Dogs, because of their pack-animal ancestry, developed a social hierarchy system in order to survive in the wild. They worked and lived together in groups and there was always a strong leader.

Today’s dogs still have the tendency to live in a social hierarchy system. If this social hierarchy system is clear and reliable, most dogs can live peacefully together. If there is conflict or when the social ranking within a multiple dog household is unstable, there will be struggle, conflict and anxiety. Dogs themselves, must determine who the “top dog” is. When owners interfere with the social structure, such as “punishing” a dog for taking a toy from another dog, then struggle, conflict and anxiety may become worse. This type of tension may lead to urine marking and/or snarls, growls, snapping and sometimes dangerous fighting.

Case A

  1. If your dog steals toys from your other dog…
  2. If your dog tries to move your other dog out of the way in order to get your attention…
  3. If your dog threatens your other dog with a stare, growl or snap, in order to move him out of a chair or away from food…

You may have a dog who is struggling to claim his place as the top dog within your home’s multiple canine social system.


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