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Multi-Dog Households – Aggressive Dachshund

Hi John,

I am having a problem with dog on dog aggression in our household. We have 4 dachshunds and a Dalmatian. The dachshunds as a group are very aggressive to the Dalmatian, who is very submissive to all of them. But if the Dalmatian walks in the room or yard, the others attack him and he runs and hides from them. The Dalmatian is a very shy dog and has never shown aggression to them.

If I stand in the room and correct the dachshunds, they will behave themselves, but the minute I lower my guard, they go right back at it. They are even aggressive to the Dalmatian through fencing. Our dominant dachshund generally initiates it, but if the other dogs are taken out of the situation, the dominant dachshund plays well with the Dalmatian. If the dominant dachshund is taken out of the situation, the other dachshunds still attack the dalmatian.

I am afraid the Dalmatian will eventually have enough of this pack attack and will snap and hurt one of the smaller dogs. For this reason we now keep them separated at all times.

This problem did not initially happen when the Dalmatian came to us as a 6 month old. It progressively got worse as our dominant dachshund male matured to the age of 2 and the Dalmatian matured past age 1.

The dominant dachshund was here first as an 8 week old puppy and is now a 3 year old male. The Dalmatian is a 1 1/2 year old male. There are two male dachshunds in the household and two female dachshunds. Their ages range from 8 years to 1 year. All dogs are neutered and spayed. All the dachshunds interact well together and with humans.

I am at the end of my rope with this situation and believe I will have to rehome my Dalmatian to keep everyone safe. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do further to alleviate this situation, or is this just a case of the dogs are not going to get along?



Hi Jackie,

Multi dog households sometimes have problems of this nature but the owner/dog/dogs dynamic sort of dictates the direction and without getting to meet the dogs in the household setting I’m not going to be of much help other than in a very general way.

There are situations where the personality traits of the dog either due to nature and/or nurture make co-habitation impossible. Either because things are bad enough or are escalating where severe injury is a real possibility or simply because the dog on the receiving end is just unhappy all or much of the time because it feels “bullied”.

When I’m working with situations like this the first place I start is by straightening out the instigator(s). While I’m all for dogs working things out more often than not the instigator or instigators are only asserting themselves or are in part doing so because there’s some confusion (in the dogs’ mind) as to who’s the teacher and who’s the student when it comes to themselves and the owner. You can get away with more casual handling relationships when it’s just one dog and one owner but when there are more dogs they can get way too competitive with each other when owner/dog boundaries aren’t more clearly drawn in such a way that they understand that the house is the owners and that they just live there. It doesn’t mean there need be any less loving but you have to have less of a room mate relationship and more of a mom/child relationship. Love and respect if not a little of that fear of messing with mom thrown in.

The way I usually begin making a change is peripherally as opposed to trying to assert one’s “authority” during moments of conflict. That means that the instigator dogs have to go from sometimes to listening to when I say things like Come, Stay and Heel to doing it no matter what. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a situation where a dog owner resolved the conflict between their dogs when the instigator dog blew them off when asked to Come, Stay or Heel whether there were distractions or not.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. You’ll probably find my dog training e-book will fill in a few holes if you want to “lay the law down” amongst the Dachshund Dynamos.


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