Dog aggression towards other dogs is a problem many dog-owners have to deal with. Often, even a placid, loving pet can become a growling, snarling beast in the presence of a strange dog.
If this describes your dog you need to take action immediately because should your dog become involved in a fight there could be dire consequences.
Your dog could be severely injured, even killed, or you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Your dog may even be taken away from you and euthanized.
So what should you do if your dog becomes aggressive around other dogs?
Here are some commonsense tips on how to keep things under control;
Dog Aggression Towards Other Dogs: Preventative Measures
To begin with, it stands to reason that, you should keep your dog away from other dogs if at all possible. And, if you do have to take your dog out in public, be sure to muzzle him.
It may also be a good idea to avoid areas where he is likely to come face-to-face with other dogs, like known dog-walking routes, or dog parks.
If your dog is still a puppy make sure that he is properly socialized, because lack of socialization is a major contributor to dog aggression towards other dogs.
Sign him up for a puppy socialization class where he’ll have the opportunity to interact with other dogs in a controlled environment, in which any aggression will immediately be checked.
Dealing with Dog Aggression in Older Dogs
If your dog begins showing aggression towards other dogs in later life, there is almost always some catalyst setting him off. Usually, it will be something simple, like protecting territory, food or a toy.
It may also be a dominance issue, sometimes arising from a new dog joining the household.
In these cases it is important to tackle the issue directly, perhaps removing the aggression trigger.
You should also be sure to assert dominance over your own “pack”. Your dogs need to know that they are subservient to you in the pack hierarchy, and that you will not tolerate fighting.
If your dogs have not been spayed or neutered, you may want to consider this, as it is known to have a calming effect. You may also want to have your dogs looked over by a vet, to eliminate health reasons as a cause of aggression.
Lastly, you’ll want to introduce some bond building activities to your pack, like walking them together.
Dog Aggression Towards Other Dogs: Warning Signs
Another way of stopping dog-on-dog aggression is to short-circuit the aggression response.
Dogs seldom escalate to full-blown aggression instantly. There are signs you can watch for that indicate that an attack is coming.
These include making direct eye contact, posturing, raised the hackles, stiffening the tail, showing the teeth, growling and lunging at the lead.
As soon as you notice your dog begin to show any of these signs in the presence of another dog, it’s time to move on.
Dog aggression towards other dogs is a serious problem, so consider calling in a professional dog trainer if you can’t handle it yourself.