Sibling Rivalry in Dogs: A Potential War on Your Home


Given that they are direct descendants of wolves, domestic dogs are social animals and like a pack structure, they work together to achieve common goals. These include food, security, and other resources. The most socialized dogs don’t usually fight as doing so wouldn’t be good for the group.

However, “sibling rivalry” in pets may exist, and most of the time, they are fighting for one thing: your attention. Highlighted by fights, bites, and injuries, dog sibling rivalry can be a dog owner’s worst nightmare. With that said, here are ways which can help you deal with and prevent it:

Realize That Dogs don’t See the World as Humans

A number of dog owners make the mistake of treating their dogs like humans. Although we can’t deny canines are capable of expressing human-like emotion, the concept of democracy and equal rights do not apply in the dog world.

If you have multiple dogs of the same sex, there will always be an individual that stands out among the others regardless of breed or size.

What Causes This?

There are a number of reasons as to why dogs are fighting each other, and some of which is partly your doing. Here are some of which:

• Competition for your attention. While petting one of your dogs, was there ever a situation where in another went over and forcefully separated the two of you?

• Fighting over resources. They may fight over food, toys, personal space, and your attention. The dominant dog will always demand more or be the first dog out when exiting the door.

• Wrong introduction. Did you follow the right procedure in introducing a newly-adopted dog to your senior one? The latter may treat the former with animosity if done incorrectly.

Preventing Fights

If you don’t want any of your pets to end up in the animal hospital because of fights and aggression issues, here are some observances which can help prevent fights:

• As painful as it sounds, you need to grant certain privileges to the dominant dog, like leading him out of the house and greeting him first when you arrive home.

• Shed off excess energy. Always have them out for walks and play sessions. This will redirect the energy they could have used for aggression elsewhere.

• Have separate feeding areas. This will eliminate the chances of the dominant dog forcing his way into the less submissive one’s food bowl.

What to do When Fighting Occurs

Fights make sibling rivalry in dogs extremely dangerous and knowing how stop them is vital in pet care . When one occurs, it’s best to resort to any of these methods:

• First off, ensure that both canines have ample obedience training, and are aware of the commands, “sit” and “stay”.

• When a fight starts, do not get physically involved as you might injure yourself. Instead, use a whistle or a startle to capture their attention.

• Do not panic or act hysterically when the battle is at its peak. Instead, act calm and poised: dogs will know if you’re nervous.

• After they’ve broken up, separate and order them to “sit” and “stay” for 30 minutes or more. This will associate fights with a negative connotation, and they’ll make a mental note to avoid doing it in the long run.

Overall, sibling rivalry in dogs can be stressful, but with proper knowledge, observances, and enforcement, the problems can be eliminated. Also talk to your veterinarian for more advice.

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