Female dogs tend to be feistier than their male counterparts. Sibling rivalry can also play a major role in your dogs' heightened aggression. Bringing home sibling female dogs is no easy task, but you can reduce conflict by stepping up as the pack leader and extinguishing their battle for dominance.
Dogs often work out dominance issues amongst themselves; one dog steps up as the dominant sibling and the other the submissive one. When both dogs attempt to be dominant in the household, fighting is inevitable. To prevent aggression mishaps, one sibling must be treated as the dominant dog and the other as the submissive dog, according to animal behavior consultant Dr. Larry Lachman. Always greet, pet, feed and walk the dominant dog first and be consistent to maintain a dominance hierarchy.
When you are not home to supervise your furry Muhammad Ali’s, keep them separated to avoid conflict. Unless you are able to give each dog attention, neither should receive it. Siblings should only receive attention when they are together, never when separated. When you do acknowledge your pooches, always address the dominant dog first. Siblings should have separate eating and sleeping areas also. Walk the dominant dog to his sleeping quarters first, followed by the submissive dog.
When the submissive dog attempts to overstep his boundaries, a startle technique should be used to stop him in his tracks. For example, firmly saying “NO!” or giving the dog a spritz of water from a spray bottle may stop his behavior. The goal is to redirect your dog’s attention toward you before his aggression progresses. If your dog successfully deters his attention from the dominant dog toward you, reward him for his positive behavior. Avoid giving the dogs attention in tight areas that could amplify their aggression, such as in hallways, entrances or vehicles.
Daily reconditioning exercises can deter your sibling dogs’ aggressive episodes. Have a family member keep hold of the dominant dog on one side of the yard while another family member holds the submissive dog on the other side of the yard. While still on leashes, each dog should perform 10 “SIT!” commands, 10 “LIE DOWN!” commands and a five-minute “STAY!,” according to Lachman’s Sibling Dog Fighting Program. Over two to four weeks, the dogs should be gradually brought together until they are performing these demands side-by-side. After six to eight weeks, your sibling pooches should be able to perform their yard exercises leash-free.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.