Why Does My Dog Push My Other Dog? Explained

Dogs are social animals known for their complex behaviors and interactions. If you have multiple dogs in your household, you may have observed one dog pushing or nudging another. 

This behavior, commonly referred to as “dog pushing,” can be seen as a form of communication or assertion of dominance within the pack. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons why dogs push each other and delve into the underlying factors that influence this behavior.

Establishing Hierarchy and Dominance

One of the primary reasons why dogs push each other is to establish a hierarchy or dominance within the pack. Dogs, descended from wolves, have an innate sense of pack structure, where individuals vie for their place in the social order. 

Pushing or nudging another dog can be a way for one dog to assert their dominance over the other. It serves as a visual and physical signal to communicate their rank within the group.

Resource Guarding

Another reason why dogs push each other is resource guarding. Dogs may push their fellow canine companions if they are trying to protect a valuable resource such as food, toys, or even attention from their owners. 

This behavior is instinctual and rooted in the survival instincts of dogs in the wild. By pushing or nudging, the dominant dog signals to the other dog that they have control over the resource and are willing to defend it.

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Attention-Seeking Behavior

Dogs are social creatures that crave attention and affection from their human companions. Sometimes, when one dog pushes another, it could be a way of seeking attention from their owner. 

They may have learned that pushing or interrupting their canine sibling results in their owner intervening and redirecting their focus onto them. 

This behavior can be reinforced inadvertently if the owner responds positively to the dog’s actions, unknowingly rewarding their behavior.

Playfulness and Excitement

Pushing behavior between dogs can also occur during playtime. Dogs engage in various forms of play, including chasing, wrestling, and mock fighting. 

Pushing can be a part of their playful interaction, where one dog pushes the other to initiate a chase or to engage in a mock wrestling match. 

It is essential to differentiate between play pushing, which is usually mutual and consensual, and aggressive pushing, which may be accompanied by other signs of tension or fear.

Social Bonds and Affection

Pushing can also be a way for dogs to express social bonds and affection towards one another. Dogs often engage in physical contact to show affection, and pushing can be one way they demonstrate their bond. 

Just like humans might lean in for a hug, dogs may push each other gently to convey their feelings of closeness and camaraderie. 

It is important to observe the context and overall body language to understand whether the pushing is a positive or negative interaction between the dogs.

Managing Dog Pushing Behavior

While pushing behavior between dogs is generally considered normal, it is essential for pet owners to monitor and manage the interactions to maintain a harmonious environment. Here are a few tips for managing dog pushing behavior:

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Ensure Sufficient Resources: Make sure each dog has access to their resources, such as food, water, toys, and resting places. This reduces the need for competition and resource guarding.

Train Basic Obedience: Teach your dogs basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” This can help redirect their attention and establish your leadership.

Reinforce Positive Interactions: Reward your dogs with treats, praise, and attention when they engage in calm and polite interactions. 

This encourages desirable behavior and discourages pushing or other forms of dominance-related behavior.

Seek Professional Help: If your dogs’ pushing behavior becomes aggressive or leads to conflicts, consult a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. They can provide specialized guidance and help address any underlying issues.


Dog pushing behavior can have various motivations, ranging from establishing dominance to seeking attention or expressing affection. 

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior is crucial in ensuring a harmonious and balanced environment among your furry companions. 

By providing appropriate resources, training, and positive reinforcement, you can foster a healthy relationship between your dogs and manage their pushing behavior effectively. 

Remember, each dog is unique, and patience, consistency, and love are key in promoting a peaceful coexistence among your beloved canine friends.