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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Medical Aggression

Q&A on Medical Aggression


I have just found your web page, and have been reading a lot of the articles and I find it very interesting, my problem is I got 2 female pups about 6 weeks apart, they are now 10 and 11 month old, before I got the dogs I asked my vet for advice about getting 2 dogs and what age would be best to get them, she told me to get them as pups and let them grow up together, they are both crossbreed and I got them from a rescue center, they were both getting on great, when the first one had her season, she had no problems, but when the second one went through her season , she started attacking the other dog, after her season finished they were great again until about 4 weeks later when she started to bleed again, she started to attack the other dog again, I have now got her spayed and she seems okay , but the other dog is now starting to go for her, she is fighting back but she is not starting it, we are going to get the other one spayed and hopefully that will help, they have both been socialized and they go to obedience training every week and have been going since they were just 3 months, I have read your articles that say not to get 2 pups together , I now know I should not have got them together but I took advice from the vet and thought she would know, I wanted to ask your advice about getting them to live together or do you think I would have to find another home for one, I really don't want to give one away as I love them both, but the fighting is terrible and I am scared they will really hurt each other, I don't know if there problems are just hormones.

With Regard,

I tell people that in over 40 years of owning and training dogs I have only met 2 or 3 Vets who know much about training a dog. Your Vet certainly would never come close to this.

Neutering females does not result in reducing aggression unless the aggression is hormonal (like your first female). The fact is neutering females can often make females more aggressive.

The easiest thing to do is to find another home for one dog. The fact is the worst dog fights are between females. My opinion is you are not going to be able to have these females live together in peace.

If you want to keep them both you should get two dog crates and separate these dogs forever. One dog would always be in her crate while the other was out.

Good morning. I have a situation that I need help with please! I have 2 female dogs, the dominate one is Spanky (lab and Dalmatian mix) who is 12 years old. She has osteoarthritis in her hips and does have pain. She isn't aggressive at all to people but she has increasingly become grumpy and jealous with my other dog and the cats (just growls at the cats and they walk off). Sophie who is 4 years old (great perienese & Australian Sheppard)? She is a big baby and just loves everyone. She has always be submissive to Spanky as Spanky's tolerance has shortened with her problems have been brewing. Sophie will lick Spanky's mussel when she gets nervous or knows that she is not happy with her and Spanky has bit her lip in return and growled / stood over her etc. Sophie showed aggression in return at one point approximately 3 months ago and ever since there have been a lot of close calls. I usually can redirect if I am close and get one or both interested in something else.

The other evening I was outside in the back yard with a friend and I pet one then the other came over and Sophie started licking Spanky's mouth and the fight was on. It was serious. We did manage to get them apart (not knowing how to correctly do it) then Spanky jumped on her and the second round was on. I did get bit in the outer thigh as she was running to jump on her (I was glad that I was a wound nurse). Spanky the older dog had her tooth in the top Sophie's mussel and they were locked mouth to mouth. Sophie cried terribly but they were almost locked and neither could get loose.

After it broke up I have kept them separated and when they did sniff through the door crack the older, Spanky started growling immediately. I took her to the vet to restarted her on medication for her arthritis and pain. It has been 3 days and I am wanting to know how to reintroduce them. The younger dog (who is bigger) is also on antibiotics and is heartbroken. She is depressed and not herself. She sniffs under the door and lays on the other side of where Spanky is. I understand pain is a big factor but due to our home environment it is difficult to keep them apart but I am very concerned about the possible reoccurrence of the fight.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to getting your response.


If I had a 12 year old dog with this kind of pain, I would protect her from the other dog at all costs. She is showing aggression and fighting with the other dog because you are not controlling the situation (in Spankys eyes). She needs protection from being accidentally hurt and as you have found out she will defend herself if necessary.

If these were younger dogs with simple leadership issues, I would suggest you retrain both dogs. I think in this case its most fair to protect the older dog by keeping the younger one separated from her at all times, either with baby gates or kennels or leashes.

Personally I would not reintroduce them, I would figure out how to manage them separately out of respect for the old dog. We have an aging dog here and if she gets to the point of being touchy and needing to be protected from all our other dogs I will do the same here.

With all this said, you need to have some type of control of the younger dog so you can teach her to stay away from the older dog. As for her attitude at being separated, she will get over that. Spend quality time with her, training her and establishing yourself as her leader. It sounds to me like she is more bonded to the other dog than she is to humans and that will cause her a lot of grief when the old dog passes away.

I would be using our groundwork system with her. It will give her something else to focus on and improve the relationship you have with her. I know you say it will be difficult to keep them separated but in my opinion its your best option.


Hi. Me and my mom and dad have a 3 year old miniature poodle. He has epilepsy and is on potassium Bromide. He has been VERY aggressive since his first and only seizure. When I take him outside, he literally attacks me! Last week my dad was bringing him back from a walk and he lunged at my dad and bit him and to get him off, my dad had to kick him! Is this apart of the epilepsy or just aggression?! What should we do?! People are scared to pet him when this happens!

I think Id get him checked over by a neurologist, in case he has some type of brain tumor or medical issue that would cause this severe aggression.

If he checks out ok, then Id make these recommendations. Id start with our Groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off - Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

I believe that this DVD could really help you. Its titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.

This will give you a good start, but Id get him in to a vet that specialized in epilepsy and neurological issues first.


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