I have two wonderful girls that we love, both about nine years old, both spayed as pups, you can see them in my profile picture. Sugar is a mutt mix (maybe lab/pit?) we got as a rescue when she was 11 weeks old- nearly starved to death on the streets as a pup but she pulled through. Izzy is an Australian Shepherd mix, we got her as a companion to Sugar when she was about 4 years old, also sort of a rescue as her family was moving and they couldn't take her. Izzy is definitely the alpha female- humping behavior, insanely jealous of any attention Sugar gets, growling at the (shared) food bowl, etc. But lately the aggression has turned severe- in a very scary way. Twice now they have both been at my feet when they just start going after each other, I could barely drag them apart (once about 2 weeks ago and once again today). I had to chain one and then they went at each other again and then I dragged them apart again and chain the other. It drew blood on Sugar both times. I immediately seperated them on leads for a few hours. We have four small children (6, 4, 3, 10 months). I love my dogs and we have had them for YEARS but I will put them down before I let them hurt one of my kids. I have been researching what to do about this and according to what I read here: http://www.boxer-rescue-la.com/training_tips/Two_or_More_Dogs.htm I have been making the problem worse by giving MORE attention to Sugar (guess I felt sorry for her for always being the "underdog"). The other thing I am wondering is if their age is adding to the problem, as I have heard older dogs can become aggressive. They are both healthy and active as far as I can tell, eat good, etc. The other thing that may be influencing behaviour is we just got chickens in June. I have once seen Izzy show food aggressive behaviour to the chickens when they came to get their daily scraps (just last week). A sharp HEY (that's our 'no' training command) and she snapped right out of it. Both dogs do fine with all the adult chickens. Sugar must be on a lead if we have thunderstorms or she tries to get to them through the coop wire... but that's an entirely different training problem LOL! My question is, if I follow the advice in the article and work on REINFORCING their natural heirarchy, will this be enough to smooth things back down? I am a little nervous to be around them with the kids. They are fine when I am not there, the kids can play outside with them, etc, but if I am around the fangs come out, ESPECIALLY if I show attention or there is food about. Should I keep them seperated and chained when my kids are out? This causes digging and barking behaviours because they are lonely and bored. Izzy really seems to be escalating... she is nonresponsive to every dog treat I have tried to buy for her, unless I resort to HUMAN food like bacon! Sugar on the other hand will do ANYTHING for any kind of food. So please any suggestions or comments I am open to. You can even call me a lunkhead for making it worse- just do it gently!