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Canine Behavior/Puppy dominance?


I just got a seven-month year old puppy and he likes to attack my three-four year old dog. I understand that this is a way of showing dominance, but I want to find a way to stop it. The puppy is hurting the older dog and I want it to stop. The older dog doesn't fight back. I want to show them that I'm in charge and the older dog understands while the puppy is taking things into his own paws. Whenever I tug on the puppy's collar he stops for a second then goes back to fighting. Can you please give me some advice so I can stop the pup? I don't want to have many visits to the vet.

Very little information for me to diagnose a solution to the problem BUT:

A seven month old dog is not a puppy; worst case scenario: this adolescent dog (let's call him X) has never been socialized to other dogs at all (or anyone else, for that matter, perhaps); X must either be the result of a poor breeding experience (where he had to fight for the teat to survive) or a breed type or hybrid with no socialization OR used as bait for other dogs (Pit Bull fighting) or otherwise subjected to an adult dog that harmed him.  Your older dog (let's call him or her Y) is not behaving appropriately to these ATTACKS.  Perhaps Y is a very soft temperament or outright fearful because of his/her lack of socialization to other dogs.  I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING FROM HERE.

Do you have to fear that X will hurt Y?  Oh, yes.  Is there reason to suspect X might begin demonstrating fear aggression toward Humans?   Yes.  Dog to dog aggression (especially in so young a dog) is correlated to later dog to Human aggression.

This is not dominance; X is not old enough to be a rank opportunist.  This is far worse.  You are in CA????  I suggest you contact Dr. Ian Dunbar's office (he is located in Berkeley) for referral to a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (NOT a dog trainer).  You will be directed to a CAAB in your area.  Here is contact info for Sirius Dog Training:


MEANWHILE: put X on a house tab (long, lightweight leash); ANY TIME X approaches Y with intent to harm, remove X IMMEDIATELY behind a closed door (you stay on the other side), count to ten, open door, hold house tab in your hand, ask for "sit" (trained only with positive reinforcement), praise; hold onto tab for a minue or two, release.  Do this EVERY SINGLE TIME X attempts to attack Y.  If X persistently attempts to attack Y, X is not the dog for you, or for anyone with another dog OR children.  

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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