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Stopping In-House Dog Aggression In London

Living in the bustling city of London, dog owners often encounter unique challenges in managing their pets’ behaviour. One of the more troubling issues is in-house dog aggression, which can disrupt the peaceful dynamic of a multi-dog household. This article provides actionable advice for mitigating aggression between dogs, followed by a case study illustrating these methods in practice.

Key Tips for Preventing Dog Fights at Home in London

Establish Strong Leadership: Asserting yourself as a consistent leader is vital. Dogs feel secure with a clear hierarchy, which naturally reduces tension.

Create Separate Zones: Dedicate individual spaces for each dog’s food, toys, and rest. This limits competition and can be particularly effective in the confined spaces of London homes.

Regular Exercise: London’s parks offer great opportunities for exercise. Dogs with sufficient physical activity are less likely to engage in aggressive behaviour due to pent-up energy.

A plan: As a dog behaviourist in London I can formulate a personalised plan to get your dogs back together. The short generic answer is they need to be away from each other long enough that their stress levels decrease. Then they need gradual introduction.


Addressing Sibling Rivalry: A London Dog Behaviourist’s Case Study

In Notting Hill, West London, I met James, the owner of Bella, a lively Cocker Spaniel, and Baxter, a robust French Bulldog mix. Their recent fights had escalated alarmingly, leading to injuries that needed veterinary attention. James reached out to me, seeking a solution to restore peace in his home.

The Challenge in the Household

Upon my arrival, the tension was immediately evident. The dogs, secured at opposite ends of the room, mirrored the concern etched on James and his assistants’ faces. They were on edge, fearing another outbreak of aggression.

Implementing the Guardian Role

I introduced the household to the concept of my method, underscoring the importance of human leadership in the home. This method establishes the owner and household members as the decision makers , setting clear rules and boundaries for the dogs.  For James’s situation, this meant starting with the basics: controlling resources including when they gave put affection, defining spaces, and managing interactions. This showed the dogs they are not a resource to fight over.

The Separation Period

The first and most crucial step was to enforce a strict separation policy. For a month, Bella and Baxter lived parallel lives under the same roof. They were walked at different times, fed in separate areas, and given individual attention. The staff were vigilant, ensuring no direct contact took place to prevent any potential triggers of aggression.

This period of separation was vital. It allowed each dog to settle, reducing the constant challenge for territory and perceived ownership that had fuelled their aggression. Only when both dogs consistently showed no signs of aggression towards one another did we consider the next phase of their rehabilitation.

Gradual Reintroduction

Slowly, with meticulous planning and observation, we started reintroducing Bella and Baxter to each other’s company. Controlled interactions were initiated, starting with them simply being in the same room but at a safe distance. We watched for any signs of tension, ready to intervene at the slightest hint of discomfort from either dog.

Positive signs were met with cautious optimism. When one would offer a play bow from across the room, and the other responded with a wagging tail, we knew we were on the right track. These interactions were brief but progressively grew in duration and closeness, always under close supervision.

Building a New Relationship

Over time, the dogs’ walks gradually transitioned from solitary outings to walking together, initially maintaining a gap which was slowly decreased. The staff, trained to interpret canine body language, were instrumental in facilitating these walks, ensuring any play remained friendly and non-confrontational.

Any instance of rough play was promptly addressed. The dogs were separated, calming the situation before any escalation. It took only a few such interventions for Bella and Baxter to understand the acceptable limits of their interactions.

A Harmonious Conclusion

After several weeks of consistent and structured rehabilitation, the change in Bella and Baxter was remarkable. Their newfound camaraderie was a testament to the efficacy of the approach. They had learned to coexist, not as rivals vying for control, but as companions content with their place in the household hierarchy.

Bella and Baxter’s transformation was particularly meaningful. For James and his London home, peace had been restored.

See another successful case study with two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers I worked with in Maida Vale.

If you need any help with your dogs fighting, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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