Sometimes dogs break out into big fights while playing. How can I maintain peace in the house?
By Gautam Kari
Graduate from Animal Behaviour College, California
Certified Animal Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer specializing in providing therapy for aggressive and fearful dogs as well as solving nuisance behaviours.
Problems or queries please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 7720094621 for consultation or to book a personal session.
I have two dogs, Simba and Luke - a German Shepherd 3 year old and a Cocker Spaniel 1 year old. They get along most of the time but Luke always bullies the GSD and always demands attention when I am with him. They sometimes break out into big fights while playing. How can I maintain peace in the house?
Hi Aakriti, I am glad that the two of them get along most of the time. The reason why Luke, the Spaniel, is the fire starter in the sibling rivalry is because he is your second dog. The first dog normally gets more training and more attention. This also happens in our human world many times. We are generally very careful with our first child and take extra preventive measures, and then we take that success for granted and become pretty loose with the second. This may not always be the case but here are a few tips to follow when getting your second member.
Firstly, teach them that when you're talking, treating or pampering Simba, it's your time with Simba and Luke should not intervene. The same goes for Luke. That is, Simba should find something else to do during your time with Luke. The best way I've seen to do this is to go down on your knees and pet one dog's face while putting your elbow out to the second dog. You should not push the second dog away with your hands as this will not really work. The elbow concept very easily and clearly shows a dog that this is not his time and that he should respect your space. Your hands are the most familiar to a dog and they represent feeding, playtime, petting time and interactive time, whereas your elbows represent "back off, it's not your time". Your dogs will very quickly associate this gesture with the concept of respecting space with humans as well as other pack members.
Going back to my 11 leader-relationship exercises with your dog - "do not let your dog invade your personal space", is one of the keys for a dog to understand space and this helps you with nuisance behaviours like jumping, demanding, mounting, nipping and rough play.
Rough play? Once you have established space with your dog, avoiding rough play will solve your problem once and for all. Something that slips our mind in this peaceful household is that you may be sensitive towards solving mouthing, jumping, etc., from dog to human but forget to implement this with dog to dog, and by allowing dogs to engage in rough play, you are sending them a confused message to respect humans but not other dogs. This leads to harsh mouthing and then even bites. If left alone, two doggie buddies could start off as great friends and could end up hurting each other and even disliking each other permanently if rough play isn't kept in check. All you actually have to do is make a loud sound like clapping, shaking a box of marbles or even whistling and say the words, "Hey! No rough play, easy!" This will reinforce to a dog that teeth are not allowed on human skin or animal skin.
I hope this answers your question and if you follow these rules, you should have a peaceful household in the next two or three days. Good luck and let us know how this goes!.
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