Dear Bark: I have two dogs who used to get along so well. Lately, instead of being his usual sweet self, the younger one has become pushy with my nine-year-old senior dog, and it seems to be getting worse. After three years of harmony, why is my younger dog so rude to her, and will he grow out of it?

A family is a dynamic social unit, and interactions between members change—a truism that holds for most, if not all, social species, including dogs. Though what you’re observing is common, it can be surprising to see such a shift in a relationship that used to be so smooth. Any number of things could going on; following are a few possibilities.

Younger dogs who’ve been deferential to older dogs often start to assert themselves as they mature and become more confident and the older dog weakens or declines. Your older dog is likely entering her golden years. Even if she’s healthy,…

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