Why Do Big Dogs Attack Small Dogs

Avoiding the situation entirely is the best course of action.

First, a warning to owners of large dogs: If you’ve ever noticed that your dog has the potential to become aggressive, it’s critical that you always keep him on a leash wherever he might encounter other dogs or people. People frequently remark on how much of a model citizen their dogs are “almost always gets them into trouble and occasionally transforms lives. Until you can let go of a dog with complete trust that he will obey you when he doesn’t have to, you must continually restrict one that is generally docile and pleasant but occasionally suddenly goes off half-cocked. Even while it may seem unfortunate that he must wear a leash every day in order to make up for his incredibly seldom indiscretions, it is your only guarantee that he will behave sensibly and securely.

When you want your dog to walk the other direction or make sure he turns his head when necessary, a harness or head halter works better than a simple collar around the neck.

A dog that has displayed aggression (though not necessarily harmful behavior) toward a smaller dog can occasionally be trained to return to you or another person with intensive training, possibly by you alone but preferably with the assistance of an animal behaviorist or a professional trainer “Leave it instead of attacking when you’re angry. No choke chains, prong collars, or electrical training collars are allowed, and it requires a lot of patience. Start by teaching him to sit, stay, lie down, and adhere to the other rules of good behavior you have set for him at home. That means showing up when you call, even though he would prefer to keep working. It’s your responsibility to encourage him and pamper him when he follows through.

You can take your huge dog to, say, a dog-friendly park and try letting him go after you feel your control over him has been clearly established (much better if the trained expert who has been working with you thinks that way). This will happen after you’ve taken him to that park numerous times on a longer and longer lead, ensuring that he pays attention to you when you tell him to. But even then, you should keep a long leash linked to him and trail it behind so you may more readily grab him if he behaves badly. It will be far more difficult for a dog to follow your commands while untethered to you in a crowded public area than it will be in your gated backyard, where you have near complete control over the surroundings.

Train your dog to use a basket muzzle as an alternative. Your dog can eat, drink, pant, and even catch a rope toy while wearing a basket muzzle like the Baskerville Ultra or the Bumas Custom Muzzle. When properly introduced, a dog can learn to feel just as at ease wearing a muzzle as he does a collar or harness.

Contrary to popular belief, the hardest aspect of training your dog, which may take weeks or months, is not keeping him on a leash when he wants to run loose in public. The hardest aspect is maintaining composure if, by chance, your dog escapes and comes across a smaller dog that he has his sights set on. When the safety of another dog may be at risk, many owners understandably start yelling at their dogs and make a huge deal out of it—a completely natural expression of impulse that the owner of the dog being attacked could also anticipate. However, that’s the worst thing you can do since it will simply fuel the hysteria and make your pet more enthusiastic about what he is up to.

Yes, whatever it takes, you have to act as rapidly as you can to free your dog from the other dog’s body and re-leash him. Additionally, you must be ready to be contrite and sorry even if the other owner, who is terrified to death, starts yelling at you or maybe even tries to kick your dog to protect his own. However, your dog won’t be more likely to heed your commands and come back to your side if you start yelling and wailing. It might make that better “come it on, he already has that sensation.

Once the episode is done, you shouldn’t yell at your dog or reprimand him. He won’t understand why you’re doing it. Dogs are very present-oriented creatures. What occurs “He won’t comprehend why you’re treating him severely because what happens next is merely a different situation from what happened previously. Simply put, you must resume patient training and, in certain situations, be prepared to never again allow your dog run loose in areas where he may come into touch with other dogs. Remember that if things go out of hand enough, your accountability becomes a legal issue that may be brought up in court. Additionally, the courts may have unsatisfactory answers for canine biting.

If a bigger dog assaults your smaller dog, it is never your fault. However, there are ways to increase your chances of keeping your tiny dog secure in public places. You shouldn’t try to make up for her diminutive stature by overprotecting her and lifting her up outside out of a false sense of security that she is in danger. Big dogs and small dogs get along nicely in general. However, if you consistently convey to your tiny pet that life is risky, she may get uneasy or even aggressive with her own barks and gnashing of teeth. Additionally, anxious and nasty dogs often provoke other dogs into adopting hostile positions and behaviors.

Again, even if your dog is acting aggressively, it is never your fault if another dog attacks yours. But given that most of life is not a hostile set of events, why would you unintentionally educate your dog to be aggressive?

Remember that dogs frequently run up to each other in dog parks and other areas where they are allowed to roam loose in order to assist you maintain your balance. To them, what appears dangerous to us is frequently fun because they like chasing and being chased. They enjoy giving each other a whiff. They have game rules that don’t always correspond to people’s rules, but it usually works out.

