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Ask Alecia: I’m Worried About My 5 Dogs Fighting!

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ask-alecia-holisticDear Alecia,

I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask this question. I have 5 dogs: 3 German shepherds, a border collie and a Sheltie. My female shepherd and Female collie have had a few fights (no more then 8) in the 5 years they have been together, usually over food but sometimes I don’t know what it’s about. I was told that males fight more then females an you shouldn’t have two males in in one house. I have 3!

One of my male German shepherds is 10 and the other (Axel) is 15 months. They have never once fought but my old man growls at him a lot. Axel usually reacts by barking back in a very high pitch and not very loud with his ears down and his tail up. Axel and my male Sheltie puppy (12 weeks) have become best friends. I guess my question is should I be afraid that my three males will start fighting when my youngest two have grown up a bit? I love all of my dogs and couldn’t imagine having to give one away if they were to start fighting. It was recommended that I do not get my female Shepherd spayed as she has a back problem and a disease called panus and is extremely stressed now when she goes to the vet. — Emer

Dear Emer,

Sounds like you have your hands full with 5 dogs. You literally have a pack. And as with any pack, it needs a consistent, calm, clear, effective leader. So the very first question I need for you to ask yourself is: “ Are you consistently the calm, clear and effective leader of your pack?”

The reason I ask this is because when there is effective leadership everyone in the pack knows their place and fights are much less likely to break out. The leader is constantly maintaining the foundational structure but dogs will be dogs and as they grow and change they will test each other to see where their standing is in the pack.  Some trainers will never allow a disagreement; I personally feel that any beings living under the same roof will end up have some disagreements, the question is can we move past it or will we hold onto a grudge. Most dogs will move past it.

What is your experience as the leader? When you mention that “Axel reacts by barking back in a very high pitch,” he is being a puppy trying to gain control over your male or trying to get him to play with him. If I were there, I would redirect Axel’s behavior so that there is not so much stress on your older Shepherd where he may really need to launch into Axel to correct him.

So the bottom line to your dog’s not growing up to fight will really depend on how you are leading them. If you are consistent, calm and confident providing them with clear direction you will be an effective leader and keep your pack from fighting by knowing their boundaries.   If you allow them to break boundaries with each other, then they will need work it out amongst themselves.

Are you ready to step up to create and keep peace in your home?

I look forward to hearing back from you to see how things are proceeding. Best, Alecia

Alecia Evans is the inventor of The Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System with her exclusive 5 Minute Manners Makeovers using the Walk In Sync™ Harness and Accu-Grip Leash, along with her Walk In Sync™ 3 Easy Steps to teach any human/dog duos to Walk In Sync in just minutes.

The former host of the award-winning GrassRoots Aspen TV Series, The Whole Animal-An Alternative Approach to Animal Care, Alecia takes a natural approach to dog training and health care. Her work has been featured on Fox and Friends, The Sandra Glosser Show, NY 1, and in Aspen Magazine,, The New York Daily News and Woof Report.


Sunday 22nd of June 2014

I have 2 males and a female. One male and the female are 8 & 9. The other male is only 1 1/2 years old. The other two have been bullying the younger dog, and recently the older male bit and broke skin on the younger male. What can you recommend to integrate the pup easier and how to be more firm with the other two without causing more jealousy?