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Fighting Siblings


Dear Dr. Florez,

We have two Bloodhounds, Bonnie and Clyde. They are brother and sister, and 2 ½ years old. Bonnie is very much the “Alpha” dog, and Clyde is very much the coward. Clyde has taken to becoming very aggressive when approached during his naps. He sleeps on the bed and if accidentally touched during the night, he gets mad and snaps at whoever tapped him. We love our dogs, and Clyde is neutered, Bonnie is not fixed.

What can we do to stop Clyde from snapping at us when he is sleeping? Bonnie is very gentle, and you can roll on top of her and she will not snap. But Clyde is so aggressive that we have even purchased a muzzle for him.

Thank You,
Adrian & Jennifer

Dear Adrian and Jennifer,

I think that the first thing that you should do is have you dog evaluated for physical problems and go from there. In the event of arthritis, metabolic diseases or behavioral changes, pets can become aggressive and is a higher risk for bite incidents at home.

It’s concerning to me every time that a pet starts to change its behavior. I generally find is primarily due to physical problems that the pet has, and they are expressed through negative behavior, such as biting and other behavioral changes.

You should schedule Clyde for a full examination; occasionally even aging can cause your pet to react this way. If you your dog is cleared of any physical problems, it could very be a jealousy issue and may easily be solved by obedience training or through a trainer.

Best of luck,
Diego Fernando Florez, DVM

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