I have a German Shepherd (7 months) and a Presa Canario (9 weeks). Both females.

Right now they are both getting along great and I am doing my very best to socialize them.

At what age do I need to start worrying about dog aggression, especially from the Presa Canario?

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    Why do you expect aggression from the Presa Canario? Does she has a suspicious origin? Presa Canarios are calm, honest and don't bite more often or faster than other breeds. There are no dogs which are aggressive without reasen, if they didn't make bad experiences and if they are in the hands of consistent and loving humans, no matter which breeds they are! Jan 30 '18 at 11:15
  • They have a bad reputation. I have been called an idiot, told to give the puppy back and more on Reddit. I am doing my best to have a good puppy but shtuff can happen regardless. Jan 30 '18 at 14:19
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    So many breeds have a bad reputation just because they have a physical appearance which attracts people who uses dogs for fights or love to make them aggressive "for protecting purpose". Dogs which are raised in this way are highly dangerous, not because of their breed, but because of their environment. It is not in their genes. You can raise Chihuahuas in a way that they are completely aggressive. And Presa Canaria and other "bad dogs" can be gentle and patient like teddy bears. The human forms the dog! Jan 30 '18 at 15:03

Inter-dog aggression occurs much more frequently in non-neutered male dogs. Usually signs start appearing when the dog reaches puberty (between six and nine months old) or becomes socially mature at 18 to 36 months- depending on how fast your dog matures. In my experience having one dog desexed and the other entire both of the same sex also increases dog on dog aggression if they are both adults, especially if humans try and keep the desexed dog at a higher rank. As you are raising them together, they shouldn't become aggressive to each other.

I haven't heard of dogs that are fine when humans are around and aggressive to each other when alone. Have heard of dogs that fight over their human and are fine alone. So you should see them fighting if there are problems.

I know some owners prefer to wait till their male GSD are 2yo before desexing to ensure that they look as masculine as possible. Aggressive females can become more aggressive when spayed so that is a good reason to get your Presa Canario spayed sooner rather than later to prevent her becoming aggressive.

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    Looks like the first part of your answer comes from here. Please make sure you adequately reference material that you use or your answer may be deleted.
    – Henders
    Feb 1 '18 at 10:52
  • No, but that is uncanny. Could you add the link to my answer it will make it more complete
    – SAM A
    Feb 2 '18 at 6:25

I want to suggest that the answer is simply "don't".

While Sam A has a point that sex and puberty (as well as older age, some dogs do get "grumpy" with age) plays a part in dog aggression it is more likely that it requires a specific incident to trigger aggression. So really, age is not the breaking point. That said, an owner (of breeds with a bad reputation in particular) should always keep a close eye on their dog's interaction with humans and other dogs to step in when it gets too rough from either side. If signs of aggression show it is crucial to be on top of it asap. That can mean addressing and correcting the dog's behaviour right in the situation and practicing the situation later on by oneself or contacting a dog trainer as soon as concerns of a reoccurring issue are raised. Aggression can be a highly ritualized behaviour and therefore must not become a default reaction or ritual in specific situations.

Good socialization at a young age plays a big part in preventing aggression. A dog who's familiar with "normal" life and surroundings and has properly learned to engaged with humans and other dogs is less prone to aggression. There's simply less to stress about and the dog will not be pushed over the edge as easily as a badly socialized one. Also, just like kids dogs learn and refine their social skills through the interaction with humans and other dogs and should therefore make as many pleasant contacts with them (and other species) as possible at a young age.

In addition, worrying too much about aggression issues can become a true self fulfilling prophecy. Dogs read human body language really well and will notice if you become tense when you meet another dog/human or when your two dogs interact. When you become tense that usually means something is wrong and your dog might adjust to it by copying your state. And a tense dog is always a dog that might react with aggression.

If you're worried about aggression just between your own two dogs you should try not to give them reasons to be rivals. This targets areas such as food (everyone gets their own share at the same time), toys (no fighting about toys unless it's in a playful way during play time), cuddles (everyone gets their fair share, no one is excluded unless there's misbehaviour),... You can see where this is going.

Bottom line: Aggression can always happen and socialization and a close eye are your best friends on this topic.

Edit: I just now saw the bounty text. As implied in my answer I don't see any reason why you should separate your dogs while you're at work. And even less an age at which you should start to do so. Separating them can even lead to issues, because the separation would most likely be stressful to them if they've been kept together before and while you're at home. It's a double-edged sword of course, but as long as your dogs don't display signs of aggression when together I wouldn't see any reason to be concerned.

Have you thought about installing a webcam or similar while you're at work? Being able to frequently check on them while you can't be there might ease your mind.

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    Clarification: I say "an owner of dogs with bad reputation in particular" not because I want to suggest that these dogs are generally more prone to aggression, but because they're perceived much differently in the public eye. No one bats an eye on a growling Labrador. A growling Pit Bull on the other hand.......
    – Sambovi
    Jan 30 '18 at 16:16
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    I agree totally! And the paragraph about worrying too much can become a true self fulfilling prophecy is very important. Thanks! Jan 31 '18 at 16:14

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