How to Help Two Dogs to Get Along When One Is Aggressive

By Laura Agadoni

Dogs can be aggressive, characterized by biting, growling, barking and lunging, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes when two dogs get together, one can be aggressive to the other. The aggressive dog could be fearful of the other dog, or he could be displaying dominance. He might be aggressive when excited. He might act aggressively because he was never taught proper social skills as a puppy. And sometimes, dogs can be aggressive when not spayed or neutered. Your two dogs might not be getting along now, but you can change that.

Change the Dog's State of Mind

You can make an aggressive dog display calm, submissive behavior. Leash your aggressive dog, and display calm and assertive leadership skills. Aggressive dogs often aren't getting enough exercise, says Cesar Millan on his website Cesar'sWay. Once the aggressive dog burns excess energy, he achieves a healthier state of mind.

Engage in Positive Exercises

You can facilitate positive behavior in your dogs, helping them to get along. When one dog or both dogs are aggressive, both dogs want you to lead them to a more peaceful existence, says Millan. Try walking them together. Leash both dogs, and have them walk parallel to one another while under your control. This lowers aggressive energy and allows the dogs to work together on a common goal: the walk.

Consult Your Veterinarian

Sometimes dogs are aggressive because something is medically wrong. Your dog might be aggressive from hypothyroidism, symptoms of which are loss of hair, weight gain and lethargy. She might be having seizures, causing the aggression. Symptoms are convulsions, mood changes or a blank look. A tumor also could cause aggressive behavior. Consult a veterinarian for any physical reasons that might explain the aggressiveness.

Spay or Neuter

Spaying and neutering helps intact dogs reduce aggressive tendencies. The older the dog is when you spay or neuter, the less effective this action is for reducing or eliminating aggressiveness because aggression has become a learned and familiar behavior. The best time to neuter a male is when he's between 6 and 9 months. The best time to spay a female is when she's between 6 and 12 months.

Hire a Trainer

If your dog is still aggressive after spaying or neutering and after you've tried all the training methods on your own, consult a professional dog trainer to help modify the aggressive behavior. The aggressive dog could bite you or your other dog, and a professional knows how to better handle this. A professional can develop a training program, which he can teach you.