Canine aggression (female)

Posted by jeniecat
Sep 15, 2009

I have an 8 y/o female Cardigan Welsh Corgi (Stella), she is spayed though she was a year old when we adopted her so I don't know at what age she was fixed. I do know that her breeder was hoping that her droopy ear would perk up so that she could be shown, but when that didn't happen she gave her up for adoption.

I also have a 6 month German Shepherd (Sasha) female pup. She has not been fixed yet due to an inverted vulva, we are waiting for her to complete her first heat cycle before getting her spayed in the hopes that this will naturally correct the problem (my vet concurs with this).

Everything is fine between the two girls until I sit on the floor. Sasha has claimed me as her person and will not tolerate Stella when she tries to get close. I can keep one on each side of me with no problem, however, if Sasha is laying on my lap she will get very aggressive with Stella. When I stand up, they are fine again.

Today Sasha went after Stella again, but this time I was standing and neither dog was getting any form of attention. I would like to curb this behavior before it escalates. We have had Stella for over seven years, so she sees herself as the Alpha. At the same time Sasha is maturing and is vying for that position (which is completely natural).

How do I get them to stop being aggressive with each other when I am there? Is there a solution for this or do they have to work it out themselves?


Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 19, 2009
hi jen and thanks for your post,
By letting sasha sit on your lap you are elevating her to top dog temporarily as this is a very highly desirable position. In order to keep stella as top dog and stop fights between them you need to make it clear to both dogs that stella is the leader. You can do this by feeding stella first while sasha waits, greeting stella first, letting stella into the car first etc. In human terms this seems like favouritism but in dog terms it is very normal for one pack member to be higher and to recieve first access to resources such as food and attention. Your dogs will both appreciate knowing where they stand and not having the stress of working it out for themselves.

I hope this helps and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.