One dog aggressive towards her sister

Posted by Susan-Peachey
Dec 3, 2008
I have two cockapoos; sisters/littermates; together since birth. They are 18 mo. old and very well behaved. They do the typical sit/stay/fetch, down, and stay until released.
When I give them permission to pass through the opened door out onto the porch, the one turns and snarls, growls, and tries to bite the other on their way outside. She is not the Alpha and has always challenged me for the position. Now, she is beginning to sound vicious.
I have begun commanding her to stay, while giving the Alpha sister permission to go out first, but this is becoming time consuming.
What message am I sending to them, and is this the appropriate way to handle "doorway aggression?"
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Dec 17, 2009
Hi Susan

It sounds like you have the right idea when it comes to enforcing your alpha dog status. It will take quite a lot of effort and patience, but if you persevere, the results will certainly be worth it. Firstly you must establish youself as the leader of the pack. Once you are certain that she accepts you as the alpha dog, you can then work on confirming the hierarchy of the pack. Keep up the good work with insisting that both you and the other sister goes through the doorways first. In addition to this, there are also various other ways of demonstrating to her that she is the subordinate member of the pack. You should always eat before the dogs, and then feed the alpha sister first before the other dog. Greet the sister first when you come home and ignore your other one completely until you have finished playing with her sister. If she insists on pushing in, take her away to a ‘time-out’ area without talking to her or making eye contact. When you do play with her, make sure you initiate it and also decide when to stop. When taking them out for a walk, ensure that it is you who decides where you are going and don’t let her pull you around. This all will reinforce her position in the pack.

Hope this helps and all the best for the training. I look forward to hearing how it goes.