All dogs squabble occasionally. Dogs who live together mostly get into scraps over stuff they both want: Food, bones, toys, human attention, and sleeping spots. Like us, they have individual preferences and moods, and might be having a grumpy day or a headache. If the fights don’t result in injuries (i.e. you’re not at the vet’s following each fight having one or both dogs sutured), you have a number of options. Fights often happen as a result of a particular situation and if you can uncover the triggers through a little detective work, you can prevent most altercations.
Trigger: Who is this new dog in my house?
Remedy: Supervise your new dog closely for several days, especially when he interacts with your other dog. Praise your dogs for polite behavior.
Trigger: My sister is too close while I eat!
Remedy: Feed your dogs in separate bowls at opposite ends of a room, or in separate rooms.
Trigger: That is MY nyla bone/stuffed monkey/tennis ball/etc.
Remedy: Carefully manage access to objects your dogs might fight about: Bones, toys, beds, etc.
Trigger: When mom is not around, I find my sibling hard to take…
Remedy: Keep your dogs in separate rooms whenever you are not available to supervise.
When to get help.
When is it time to call your dog trainer? If the dogs seem stressed in each other’s presence (won’t eat, pant, avoid each other). If the fights happen more often or get more serious. If you can’t break up the fight with noise. If the fights cause injury to either dog.