Dogs are almost impossible to resist! With their playful and joyful demeanor, you have no choice but to love them at first sight. Having your own pet at home feels like you have your very own sweet and adorable wolf. Of course, life with dogs does not always involve rainbows and butterflies. There might be some issues, like aggression, that might arise in one way or another.
They are not aggressive by nature. But, there might be times when they become on-guard and agitated when meeting other dogs.
When this happens, all you can think about is, “What happened to my sweet puppy?”
In a nutshell…
Why do dogs hate other dogs?
The answer is simple. Dogs might hate each other because they were not exposed to other dogs when they were puppies. Because they were not socialized properly, these dogs do not know how to interact with others. As a result, they might become aggressive towards other dogs.
Reasons why dog fights?
The most common reason why dogs attack each other is social aggression. Other reasons include protecting their territory or owners, asserting dominance, developing fear and anxiety, and exhibiting predatory traits. Dogs may present these reasons in the form of growling, snapping, and biting.
5 Reasons Why Your Dog Fights With Other Dogs
Aggression in dogs refers to any threatening behavior towards other animals or people. These behaviors include subtle changes in body posture and facial expressions, growling, chasing, and biting. When dogs are unfamiliar with each other, they tend to become aggressive. This behavior stems from under-socialization when they were only puppies.
Under-socialization might also be caused by the following:
- isolation from other pups in their litter, especially dogs who were sickly and frail
- bad experience with previous owners, such as owners who do not take their dogs out for walks
- growing up in pet stores or breeding shelters
This form of aggression can be corrected through training. Read on for tips on curbing aggressive tendencies in your pup.
Some dog breeds are more protective than others. In the same logic, some are more likely to be friendly. Dogs are known to be territorial. According to a study, Siberian dogs tend to respond negatively to unfamiliar dogs. Other breeds include Chow Chows, Rottweilers, Akitas, German shepherds, and Belgian Malinois.
Territorial behavior refers to how your dog acts with regard to its territory. When in their territories, dogs become defensive and protective against unfamiliar stimuli. To illustrate better, some dogs can snap against people or other animals that approach their property. dogs may begin to growl, bark, lunge, chase, or even bite anyone that comes near their territory.
Dogs are dominant animals. This trait is mainly a product of their genetics and environment. Dominance aggression refers to the threatening or harmful behavior of a dog that is directed toward the other dogs and people when the dog feels challenged or threatened. Like wolves, they have strict hierarchies in a pack. Hence, they may display dominant and aggressive behavior. Some dogs exhibit the following dominant characteristics:
- Raising their tail
- Snarling, growling, or barking
- Menacingly showing their teeth to other animals and people
Dominant dogs might approach other dogs and stare them down. When demonstrating dominance, they will attempt to stand over or even mount the other dog.
Anxiety in dogs is often caused by a variety of factors and is also one of the reasons why dog fights. These factors include abandonment, fear of being home alone, loud noises, traveling, and/or being around strange people, children, or other pets. According to research, anxiety is among the different motivations that “generally play a role” in the aggression of dogs. Dogs can become fearful or anxious when placed in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations.
Dogs with anxiety are more affected by strange stimuli including meeting unfamiliar dogs. Even when owners prevent anxious dogs from harming others, they can still exhibit aggressive behaviors such as growling or barking.
Aside from aggression, some of the symptoms of anxiety in your dog include:
- Compulsive behaviors
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Urinating or defecating in the house
Watch out for these signs in order to create a reconditioning or treatment plan for your puppy. Make sure to consult your veterinarian to help you find the best treatment for your dog.
Strong Predatory Drive
Dogs have a strong prey instinct much like their wolf ancestors. There is no telling when dogs will demonstrate this trait. Hence, predatory behavior can be the most dangerous form of aggression.
Predatory behavior among dogs may include stalking, chasing, biting, and killing other animals. dogs, in general, do not get on well with smaller dogs, birds, and small animals including cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters.
One way to release these prey instincts is to play with your dog. Activities like running, chasing, catching, and retrieving can help redirect this behavior.
4 tips on what to do if your dog fights other dogs
Desensitize Your dog From Triggers
Unfortunately, some dogs have bad experiences. These experiences can influence them to show aggression towards other dogs, animals, and people. With desensitization, the goal is to gradually expose your dog to something upsetting while pairing that upsetting thing with awesome treats. These tips can help you desensitizing your dog from the triggers of their aggression.
List Your Dog’s Triggers
Knowing specific triggers can help you train your dog more efficiently since you can prepare for what’s to avoid. Sit down and think of all the situations that make your dog behave aggressively. What things upset your puppy?
