Sibling Rivalry: Dog Training Can Help!
Bogie and Atty are Terrier mixes and litter-mates, who, at one year old, began to have knock-down, drag-out fights with one another. The situation became so bad that on a few occasions they would bite their family members when they were trying to break them up. Atty caused an injury to Bogie once that was so severe that he had to be taken to the vet.
Bogie also developed fear issues towards other dogs and would bark and carry on his walks at the sight, or even hint, of another dog. One of their biggest issues was the unpredictable nature of the fights. They would seemingly be okay for a bit, and then suddenly a huge fight would begin. They also had typical behavior issues like jumping on guests, charging the door when company would come, leash pulling, etc, etc.
Their family consulted and worked with a trainer who could not achieve any positive results in their dog’s behavior (though they did learn to sit nicely for treats), and they were told that they would likely have to keep the dogs separated and managed for the rest of their lives. When I first met the family, their home was a maze of baby gates, and they lived in a dog-rotation schedule. This was a very stressful lifestyle for them, and they were on the verge of making the difficult decision to give up one, or both of their dogs.
I don’t take a “management” approach to dog training. Many of my clients come to me after seeing other trainers or “behaviorists” and are given all kinds of creative tricks to manage their dogs inappropriate behavior, but are never given the tools to make real, lasting changes. A great example of this is a dog who would be aggressive at the front door. The “behaviorist’s” solution was to tie the dog up across the room when they were expecting someone… now he couldn’t charge the door anymore! Problem solved, right? As a trainer who believes in getting results, my first order of business was to take down the baby gates and give the humans their house back.
We set some boundaries for Atty and Bogie, and re-established some leadership roles in the family (nothing extreme!), while we worked on making Bogie and Atty’s behavior completely predictable. Gradually, as Bogie and Atty began to respond to the training, and as their family became more skilled at handling them, we began to trust them together again. At the same time, we began to work with them around other dogs, which had always been a problem. Over time, both dogs became comfortable not only with each other, but with other dogs on their walks, too. Our last lesson, in-fact, was a pleasant walk (well, it was pretty windy) in a public park with both dogs greeting other dogs off-leash. What a fantastic success!
If you have multiple dogs who aren’t getting along, or if you have just one dog who isn’t behaving himself, I can help! If Bogie and Atty can do it, so can you!
Contact me today at 800.649.7297, or use my contact form.