How Do I Keep Dogs from Fighting with Each Other at Home?
Why is raising littermates so much harder? How do you keep your dogs from fighting with each other? There are many hurtles to raising littermates and most people do not have the time or don’t even know about the potential problems. I get several calls a week, sometimes a day, from people asking how to keep dogs from fighting at home. It is absolutely possible to raise two puppies and have healthy and happy dogs if you do it correctly. It is important to know that even though they get along as puppies, when they enter adolescence it is highly likely for even the best of friends to have fights. Dogs do not have to actually be from the same litter to see each other as siblings. Sibling rivalry can develop between dogs that are several weeks or months apart.
To keep dogs from fighting it is important to work with them one on one. Many people get two puppies so that they can play together when the opposite needs to happen. Stan and Lenny are only a couple weeks apart in age, but they did not even meet each other for several months. Your puppy needs to bond to you and the rest of his human pack. It is important for your puppies to develop as individuals, not part of a pair. When two puppies grow up together it is natural for them to sort out where they stand in the pack. This may look like playing when they are young, but if left unchecked will turn ugly as they enter adulthood.
As puppies progress in their individual training and maturing process their crates can be moved from separate rooms to being next to each other. I always socialize a puppy with stable adult dogs first. This teaches them what is and isn’t appropriate when interacting. When it is time to introduce them to each other, there will be no toys or other resources for them to fight over. I will either take them both for a structured walk or pack walk, but I will continue moving. Stopping and standing still is when you will start seeing unhealthy behaviors like wrestling or inappropriate play. To help keep dogs from fighting continue to move. I want my pups to continue to follow my leadership and migrate with me. Never leave puppies together unattended. If you do, one will end up being more dominant and aggressive and the other more submissive and fearful. This can cause major problems down the road. If you take the time, raising littermates the right way from the start will seem like a daunting task at first, but in the end it will keep dogs from fighting, developing destructive behavior, or turning fearful and aggressive. Just remember to do what is best for the dog. It will be more work for you, but will pay off in the long run.