Click Here to Create or Access Your Client Profile.


East Valley K9 Services


K9 Sibling Rivalry: 4 Ways You May be Creating It

K9 Sibling Rivalry: 4 Ways You May be Creating It


word image 1045 1 K9 sibling rivalry

K9 Sibling rivalry among dogs is a natural part of K9 social interaction between littermates and even unrelated dogs. But how far should you let it go?


word image 1045 2 K9 sibling rivalry Sibling rivalry – or fighting amongst dogs in the same household – stems from competitiveness, struggles for dominance and sometimes even both. Often, the most severe sibling rivalry happens between female littermates. But thankfully, not all K9 siblings will develop rivalry or competitiveness.

While common in puppyhood, sibling rivalry can also happen later in a dog’s life with both their littermates and even unrelated canines living in the same home.

Regardless, never encourage or ignore sibling rivalry. For some dogs, this competitive rivalry, if left unchecked and unresolved, can escalate and become overly aggressive with injuries and worse.

~ Never encourage or ignore signs of sibling rivalry! ~

Are YOU Encouraging Canine Sibling Rivalry?

Sibling rivalry can be unknowingly created and encouraged through our behaviors. Keep reading to learn what actions or “triggers” could create sibling rivalry among your dogs.

  1. Extra Attention & Affection
    • Spoiling or favoring one K9 over another can create disastrous results. Ignore and discourage all attention-seeking behaviors from any dog. Never reward these behaviors, not even once!
  2. Unchecked Resource Guarding
    • word image 1045 3 K9 sibling rivalry Guarding things like toys, beds, treats and food should never go unchecked. Also separate your dogs during feeding time to avoid rivalry over food.
  3. Possessiveness
    • Akin to resource guarding but includes more than just objects, like locations, the owner and other family members. Discourage any possessiveness or attention-seeking behaviors.
  4. Inconsistent Rules
    • This often goes with paying extra attention and/or affection to one dog over another. For example, the “favored” dog may be allowed access to certain locations (the bed, couch, etc.) while the other dog is not. Create and stick to the same rules, boundaries and limitations each time for each dog when feeding, walking, playing and sleeping. Ensure all family members follow and enforce the same rules to avoid creating K9 competitiveness.

Signs of dog sibling rivalry? Address it immediately!

K9 Sibling Rivalry: Intervention

Signs of sibling rivalry need to be addressed as early as possible with calm and assertive intervention (never punishment, scolding, yelling or holding a dog down). Physically separate the dogs to avoid any further escalation into physical fights and harm. Also:

  1. Manage sibling rivalry proactively by removing/separating food bowls, managing access to favored locations like the bed and couch, etc.
  2. Always be the leader of your pack. Nip signs of K9 sibling rivalry early and consistently without favoritism.
  3. word image 1045 4 K9 sibling rivalry Learn the signs and triggers of sibling rivalry among your dogs. Immediately call or redirect their attention when you see the signs of a pending fight. Always use positive reinforcement to reward the wanted behavior.
  4. Always ensure every dog receives the proper amount of physical activity, dog-to-dog socialization (with other non-sibling dogs) and positive mental stimulation each day to ensure balanced, well-adjusted and happy dogs.
  5. Ensure proper alone time with each dog. Train, crate and exercise dogs separately to avoid hyper-bonding and potential separation anxiety and distress.

Remember, sibling rivalry should never be tolerated or ignored.

Typically, sibling rivalry will not “fix” itself or get better with time.

If you are unsure or even afraid to address sibling rivalry in your home,

immediately find an experienced dog behaviorist to help! We can help!

word image 1045 5 K9 sibling rivalryWe help create happy, confident and well-mannered dogs!

If you’re struggling with K9 Sibling rivalry, reach out to us TODAY!

Call 480-382-0144 or send us an email.

East Valley K9 Services has got all your dog training, doggy daycare

and dog boarding covered!

Serving Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and East Valley areas of Arizona.

Additional Reading:

Dog Discoveries: Puppy Sibling Rivalry, It’s More Than Just Conflict

The Spruce Pets: Sibling Rivalry Between Dogs

Pet4Homes: Coping with Sibling Rivalry in Dogs

Journey Dog Training: Dealing with Dog Sibling Rivalry

VCA Hospitals: Dog Behavior Problems – Aggression – Sibling Rivalry — Treatment

Image Credits (Shown in Order of Appearance):

Jan Steiner from Pixabay 

Image by mon_elevage from Pixabay 

Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay 

Spiritze from Pixabay 

Courtesy: East Valley K9 Services


Picture of admin


Leave a Replay

Leave a Comment


Visit Us On Social

Recent Posts

Free Resources

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get our training, classes, and blog post updates. Don’t worry your information is kept private and will not be sold.

Sharing Is Caring


Join Our Facebook Members Group