Interesting to note, not all dogs get along!
And, the truth is, it is our fault as humans!
Back in the day of wild canines, dog evolution was in the “paws” of the wild canines.
Today, humans manipulate characteristics and have changed the face of the first domesticated wolves that became companions.
By neotenizing (to cause a breed to retain immature or juvenile characteristics or features, even as adults), we have even manipulated breeds to be able to communicate efficiently with one another.
Deborah Goodwin, John Bradshaw, and Stephen Wickens, researchers from the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Southampton in Great Britain, studied ten breeds of dogs and how they communicate and form sociability; look it up because it is fascinating!
To summarize, our manipulation of characteristics has created numerous problems, not only physically (in the form of dysplasia and disease), it has also created problems with communication and sociability between breeds and individuals.
For instance, did you know that terriers are bred to show dominant traits and not get along with other dogs (especially other terriers and other dogs like them)?
This means it is crucial to know the characteristics of the dog you have and the dog you are looking at adding to your household.
It may not be smart to have two very dominant Staffordshire Terriers or Bull Terriers in the same household.
And, if you are determined to make it work, it may take a lot in the form of control and maintenance when it comes to the humans in the house.
It is true
It’s true, some dogs can’t get along no matter what you do, nor the medication applied.
These dogs have a desire to kill one another on sight, and it is challenging to maintain dogs like this safely.
Many breeders know how it is to live with this dynamic, because most often the dogs are of the same sex.
It is crucial that these dogs never have access to one another or meet face to face.
Just the other day, a client was telling me that one dog broke out of it’s crate, then hit the other dog’s crate like a bull until it broke the other dog out so that they could fight.
Stories like that amaze me, but it certainly happens.
The average dog owner does not have what it takes, nor the desire to live this lifestyle.
Some Tips on How to Safely Add Dogs to Your Household
Know Your Breeds (again, don’t put two very dominant breeds together)
Puppies Are Usually Easier to Integrate (make sure you take the time to train the new puppy!)
Do NOT Adopt or Buy Siblings (siblings often grow up to have dominance problems and fights, even though they got along as puppies)
If Your Adult Dog HATES Puppies, Don’t Get a Puppy (some adults just hate puppies, so it might be easier to find an older or calm adult dog)
Don’t Assume Fighting Will Dissipate (many people see early aggression and discount it. Listen to what the dogs are trying to tell you. It is easier to immediately send a dog or puppy back before you spend weeks getting attached)
Insist On Control From the Beginning
Exercise Makes For Tired Dogs and Less Conflict
To live harmoniously with two dogs that don’t necessarily care for one another takes a very involved and very controlling owner.
The dog must understand his boundaries and what will be tolerated.
Ironically, I have two dogs that don’t like one another.
They haven’t liked one another from day one, yet they tolerate each other because they both love and respect me.
I stop any hard or inappropriate play, immediately!
I don’t allow them to stiffen and posture over one another.
I don’t even allow them to shoot each other “stink eye” without letting them know that I see it.
By stepping in early, it dissipates the situation and prevents it from escalating.
Control Requires Obedience
Control, by definition, requires obedience.
If I have not taught the dogs obedience, they have not learned to control themselves, even without distractions.
How then, could I expect the dog to listen when he is enraged or focused on something besides me?
Obedience is the key to keeping your pack functioning without fights.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.