Dog Aggression, Same Household
To begin with and to be fully transparent & honest, in our opinion & experience it is more about managing and controlling the environment (always supervised and separated) than introducing them. Keeping both dogs safe, as you know, should be a top priority.
This Moment Can Make Things Immediately Worse,
But is Unlikely to Make Long-Term Strides!
The so called “INTRODUCTION” in our opinion is highly overrated and dangerous when dealing with dog aggression in the same household; there’s so much more to it, than the “proper introduction.” Frankly, we do not even understand how an “introduction” would solve aggression. What we have witnessed over the years of training dogs is many unsuccessful dog introductions.
If the proper introduction was all that was needed, there would be no aggression between humans. Now, don’t get us wrong – a proper introduction is MUCH needed in the dog world as it is in the human world; however, we feel that its purpose has been wildly over expanded into many areas – such as having dogs co-exist in the same household where there is a history of aggression.
Never mind the use of a proper introduction to make things better, Much MORE is needed to help to prevent your situation from getting worse……..
It is not easy to reside in an environment that exhibits dog aggression in the same household, but in ‘most’ cases is definitely doable. That said, We strongly believe that your energy should be focused more on controlling the environment than pushing them to be friends.
A common mistake among pet owners in these situations is that they push too fast & too far making the dogs feel even more uncomfortable.
Unlike many trainers (not all) we want to be fully transparent in telling you that: there is not a fix for all problems, but there is a solution for many situations.
Again when it comes to dog aggression in the same household, the top priority that we believe in is to figure out a safe system to keep the dogs supervised or separate while providing the best life-style possible for the situation that you have.
If the dogs seem to be getting more comfortable with one another you will probably see it. And even then, that can be very misleading once you attempt to go to the next step as so many do.
Remember there are different levels of comfort with dogs, as with humans. For instance, you may feel comfortable going to dinner with a fairly new couple that you met, but not comfortable enough to take a road trip with them.
And what happens, if they keep pushing the road trip, you become more defensive (may even tense-up when you believe they are going to ask again) of them and may pull back. And if they are really persistent by asking, there may be a conflict or at least place you in a defensive state of mind whenever they are around.
This in our experience holds true with dogs. If we try to push them too far, they will become more defensive a lot quicker because they will identify the potential situation that we keep placing them in.
It’s very hard, we get it. We all want our dogs to reside in harmony; however, although aggressive advertising may lead you to believe there is a ‘holy grail’ the truth is: there’s not a ‘fix’ to all problems.
Most owners that exhibit dog aggression in the same household have the resources to make things safe and provide a really good life for both dogs; especially if the home is an active one.
Where we observe many pet owners go wrong is when they try to push their dogs to get along; this more often than not will create a confrontation and set them back miles!
The way we see it! there are three (3) ways to look at this:
1. We have and love both dogs that do not get along with one another we don’t want to but we can control the environment and make it less stressful for the dogs by not forcing them to like each other and placing them in uncomfortable situations that will make them more defensive.
2. We have and love both dogs; our main focus is: to keep them separated and supervised when they may have to momentarily pass or share the same environment.
We won’t force any interaction with them because we know that we can’t force a relationship, but if we see in the next months or years that their defense mechanisms are reducing perhaps that may be a sign that they may move onto a little less restrictive environment.
The SECRET to this is we are NOT focusing on them getting along; our MAIN energy is to to control the environment.
3. We have and love both dogs, and WE want them to get along & like each other so we can be one happy family. So we keep trying by putting them in these situations but nothing is getting better; it may even be getting worse.
Although settling for the above examples 1 & 2 may not be ideal for what you really desire, it is practical & realistic.
Taking door #3 in the third example provides you with almost no hope after that while increasing the chances of injury to your dogs or people that try to intervene should things go really wrong.
In summary, we firmly believe that MOST of your efforts would be better spent on crating a safe environment than trying to force a relationship (this has to happen on its own; it may never happen).
We encourage trainers and dog owners to spend time on the things that they can control – the environment.
Hope all of this makes sense. Please feel free to provide comments or questions below that may be specific to your situation & we’ll try to provide you with guidance on how to help make things better for you.