The probability of overt fighting is related to the strength of competing vectors set against the relative social competence, mutual affection and trust exhibited by the dogs. Under conditions of heightened excitability and sudden or unexpected change, the momentum of control vectors may be significantly increased and doubly so for highly valued resources (food)! Although the social codes associated with the rule of first possession and generally conducive to reducing competitive conflict over objects in possession, the rule may increase control vectors and incentives to reach the object first. Scrambling competition may be particularly problematic in situations where a highly motivated and quick subordinate may be able to get to objects of interest first that are ordinarily held exclusively by a slower but more aggressive and dominant dog. Under such circumstances both dogs may escalate competitive tensions under a perceived violation of their right of access and privilege to the item.
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), Professional Member APDT, (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator, Animal Behavioral College Mentor