My dogs don’t get along ─ this can be an all-too-familiar scenario in a house with more than one dog. While pups are naturally sociable creatures, they can still fight and be aggressive with one another, especially if they’re sharing space.
Having two dogs fight can be scary and dangerous for all parties. If you constantly ask yourself how to get two dogs to get along, then it might be nigh time to do something about it.
Why Do Dogs Fight All The Time?
You may be wondering, my two dogs fight all the time; what can I do about this? Is there a reason behind their aggression?
Pups can get into fights for a variety of reasons, with most rooting from their natural canine instincts. Particular scenarios can make the most sociable and friendly dog into a vicious, snarling fighter.
Dogs are naturally territorial animals. A study about canine aggression toward unfamiliar dogs and people explained that the natural territorial behavior in dogs could lead to aggression. If a new dog enters your home or yard, your pet can act aggressively and start a fight.
Another reason is possession. Dogs have the urge to protect their prized possession, including their people and toys. As mentioned, they are territorial creatures. They have the natural desire to protect what they deem as theirs.
Dogs can be protective of their food, which is usually referred to as resource guarding. It is common for a dog to snarl at another dog if they come near it while eating. They see this as an act of provocation to start a fight.
Fear or Anxiety
Why do my two dogs attack each other, you might wonder. Fear is another common reason to start a dog fight. Dogs can act out of fear, responding with aggression. They can resort to offensive posturing when they feel threatened, hoping to scare the other pet away.
Overstimulation and what could have started out as a friendly scuffle and play can go too far. It can lead to an actual aggressive fight. A pup can be pushed too far and way past its point of tolerance. It can be the case for reactive dogs; they can get overwhelmed by specific triggers.
This is common in dogs that live with other pups. When they don’t get something they want or become particularly frustrated, they take it out on the closest target, which is usually their fellow dogs. It can happen in a fenced yard when the aggressive dog can’t reach a pup from the other side but has access to a fellow canine family member.
How to Get Two Fighting Dogs Get Along
If you’re wondering how to make dogs get along, there are various ways to go about it. Don’t get discouraged if your pooches don’t seem to get along. They can become friends with your intervention!
Here are some effective ways to diffuse the tension between your canine family members and make them friendlier towards each other.
Do Proper Introduction
Pet owners make a common mistake when introducing their two dogs to one another; they place them in the same space or compound and let them bond by themselves. There’s a chance that it could work, but there is still a possibility that it won’t.
There are myriad ways of introducing your pet to a new canine family member. One good way is through a walk. Don’t suddenly bring the new dog into the house. It might see this as an invasion of its space and territory, leading them to act aggressively.
Walk them together in a neutral territory to sniff and greet each other appropriately. Don’t let them walk too close to each other as one of them might feel threatened. At the first signs of tension, separate them immediately.
Make Sure The Two Dogs Are Socialized
The worst thing to do if you have dogs that don’t get along is to ignore the problem. Don’t isolate or separate them completely. Socialization is the key to achieving balance and peace in a household with two or more dogs.
Don’t think along the lines of my two dogs hate each other, so I’ll separate them for good. This only creates a separate territory for each pup, which isn’t ideal since the territory is a natural cause of dog fights.
You can temporarily separate them if the fights are aggressive but don’t completely isolate them. Also, socialize them and let them be aware of the other pup’s presence.
Give Them Alone Time
Most people think dogs that don’t see eye to eye should interact more. They seem to believe that forced interaction can get them to warm up to each other. Some pet owners would force them to share the same bowl, sleep in the same den, or play with the same toys.
If you’re helping dogs get along, those things will not work. Every one needs their alone time, especially if they are unfamiliar with each other. Therefore, it would be ideal to give each of them separate rooms where they won’t feel threatened by the other canine’s presence.
Keep them separated while eating and training. Only reduce the separation if you think your dogs are starting to become friendlier and if they no longer show hostile behavior to one another.
Show Them You're Dominant
Dogs are naturally packed animals ─ and in every pack, there should be an alpha that dominates the group. Therefore, every pack needs to have a leader. You can expect them to naturally compete for that leader spot, hence the display of aggression or posturing when they first meet.
Do remember that you are also a member of the pack. You need to exert your dominance and seize the alpha position for yourself. If they see you as their alpha, they will stop seeing each other as rivals, which could make them finally get along.
Supervise Your Dogs At All Times
When your dogs interact, ensure that you keep an eye on them. It is a safe bet that they won’t be friendly instantly. It can take months for newly acquainted pets to get along.
Supervision is needed to stop or hinder any chance of dogs fighting each other. Prevent leaving them alone for long periods by themselves. Someone capable of breaking a fight should be present as much as possible.
Enroll Them In Obedience Training
Dog fights don’t only happen between canine family members. There are instances when they pick a fight with an unknown pet or even with strangers. If you feel you don’t have proper control over your pup and you’re wondering how to get dogs to like each other, you can try enrolling it in obedience training.
Obedience training helps you gain better control of your canine, reducing the chances of a fight. Basic obedience training can include the standard ‘down,’ ‘sit,’ or ‘stay’ commands.
Crate Training Can Also Help
Crate training might seem cruel to some since it gives the impression of ‘imprisoning’ your dog, but it can help train your pets to get along. As mentioned earlier on, it is necessary to establish a separate space for your pets. You can use a crate to set up those different spaces.
Dog crates can help separate your pets and keep them apart. These crates can serve as a shelter that can give them a place to feel safe at. In fact, they instinctively seek out small spaces to form a protective shelter for themselves.
Have Them Checked for Physiological Problems
My two dogs started fighting randomly because one was growling or snapping at the other for no apparent reason ─ that might be a cause for concern. It could mean that they are not feeling well or are in pain.
In this scenario, it would be wise to bring them to the vet for a check-up. They might be experiencing physiological problems or issues.
Give Them Equal Attention
If you’re adopting or taking in a second dog, your current pup will feel threatened or jealous. There’s a new dog in its space, one that could potentially be a rival for your affection and time.
Give both of them an equal amount of attention. If you give the newcomer more attention, your existing dog might feel neglected. This can lead to a tense relationship between the two pups.
Like humans, time and personalities matter if your dog meets someone new. Some dogs can get along with others in an instant, while there are ones that seem to never get along. It could be due to clashing or differences in personalities.
You can’t expect dogs to become friends immediately. If you’re bringing in a new pet, you should expect a couple of fights to break out since these are unavoidable. At the very least, you must know how to get dogs to get along after a fight.
Dogs are sociable creatures, so they can get along with other animals ─ that is a usual thought that people have. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Fights can be common even in the most established and balanced pack. What you can do is learn how to train dogs to get along.