Behavior – Aggression – Dogs fighting – what to do

Dear Your own Vet’s animal behaviorist,

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Spaniels that fight

What to do if your dogs fight badly


My brother and sister-in-law live in Krugersdorp and have a middle aged female black Spaniel (Shadow aka Fatty) and decided to get her a companion so they adopted a male black Spaniel (Cosmo) about a month or so ago (plus minus mid May) from a shelter. Unfortunately things didn’t start off very well with her showing jealousy and aggressive tendencies accompanied by growling. Then on 31 May Shadow attacked Cosmo – I’m not sure of the reason but fortunately no one was injured.

On 11 June there was another attack – this time involving some crisps being dished out and Cosmo grabbing Shadow’s before she could get to it. Unfortunately both my brother and my nephew were injured this time L
Now it sounds like there was a far worse fight last night but I don’t know all the details.
Could you please offer some assistance prior to the drastic measure of Cosmo being taken back to the shelter?

Kind regards,
Sheila Milton


Solving the problem of dogs fighting

What to do when your old dog fights with the new one


Dear Shiela,

This is a very serious problem and stems from a problem with the hierarchy between the two spaniels. It is always very difficult to integrate an older dog into an established dog’s household, especially if that dog is very “assertive” over the house and food and belongings.
Also, by re-homing an adult dog, you are also taking on some baggage that it is coming with. Also people tend to give a lot of attention to a re-homed dog and this can cause a lot of problems with the existing dog.
If the female has not been well socialized at the critical stage of 8 weeks to 4 months, it can also mean that she won’t accept another dog into her home. Also if at any time the family gets cross with the female and shows too much attention to the male, then it will make things worse and she will attack the male.
This behavioural problem is extremely serious as humans are now being hurt. They need to get an animal behaviourist in to work with them and this problem – however, I don’t know of any behaviourist in the Krugersdorp area!
It also might be too late to salvage, as the female really wants to be the number one dog, and unless everyone TOTALLY ignores the male she will continue to attack him. She might have to become an only dog.


Kathy Clayton
Animal Behaviorist
Chairman of the Animal Behaviour Consultants of SA
Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer
011 783 3042 082 454 1750


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