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Silbling Rivalry

I have a friend who bought some male GSP pups at 5 Mths of age(I have a sister bought at 6 Wks. that has a normal playful temperment). He says they are ferocious. That they have litterally tried to kill each other when put together. A shocking collar only made them fight harder(thought the other one was doing it I guess). They were kept in seperate kennels after the initial 6 wks or so. He is worried and wants to know if they'll grow out of it or stay mean.

I have seen this happen with littermates or dogs of the same age put together. A few times it has been the result of dogs that truly do not like each other for whatever reason. Not much could be done in this case, except to get rid of one of the dogs. Does one dog seem to be the instigator more often?

The other possibility is that neither dog has established dominance. As you are aware, dogs are a pack animal and need a place. With no order established, they are fighting for top dog. This is a problem you might be able to work through. A shock collar won't help, especially once they are already fighting. As you guessed, the shocked dog assumes the other dog is causing the pain. First off, your friend must make sure he is the recognized alpha in the pack. He should do dominance exercises with both dogs individually. Make them both understand he runs the show. Then he must decide which dog is going to be dominant. Is one a little more bold and forceful? Once he picks the dominant one, it's time to reinforce it to both dogs. The picked dominant dog gets fed first, trained first, gets to run in the field first, etc. Every time. No exceptions. Pet him and give him affection first. What you are trying to do is establish a pack order. Once you can get it locked in, the problem should go away. If it persists, your friend may just have to give up one of the dogs. It may just be an unrepairable problem.

Also, make sure each dog is getting lots of obedience yard work. Drill them until they listen instantly to your friend. He needs to have very good control over them.

Good luck,


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