Female puppy is only aggressive to her brother after a bath

by Vicki Antonini
(Michigan)

We purchased Diva as a christmas gift and at the same time adopted her brother Bear, who is a “special” puppy. He was born with hydrocephalis (sp) and has two open spots in his skull but appears totally normal except for circling occasionally. They are yorkshire terriers and are 16 weeks old now. They are wonderful together, playing, eating, and sleeping together. The only problem is that after a bath, Diva attacks Bear at least once, each time. They have only had 3 baths, since the vet said generally they don’t need to have a lot right now, especially in winter. I alternate who goes first, so I don’t think it’s a jealousy thing, but as soon as I set him down, she will go up to him, smelling and within 15 to 30 minutes, she will attack him, and she is definitely not playing. I let her smell his collar before putting it on him, and then after it’s on, set him down, but it didn’t help. She shows no aggression towards him at any other time. After I separate her and put her in her carrier, when she is back with him, everything is fine. No aggressiveness at all. Why would she be doing this only after a bath?

Our Response

This is a strange one – it does sound like jealous behavior to me but I would need to see the two together. Sometimes when obedience training prevention is better than cure.

I would start by bathing them at completely different times. I would then place Bear in a crate until 30 mins have passed. If you see Diva wandering around the Crate then say ‘No’ and place her in another room.

After 30 mins have passed then let Bear out of the Crate and bring Diva into the same room. This is the tricky part – SUPERVISION – keep a very close eye on Diva and as soon as you see the sniffing of the collar place her in another room. If she behaves, then reward and praise.

You should then bathe Diva on a completely different day. If this doesn’t work and it should if practiced – then try getting a neighbor to walk Diva when you are bathing Bear and then use the crate again.

Hope this helps.