Dealing with Dog Aggression in a Home with Two Dogs (Akita and Siberian Husky)
Kathy lives in Land O ‘ Lakes, Florida. She has 2 dogs, a male Siberian Husky named Zeus and a female Akita named Mika. Zeus was an adult dog when the family got Mika as a puppy. Both dogs were fixed when they were puppies.
Zeus was always the top dog and Mika accepted Zeus as alpha. They originally played very well together. However, when Mika was 9 month old, she realized that she was bigger and stronger than Zeus.
One day the dogs started fighting and this time Mika would not back down. The fight sounded vicious and Mika had Zeus pinned on the floor with her mouth around Zeus’s neck. The fight was immediately broken up and the dogs were put in separate rooms. Thankfully, neither dog was seriously injured.
After this confrontation, the dogs could not be in the same room without growling at each other. Kathy feared that the next fight would cause one or both dogs to get hurt.
Some dogs can sort out dominance issues themselves and some dogs can not. Kathy and her family did not know what to do. Kathy considered giving Mika to the pound but she loved Mika and wanted to exhaust all possibilities before giving up on her. In this situation, Kathy needed a professional trainer to help them handle the fighting so it would not continue to escalate.
Kathy contacted me to see if there was anything I could do to help her and her dogs. She always made sure she treated the dogs equally.
The problem is, when there is a power struggle between dogs, you can not treat them both equally. Especially when each dog is fighting to be dominant. The other big problem with Mika is she did not understand Zeus’s boundaries. She was always bugging Zeus and would never leave him alone.
There are several ways to handle dog dominance issues and how you handle this problem is on a case-by-case bases. I needed to teach Kathy and her family to be the pack leaders. Once that was done. Kathy’s family needed to recognize Zeus as the top dog. In this case, Zeus was older and he lived in Kathy’s home first. Mika needed to treated as the less dominant dog.
In this case, I taught Mika that she needs to give Zeus his space when he needed it. To ensure that Mika listened to Kathy, Mika dragged a leash when she was with Zeus until she learned to not bug him all the time.
Mika received her food, toys, treats after Zeus. By having human intervention this helps reinforce Zeus’s leadership role. The hierarchy has been established! They are no longer fighting and are able to stay in the same room and play together! : )
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