This is incredibly sad. The two dogs have been so close and now, unless it’s on a walk, they can’t look at one another without breaking into a fight.

They had Teddy, a Parson’s Jack Russell (18 months old) from a puppy. They some months ago they added eleven-month-old mixed breed Gizmo to their family.

All was well for many months, though looking back there was something they allowed that may have sown the seeds for the current fighting. Younger but bigger Gizmo was very excitable in his play, jumping all over Teddy who didn’t want it.

Hindsight being such a wonderful thing, but they should have stepped in a lot sooner.

Contributing factors to a fight

Gradually, over the months, both dogs have had enough of one another. From the start the older Teddy had controlled where Gizmo was allowed to go. Gizmo became more resistant and as he has got older. He has become defensive over his own personal space.

The result is to fight. The latest fight ended in injuries to both dogs.


A big contributing factor will have been Gizmo’s recent ear infection. He also began to growl when approached by the young daughter. He has growled when manhandled by the man to get him to go somewhere.

The dogs’ stress levels are higher than they might be. There are various contributing factors including walks – always on short leads. One can imagine the frustration of seeing open land with all the potential sniffs, but being unable to get to it.

On coming home the dogs are often wired and have to be ‘calmed down’ with ball play. A walk that ‘does the job’ brings home two calm and satisfied dogs.

Two highly aroused dogs are a fight waiting to happen. They will redirect onto one another.

One other factor may be the different approaches of mum and dad. The lady is very encouraging with the dogs but maybe a bit excitable. The man prefers discipline and to use commands. We need to avoid mixed messages now.

Preventing future need to fight

It all started in the early hours of the morning. The dogs’ beds were in the couples’ bedroom. Suddenly a vicious fight woke the couple up.


One can only imagine what had happened. I suspect both dogs were in the same bed. Teddy will have moved and possibly hurt Gizmo’s bad ear. Gizmo will have turned on him with Teddy immediately retaliating.

In the past the older Teddy had the control, but the tables have turned. It was waiting to happen.

Now the family have two dog gates on rooms leading off the hallway which is a kind of airlock. They walk one dog through and out while the other stays behind the gate.

They are able to meet up outside for their walks – which are always on short leads.

Reducing the animosity

No amount of training or scolding can change this. It’s about changing how the two dogs feel about one another. 

Whenever they walk past in the hallway with one dog, they will chuck food over the gate to the other. They won’t linger for now but keep walking. Later they will start to walk more slowly. They will watch carefully for eyeballing, negative body language or growling.

Both dogs are being checked over at the vet for pain – and Gizmo’s ear is now clearing up.

When all is okay in the hallway – the airlock, they then can try both dogs on long loose leads in the garden but a distance apart. When one dog looks at the other the person holding the lead immediately says ‘Yes’ and drops food.

Dropping the food makes the dog look away to pick it up. He looks back at the other dog? ‘Yes’ and drop food again.

The dog won’t eat? Then he’s not yet ready for this stage, they are too close or they have been in sight of one another for too long.

It will be wonderful if both dogs can get together again. There are no guarantees of course. The secret is to go slowly. Be patient. Never scold for growling but respond to what the dog is trying to communicate. 

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help