5 Reasons Dogs Get Into Disputes

Dogs play, argue, and sometimes fight, some more than others, regardless of their breed or background.

Establishing their role and relationship to family and other dogs is important to them. They have to confirm their status every day. They express what they need, want, and are concerned about in different ways. Often the other party may resist, which can lead to an argument. Disagreements are a normal part of canine behavior.


Dogs are much less prone to disputes than we primates are; they are masters of  forming groups and fluid hierarchies that keep each other safe. Older dogs almost never bother little dogs or puppies, unless they've been driven insane by humans.

Many big dog 'fights" are often just two dogs going at it, while other dogs do their best to stop the fight.

Dogs also show respect and deference to their elders when they haven’t been negatively influenced by humans. In turn, the older dogs all help to raise the puppies. Once a group stabilizes, a few dogs will step up to be the leaders, in NO WAY "dominant," just taking the responsibility for the overall good of the group. Leadership is NOT a status to be envied; it shortens the time they have for play and it puts them in unwanted danger because they always are the ones to come forward to face any sadly violent dog.

It is a precious treasure to be able to see this all happening in a group of dogs. I find it one of the truly beautiful things on this Earth. Almost all disputes that are not properly resolved are the result of human / primate, ways that we have let one or two of these awesome creatures down. Let's try not to lose sight of what a gift they are to us.

Science now thinks that they've been with us AT LEAST 40,000 years, tens of thousands of years before any other critter joined us, so for a while it was just us and dogs. They MAY have been what helped us outlast the Neanderthals and survive the ice age.

This is the worst of times for dogs, worst ever for them - despite all the cutesy stuff at Pet-retailers  and all that, they are slowly being turned into fur covered goldfish in our culture. Every day thousands of square miles are taken away from them because of leash laws. They are banned from more and more parks, woods, areas of nature. They deserve a LOT more respect. We should bow our heads now and then when they walk by.


Pets that don’t live in homes without clear rules, are more likely to get into unresolved disputes, not only with peers and other dogs, but also with humans. Usually, disputes are solved silently.  However, when these disagreements escalate into fighting, the result can be troubling for everyone involved.

One of the goals of  dog parenting is to teach your dog basic rules and conflict resolution skills. These skills might be beneficial to them as they become a part of your family, but also in their social life. Being aware of the most common disputes in dogs gives you the advantage to recognize the problem, and educate the dogs while you mediate the conflict.

Here are 5 reasons dogs get into disputes and conflicts that can cost you thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.


Roman Gottfried is an internationally known Holistic Dog Trainer, Behavior Expert, Reiki Master, and Energy medicine practitioner. He works with dog parents worldwide to help their dogs reach their full potential, by teaching them the holistic philosophy of dog training. He sees clients online and in-person.