However, should one dog begin to become too aggressive, you can separate the animals by squirting them with cold water.
Spay or Neuter
Sometimes having dogs of the same gender in the same household creates a canine rivalry that never seems to end, in this case, the best course of action is to have both animals neutered or spayed. This way males will not feel the need to fight for dominance for mating purposes and the natural protective instinct of a potential mama dog will also be lessened.
You should know that incorporating punishment to deal with canine rivalry is not the best solution. Often physical punishment will only intensify the problem leading to injury for you or your other dog. If things are getting out of control, you may consider using crates or individual rooms to separate combative dogs. This is as close to punishment as you should come.
Dealing with canine rivalry can be stressful in the beginning but if you use the few tips above and a little common sense, you will do fine. As a general rule the struggle for dominance will be resolved in a few days to a week, if it goes on for much longer than that, you might want to consider consulting a professional dog trainer.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly visit Oh My Dog Supplies.