Here are some great dog training tips when your dogs exhibit Sibling Rivalry.

We were leaving a dog training session last week in Flowery Branch when one of the neighbors approached us from across the street.  Since we have our Dog Training logo and phone number on our car, it is hard to miss us.  She told us that she has had her two dogs for years and they had always been the best of friends without giving her any trouble.  Recently they had started becoming aggressive and possessive with each other.  She had done some dog training and canine behavior Google searches and found that many of the articles mentioned “sibling rivalry”.  She wanted to know if this was something that could happen with dogs.

Having trained over 5,000 dogs, we have seen sibling rivalry between normally well behaved dogs pop up more than most people might think.  It could be simple snap and growl from time.  It could also escalate to a full out fight every time the two dogs come into contact with each other.  What is important is to try and remove this inappropriate behavior before it becomes necessary to give one of your dogs away.

Over the years we have developed several suggestions and training techniques that can help deter and eliminate sibling rivalry:

  • The most important thing that you must understand is that to deter the inappropriate actions caused by sibling rivalry, you must establish your leadership over your dogs.  You are the boss and they must listen to you, no matter what.  Sibling Rivalry can easily caused by your dogs fighting to take “the boss” position because they see you as week and ineffective.
  • Whatever you do, you must keep your dogs separated until you are comfortable that they no longer going to go after each other.
  • The first and most important dog training exercise that you should perform is distance control. You must perform this with each dog separately.  Get a 30 foot training lead and attach it to your dog.  Now, throw one of your dog’s favorite toys and have him go after it.  Gain his attention and have him come back to you.  This is not “fetch”, you simply want him to return.  If you can’t easily get your dog’s attention, give the lead a slight tug to get your dog’s attention.  This is a critical exercise because if your dog doesn’t respect you enough to pay attention to you, he will never see you as the boss that he needs to respect and obey.
  • Remember when we thought Mom gave our sister more of something than she gave us?  Sibling rivalry is also caused because one dog feels that there has been a special alliance established between you and the other dog. This is an easy thing for us to do because one dog might just be more affectionate.  You must make sure that you treat both dogs equally.
  • We need to be in complete control during this training transition period.  Because of that, keep both dogs leashed when they are together.  If they start to go after each other, you can easily and consistently separate them.  This allows them to see that, whatever is going on, you are maintaining control of their actions.  If you see too much staring or posturing between one or both of the dogs, redirect them back to you and have them do something on your terms.  Just have them sit and look at you.  After a few minutes when everything is calm, let them continue to interact.
  • Just to be on the safe side, always crate your dogs when you are gone.  As the leader, you can create any environment you wish.
  • You need to build up respect between you and your dogs.  The term that I like to use is that you must be resolute.  Signs of respect that you should look for are:
    • Ears back
    • Head down
    • Focus on you
    • Slight licking of the lips

Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help.  We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Flowery Branch Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Flowery Branch Georgia.