Puppy Agression Towards Other Family Dog

Posted by LadyBell
Dec 21, 2010
Hi. I have two rescue dogs: 2 yr old Lab mix and a 9 month old German Shepard mix.
The puppy frequently starts fights with my 2 yr old. The first time I noticed it happened when my 2 yr old got to close to the puppy's food bowl. But lately the puppy just starts fights for no reason.

Is there a reason for this? Is the puppy trying to assert dominance?

Please help...I don't like to see them fighting plus it is getting harder and harder for me to break up the fights.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Dec 23, 2010
Hey ladybell,

I'm sure most of this behaviour is just normal puppy behaviour. At her age, its typical for a new pup to challenge the household heirarchy and try to get ahead of the older dog. The fights may sound and look brutal, but I'd imagine most of them aren't actually serious.

To help the situation, you need to pick your top dog for the ladder in the house. Treat that dog as first, especially in front of the other dog. I'm going to assume it'll be your 2 year old who gets top spot Feed this dog first, acknowledge this dog first when you come home, give this dog toys and treats first. And try to let the pup see all this. This will help get the order of things more clear to your younger pup.

When your puppy goes near something of the older dogs', tell her no, even if your older dog doesn't seem to care. Puppy only gets those toys/belongings when you give them to her, she's not allowed to take them.

When you're feeding them, like I said, feed your older dog first. Try letting the older dog finish eating before feeding the pup. If puppy growls at the older dog over food, you need to take the pups food away for a bit. She has to understand that she doesnt own anything in the house, she's the "bottom rung".

If you notice the puppy getting riled up and starting to agitate your older dog you can try saying "no" or "enough" or the like, or putting the puppy outside. That being said, however, some "fighting" is necessary for the pup to get the full message, you can't sort everything out between the dogs, only help the situation by making it a bit more obvious to the puppy.

If you absolutely want to break a fight up, try throwing/spraying water on the two of them, or making a loud abrasive noise to startle the attention out of them. That way you don't have to wade into the actual furball

Hope this helps, good luck!!
Posted by NurseM9009
Jan 4, 2011
I have a 5 yr old female pug, Grace, who is such a great dog. I have no issues with her. For Christmas I got a female beagle puppy for my husband. Something he really wanted and we have had beagles in the past as well. Well this beagle puppy, Joy, is a handful. She nips at Grace, puts her paws on Grace's back, which seems to show she thinks she's the ALPHA dog? Nothing I do seems to correct this problem. Joy also keeps putting her paws on Grace's face and the other day, scratched the bottom of Grace's eye. So I'm very anxious when Joy puts her paws near Grace's face at all. Pugs have flat faces so you really have to be careful of their eyes. So this is causing me alot of anxiety. I try distracting Joy from Grace by giving her a toy to play with instead, but soon after she's back after Grace. So I end up seperating them. Grace gets very annoyed with Joy and fights back, but Joy is fearless and comes back at Grace with more avengance. Any suggestions to help teach Joy she is not the superior dog?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 4, 2011
Hey nurse,

Have you tried the above suggestions, putting Grace first in everything and helping establish her as the dominant dog? When you seperate them, try taking the beagle pup away, not Grace. Removing the older dog only leaves the younger "upstart" to think they won, because they are where the fight was/where they started.

Try putting your beagle in a time out situation, by herself in a quiet environment until she calms down, then try again. Keep taking her away as long as her behaviour is unacceptable.

As Ive said to other members, some fighting is normal and to be expected; you cant fully stop it. Dogs have to sort out dominance between themselves in the end, though by helping like I described you can make it less terrorizing. Some of your beagles attitude is just puppy in a new home behaviour and it will settle down with time.

Hope you can help them sort through it, til then, keep removing your new beagle pup, especially when you think it might turn into an unnecessary injury to Grace! Good luck
Posted by jinx
Jan 28, 2011
What about a puppy who's just aggressive in general to every other dog he meets? i have a 7mth old yorkie/schnauzer mix and everytime we see another dog, he goes on the offense. Sometimes i leave it alone since i can tell theyre playing, but other times, he seems to feel the need to assert dominance by trying to hump the other dog. My aunt has a teacup yorkie whos half the size of my dog, and everytime theyre together my dog just keeps chasing her. How do i get him to be peaceful with other dogs and leave my aunts dog alone. My puppy is already neutered as well
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 29, 2011
Hey jinx,

Does your pup listen well? Have you done alpha dog training with him so that he knows your boss?

When he gets going, whether on walks or with the yorkie pup, you should tell him "no", and remove him from the area to calm down. If you do it everytime, as soon as he gets worked up, he should get the idea. It would help if you can keep him on a lead around other dogs too, until he learns to stay calm and listen to you when you say "enough" or give some command to have him stop. Work with him on lead at the park and with his yorkie friend, giving it a tug when he tries to run toward another dog, and giving him commands to listen to you (bring treats!). The lead will help you keep control of him so you dont end up chasing him around, and is only temporary until his listening skills develop more

Some dominant behaviour with other is common with some particular dogs, but you should call an end to it when it gets to be harrassing to other dogs. Taking your pup to obedience training classes could help as well, because its both interaction with other dogs and learning to obey you in a loud, group setting.

Some of the behaviour is also probably related to being a puppy, and will settle down as he gets older. I know its not much help now, but if you remember that puppies do act up, and there is light at the end of the tunnel, it makes some of it more bearable

I think go with verbal correction and working with him on lead and using time outs. Repetition is key! And always praise him when he behaves himself around other dogs. Hope this helps, let us know how he goes!