Group heirarchy


I had a call from a gentleman that informed me he had put his Doberman to sleep due to illness, the dog was 12 years old. Of course he was devastated. They have another four dogs.

A few nights later they were in bed when they heard terrible fighting going on downstairs. The Cocker Spaniel has nearly bitten one dog’s nose off and they were all injured. Reluctantly he took the Spaniel to the vet and put the dog to sleep. He explained that the Spaniel looked at him as if to say Dad why are you doing this? The man was in a terrible state and called me to ask if he had done the right thing.

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I immediately said No.  The pack hierarchy had now changed sometimes this causes fights. If dogs start fighting dogs it has to be established which dog is the new leader (in many cases it needs an expert to help you).

The new top dog is to be loved 10 times more and fed first. We keep using his name and touching and cuddling him as a favourite. We are showing this dog that he is a top dog.

The fighting then stops. However I would stress that this does not work with fighting females. There is no known way to stop fighting and terrible injuries. Best to re home one of them.

When a dog places his paws and chest on the hindquarters of another dog like mounting  this is  normal and common canine behaviour. In most cases, it is NOT a sexual behaviour unless the dog is thrusting. In young puppies, it is a play behaviour. In older dogs, it is a method of communication, the dog who is mounting the other dog is generally displaying dominance.

Quite often owners who have brought another dog into the family get upset when they see the younger dog mounting or biting the rear legs of the resident dog. It is best not to correct the behaviour, it is very normal. Sometimes this is when the status of the young dog is changing in the pack and the younger dog becomes the top dog.

Trying to understand this behaviour it might be worth thinking how children as they grow into adults sometimes take care and make decisions for their parents as they get old. The human pack also changes!

My daughter always bosses me around!


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