What is the definition of sibling rivalry as it applies to two or more dogs in a household?

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Sibling rivalry refers to situations in which two or more dogs in the same household fight. The fights may start out as snarling and growling over space or other resources.
Fighting occurs because the dogs have not established a stable dominance hierarchy. Dogs have no sense of equality, so one must always be the leader. This is often a difficult concept for owners to grasp. They prefer to treat their dogs as equals

There are two varieties of sibling rivalry that are commonly seen:

• Hierarchy change. Sometimes a puppy will grow to become more dominant as she matures; alternatively, a formerly dominant one may become ill or elderly and lose her position.Therefore, they’ll start to challenge each other, especially as the formerly dominant one tries to regain position.

This usually resolves in a couple of weeks—but if the dogs aren’t willing to concede, it can go on longer. And if the dogs are well-balanced, the fights won’t be life threatening and will consist mostly of posturing, inhibited bites, and vocalizations constitute the basis of the communicative displays. .

• Alliance aggression. This occurs when people interfere with dominance and deference struggles between dogs in the same household. The typical human reaction is to support the subordinate, which ensures that dominance is not established and fighting continues. By supporting the underdog, the owners increase the would-be subordinate dog’s social status, and by chastising the more dominant dog they will effectively weaken his position. This ensures that near equal dominance status is maintained and the fighting will continue. These fights can be much more dangerous (resulting in severe injury) and persist for a considerable length of time. Typically, the dogs fight only in the presence of the owner and it is the owner’s comings and goings that precipitate the violence.

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