How to stop a dog fight

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If you have a two-dog (or more-dog) household, chances are, they get into fights from time to time. Fights about who gets to come in the house first, or who gets to eat first, fights about who gets to snuggle nearest you on the floor… Fights that, to us humans, seem pretty darn silly!

But, when you look at it as sibling rivalry, it makes a bit more sense–if you have any brothers or sisters, I bet you got into weird territorial spats for no good reason from time to time (I know I did!).

The most common cause of dog fights is when your dogs are unclear about the boundaries. So, it’s important that you make a firm decision about who the alpha dog will be and treat that dog as the alpha. That dog should be petted first, given a treat first, leashed first, and fed first. Always. It may seem “unfair” to us people, but to dogs, anything else is confusing and can lead to snarls and snaps.

Next, make sure you’re consistent with the rules. If the dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture, never let them on the furniture. If they’re supposed to sleep in their crates, always put them in their crates for bed. Confused dogs are more likely to get into fights.

Finally, make sure each dog has his or her own things–a separate food bowl, a separate leash, a separate sleeping area (or crate, or both), separate Kongs. Some sharing can go on, certainly, but of the most important things, each dog needs his or her own.

If you have a multidog household, how do you avoid fights?

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