Behavioral problems

What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 8, 2016
What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along

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We usually think that dogs, being naturally sociable animals, are always going to get along well with other animals. For this very reason, many families decide to welcome another dog into the household.

Just like people, however, dogs can not get along with one another. When this happens, dogs living together can become a real headache for their owners, who don't know how to tackle the problem.

In this post we will give you the necessary tips to keep two or more dogs at home and make sure they get on well. Keep reading this AnimalWised article to know what to do when two dogs don't get along.

You may also be interested in: How Long Does it Take For Two Cats to Get Along?
  1. Introducing two dogs to each other
  2. How should you act at home?
  3. What to do when two dogs get along very badly?

Introducing two dogs to each other

Increasing the size of the family by adopting another pet can be very positive when your dog spends a lot of time alone, but it is important to do so correctly to prevent compatibility problems between the two dogs.

Dogs are very territorial animals, meaning there may be aggression problems if they feel that a new animal is invading their space; they may even try to attack the other dog. Most of the time, owners don't know what to do when two dogs don't get along at home.

It is essential to prevent this by making sure that they first get to know each other in a neutral territory such as the park, before you bring your new tenant home.

It might be the case that the two dogs get on great from the start, or that you spot there is bad blood between them, for instance if they growl or challenge each other. In these cases, it is advisable to start taking them for walks together so that they get used to teach other's company in a relaxed atmosphere before they start living together.

Here you will learn how to know if your dog is angry in case you have doubts about its body language.

What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along - Introducing two dogs to each other

How should you act at home?

Dogs consider their home as a territory they need to defend, so they can get aggressive when another animal enters. It's very important to know what to do when two dogs don't get along to prevent more serious problems.

One of the most important issues is training them properly. As the owner, you are responsible for getting your pets to respond to your orders and obey the rules of the house. This is a very important step when it comes to introducing a new member into the family. If the two dogs don't get along you can start teaching orders to the new dog separately and gradually begin teaching them together as the training progresses.

By doing this, you can teach each animal to respect the space and possessions of the other. Each dog will have its own bed, food bowl and toys - especially at the start - which is why there will be fewer problems with possessiveness and jealousy.

The roles should be well marked: You are the leader of the pack and the dogs need to know it. Nonetheless, remember that violence leads to more violence, and you should never reprimand your dogs by hitting them or shouting at them aggressively. This is not only animal abuse, but can actually make your dogs more aggressive and cause them to fight more between each other - and perhaps even attack you. You can make your dogs respect you by using different training methods like positive reinforcement, rewarding good behaviors instead of punishing bad ones.

There is also hierarchy among the animals. Dogs may growl or challenge each other after the introduction of a new member to the family unless one of the two dogs is clearly submissive. This is a normal attitude and there is no need to worry.

Dogs sometimes fight for the affection of the owner, so you should avoid showing more affection to one than the other. At the same time, you should show the veteran of the house that nothing has changed despite the arrival of a new friend.

What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along - How should you act at home?

What to do when two dogs get along very badly?

If you have followed our advice but still feel that you can't control your dogs and you don't know what to do if your two dogs get along very badly, it will be best to consult a canine ethologist, who will analyse the situation and help you find a solution to the problem.

As we explained, growling and small feuds are common among dogs. However, serious fights and situations which you cannot control require the visit of a professional who will guide you with appropriate guidelines and tips for your particular case. The ethologist will help you by evaluating your daily routine - including walks, exercise and other aspects - the welfare of both dogs and the possible causes of the problem.

Do you have more than one dog at home? How do they get on? How did the introduction of a new family member go down? Tell us in the comments.

What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along - What to do when two dogs get along very badly?

If you want to read similar articles to What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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I have two pits both rather big muscular dog's. Recently an 11 week old female was brought in. Yes I know there's my problem. But no my boys have gotten on great untill the other day when they fought,I broke it up quickly and separated them because they wouldn't stop. Then my older one snuck up on the younger one and that one took a minute to get broken up. I literally was dragged on my chest through the mud trying to keep them apart, couldn't let one go cause he'd go right after the other one. Now I have to keep them completely separate or it's on. It's my pack and it's breaking my heart cuz I have to keep them separated they were best friends that now want to kill each other is there anything I can do? Already looking for new home for the female but it's my boys I'm concerned about. I've had both sense they were 6 weeks old and we spent everyday and night together were a pack I need this to stop for all our sanity's.
charles m.
i have 4 small mix breads that are brothers i have no problem out of two of them. but the other two want to fight to the extent that i had to separate them one out weights the other by twice its weight. i have tried training collars. about the only thing that will stop them if they hook up is my 22 with blanks in it they dont like the loud noise. got any other thoughts.
Miss Jane walsh
Hi I have 2 dogs that want to kill each other 2 years ago I had a 13 year old boxer a 12 year old staffy we bought a 11 week old staffy puppy four a year all was fine till my old boxer died then over the next 3 months the older staffy bullied the 1 year old is slowly got worse till know we’re keep one in the kitchen and one in the living room if they meet as they did the other day they latch. On and won’t let go is go so bad me and my partner are falling out over it could it be fixed
Dot Cook-Simmons
I have a 2 yr old F GSD and I just picked up a stray, but awesome, Lab! The Shepherd has never liked any other dogs, or at least limitedly, so I am trying to transition this docile Lab puppy into the German rules! When I initially got him (1 week) I let them run together but the Shepherd got too fired up and has even attacked him with a muzzle on. Do I just need to give it time??
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Dot,

Time is certainly a part of it, but if either of the dogs have been poorly socialized, then we need to address this problem as well. If not, then we may need to seek guidance from a dog trainer or ethologist. In the meantime, this article might help:
I have 3 dogs, all male. 5 year old shepherd mix, 4 year old Rottweiler and a 3 year old Pitbull. The pit was about 6 months old when we found him and introduced him to the other 2 dogs. Everything was great until the pit turned 1 1/2 then he and my Rottie got into a few bad fights where I even got injured.

My shepherd mix is perfect and get along with both dogs and both dogs respect him. Now we have to alternate caging the pitt and rott so they can get exopercise and play time with us and with my shepherd.

I'm not sure what to do here as I love them all. My Rott is quite aggressive even when he plays so we try to keep him busy with commands, treats and exercise. It keeps him calm, cool and so lovable most of the time but there are still times when he is to much.

My pitt is always lovable and listens very well and is not aggressive with anyone except the Rott so we still have to keep both dogs separate.
zandra Phillips
my of is very sweet but out of no where attacked my 2 dogs and husband what do I do besides get rid of her
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Zandra,

The reason why a dog is not getting along with others is dependent on their individual circumstance. It is often due to an issue with education, but it is not always easy to see what this issue is. A canine ethologist or suitably qualified dog trainer will be best at working out what is the root of the problem.
I have a 8 month old GSD mix female dog named Jerry and she's not well socialized and recently my father brought a 5 month old Rottweiler named Tiger.
Tiger is calm and ignores the aggressive situation but Jerry is very aggressive towards the situation. She always triggers a fight and I don't want any of them to be injured. What should I do to get them along?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Naman,

We have this article about how to stop two male dogs from fighting which might be a little more specific to your situation:

At the end of the article we point out that if you cannot prevent your dog from fighting, then it might be a behavioral issue which is beyond the experience of most dog owners. This is when it might be time to get in the help of a dog trainer or canine ethologist who will be better to help in the situation.
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What to Do When Two Dogs Don't Get Along