Get Safety Measures in Place
Preparation is essential in any type of training. You have to remove triggers that can make your dog act aggressively. For example, you might want to install a baby gate to prevent your dog from attacking other dogs that come near your house.
Protect Your Dog
Physical safety precautions are not enough to keep your dog from showing aggression. When traveling with your puppy, make sure that you are prepared for anything. This includes bringing your dog’s first aid kit.
Protecting your dog also includes the following:
- keep them off-leash when walking in the neighborhood
- Do not leave your dog unattended in the yard or any public place
- Do not tie your dog up and leave him or her alone to avoid the reasons for dog fights
Remember, certain responsibilities come with having your own dog. Your puppy needs you as much as you need him or her.
Do “The Nudge” Method
This training method will definitely require your patience. Training may take a few weeks before you fully accomplish the behavioral change you want to see in your puppy.
When you take your dog out for a walk and your dog sees another dog and starts to lunge towards them, do not try to pull his leash since this will make him pull harder.
In order to distract your dog, gently nudge him or her to the side using your knee. If he does not back down, then you can make a sharp tug on his leash while calling his name. Once, your dog settles, give them a treat or give them praise.
Training your dog in a controlled environment is the key to improve his or her aggression tendencies. However, if you ever get stuck or feel that you’re in over your head, contact a professional behavior consultant to avoid the reasons for dog fights.
Train Your dog To Follow Commands
It’s never too late to start training a dog – better late than never as they say. Training your pet to listen to your commands comes in handy during this situation. However, it’s definitely more challenging to train an adult canine than a puppy to avoid the reasons for dog fights.
Building up basic cues for your dog can eliminate aggressive behavior easier. You can start with the following commands:
“Sit.” To teach your dog how to sit, use a treat he or she likes and position it over his or her head. Move your hand in an arching direction until your pup moves in a sitting position. Reward your pet with the treat, or praise him or her for good behavior.
“Touch.” Present your hand after saying this cue. Give your dog a reward when he or she nudges your hand with his or her nose. This trick can help your dog redirect his or her focus and gaze away from the trigger.
“Watch me.” Grab your dog’s attention with this command. To start, hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose. Bring the treat slowly up between your eyes and mark the behavior with a clicker or any marker word such as “Yes” or “Good.” Give your puppy a treat when he or she is able to follow. Also, instead of “watch me,” you simply say your dog’s name to get his or her attention.
“Leave it.” To begin, take two different types of treats and put one type of treat in each hand. Make a fist with the hand that is holding one of the treats and present your fist to your dog. Let him or her sniff. Now, say “leave it” and wait until he or she finishes sniffing your fist. Do the same for your other hand. Repeat the process until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” Reward your dog for good behavior.
Make sure to maintain a steady voice when training your dog to follow cues. Also, keep training sessions extremely short – five minutes or less, in general. Training dogs requires dedication and consistency. Keep in mind that results do not appear overnight and that it could take weeks before your puppy gets used to the commands.
NOTE: Get punishment out of the picture
Aggressive behavior can come from fear. Therefore, making your dog afraid of you is likely to make the aggression worse. Punishing your dog for not following your commands does more harm than good. Your dog will not understand the reason for your shouting anyway. Let’s focus on positive reinforcement instead. Treats can come in the form of food, praise, or even playtime. This changes your dog’s underlying emotional reaction to something upsetting.
Effective positive reinforcement is important in obedience training. Here are some tips you can follow:
- Reward your puppy as soon as he or she does something good. This will help him learn what acceptable behavior is and what is not.
- Do not punish the dog for doing something bad.
- You can use praise, food, or treats to reward your dog’s good behavior.
Socialize Your dog to avoid dog fights
You might think that you have missed out on the critical socialization period, but there is always hope. Socializing your dog is a sure way of making life and creating friendship easier for anyone. Through effective socialization, your dog grows to be happy and well-rounded. It is one of the best ways to prevent your dog from having behavior issues as he or she grows older.
While it is easier to train a young puppy than an adult dog, making your dog less aggressive and more sociable is still possible. Here are some tips for gradually socializing your dog:
- Walk your dog when there are few people around.
- Avoid petting your dog in situations that are triggering to him or her.
- Cross the street to avoid triggers.
- Keep your dog close to you when walking.
- Leave your dog alone while he or she is eating if he or she is aggressive around his or her food.
Establish Yourself As A Strong Leader
Dogs are stubborn. For your training to work, your dog should recognize you as its alpha. You have to be confident and show a strong will to show him or her that you are in charge. As much as you want it, don’t treat your dog as an equal because he will not listen to you. You also have to change your own behavior to further help your pet succeed. A firm tone of voice and eye contact will help you and your dog breeze through training.