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Canine Behavior/Three dog problem


I have a 5 year old English bulldog, a13 year old pit mix and a 14 month old pit/old English bulldog mix. The 13 year old is obviously a senior and when pup tries to get her to play, bulldog will run to intervene and separate them and hump the pup.  The bulldog and pup play frequently together so am wondering what is going on here? Is bulldog protecting older dog or defending his position in the pack? The bulldog and older dog get along but they are not close. Thank you for your time.

Hi, Janus. Yes, it sounds like he is trying to maintain his place in the pack. Is he neutered? How do you react when this happens? Is there any growling or anything else going on? What I would do to reinforce that they are all equal is doing things that place the younger one above him. Such as when petting, giving treats, feeding, go in order of the pack. Meaning the senior dog first, then the pup then the last. This works to mentally say whoever is given the first treatment is first in the pack. And this can go any way. Whoever is trying to bully over the other, they basically get the treatment after the one being bullied. But remember, regardless you are the alpha.

If you have any thoughts or other questions, feel free to get back to me. Thanks

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant


I have experience with multiple obedience issues, including anxiety, different types of aggression, introductions to a new pet and basic obedience situations, such as housebreaking, excessive leash pulling and excessive barking. There are several approaches to each behavior issue, depending on the animal's environment, as well as the breed, sex and age. I can also help you decide whether the problem sounds medical or behavioral.


I recently graduated with a Veterinary Technician degree with an emphasis in behavior and obedience training. I spent 5 years working in animal shelters where I trained shelter dogs in basic obedience and corrected behavior issues and educated adopting owners how to continue the training at home.

"Pawfect Pets;" a weekly column on canine and feline health and behavior tips.

Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

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