Having said that, you should be aware of your alternatives in case a dog poses a true threat to your dog. The best solution is occasionally to take your pet in your arms. Work to pull your dog out of harm’s way if a dog approaches your canine family member like a bullet, possibly with its fangs barred. We can’t promise that it will function flawlessly every time. After all, some huge dogs can jump as high as your arms with ease, endangering both you and your dog in the process. However, it’s a better option than just attempting to push the large dog away, which will merely leave your pet helpless. Physically attacking an aggressive dog while he is engaged in an attack rarely succeeds in getting him to leave the area. He is speedier and has more bite than you. Additionally, kicking and yelling won’t do anything but aggravate the violent dog, just as the owner’s response will just encourage him. Flailing and yelling will encourage the dog, who is in fight or flight mode, to give it his all in the encounter “fighting ring.

When a beloved dog is in immediate danger and your body and mind are urging you to take action, it can be difficult to remain calm. however, strongly admonishing the belligerent dog to “A less dramatic response might actually work better than staying might. To divert the approaching dog, you may even drop some treats on the ground in front of it. You wouldn’t feel like doing anything at all. But if the goal is to convince the dog to eat instead of your small pet, what does it matter as long as you accomplish the desired result?

Similar remarks apply to the owner of the vicious dog. The owner of the small animal might not comprehend why you are being so polite to your dog while he is attacking. But once more, the goal is to train the dog to comply with your wishes; scolding him in the heat of the moment won’t help.

Of course, if you believe you have trained your dog to return to you after scaring or even hurting a smaller dog, perhaps with the assistance of a professional trainer or behaviorist because so much is at stake, and a second dog finds itself in an equally dangerous situation as a result of your pet, it’s time to permanently restrict his time spent outdoors off leash to your backyard that is enclosed by a high enough fence.

My dog wants to attack little dogs, but why?

In general, the majority of well-socialized dogs want to avoid aggressive or physical confrontation. Dogs indicate their desires to interact or to avoid an aggressive encounter through body language. Not all canines are adept or natural communicators with members of their own species, just like not all people are.

The diagnosis is based on how the dog behaves and responds when confronted by another dog.

Fear, poor communication, defensiveness, possessive behavior toward resources (such possibly family members or other pets), or territorial behavior toward owner or territory can all be causes of aggression amongst unacquainted dogs. Canines hurting other dogs or people trying to separate them might result from canine aggression. Growling, snarling, barking, lunging, snapping, and biting are some examples of the behavior (see Canine CommunicationInterpreting Dog Language).

How do I recognize fear-based or defensive aggression toward unfamiliar dogs?

The diagnosis is based on how the dog behaves and responds when confronted by another dog. However, depending on how the relationship turns out, these stances and responses could alter over time. For instance, the behavior tends to intensify and the body postures may become more assured if the dog learns that the hostile show ends encounters. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to both current expressions and posture as well as those from the first few encounters. Fearful dogs frequently have their tails tucked, their ears pulled back, and they may lean against their owners or try to sneak up behind them. They can be lunging and backing up while barking at the approaching dog. In many cases, the dog is dodging eye contact. This behavior may have started as a result of earlier aggressive attacks that the dog was unable to resist and in which he or she was hurt. Some dogs that did not have adequate early socialization with other canines may not have the social skills needed to playfully and comfortably socialize. When there are other dogs around, if one of the dogs is overly excited and the owners are unable to calm or control it, the second dog may become scared or protective, which could eventually result in violent outbursts from both dogs.

The owner frequently influences the dog’s behavior. A leash tightening response or even “corrections that inform the dog that the approaching dog or at least the circumstance is of worry, for instance, may be used by the owner to convey tension. Additionally, the dog is likely to notice the owner’s reactions and correlate them with the approach of the other dog if the owner is upset, scared, or anxious about the dog’s conduct (rather than their own behaviors). A dog may become even more defensive and aggressive as a result of this. When a dog’s owner tries to soothe an aggressive dog, the actions the dog is currently displaying may get reinforced. The dog’s dread and anxiety in connection to the stimuli will only increase if the owner attempts to halt the behavior by threatening or punishing the dog. Owners who keep their dogs restricted on a leash—especially with a choke or pinch collar—and have poor control frequently have highly protective pets. Good control can help to relax the dog. dogs that are leashed or otherwise restricted The diagnosis is based on the dog’s body language and behavior when confronted by another dog. are more likely to act aggressively when scared because they can’t get away.

How do I recognize aggression resulting from poor communication between unfamiliar dogs?

Both dogs’ forceful postures or movements can trigger this aggression. These include putting your head or feet on the other dog’s back or adopting other dominant bodily postures like making eye contact, raising your tail, or approaching stiff-legged. Inappropriate appeasing or submissive behaviors toward the other dog by one of the two canines may result in aggression. Owners’ responses, such as pulling and tightening or correcting with the leash or when they use threats or punitive methods, may unintentionally increase the anxiety and arousal. These could alert the dog that the approaching approach could be dangerous. Leash restrictions also prevent the dog from responding at a full tempo and with the full range of body postures, approaches, and withdrawals.

Some dogs could be unsure about how to interact politely with other canines. This could be brought on by a lack of socialization with other dogs or dogs of other breeds and types, by previous negative encounters with other dogs, which would then add fear or anxiety elements to the problem. In dogs that are scared or worried, as well as in dogs that don’t have appropriate social skills with other dogs, issues can quickly get out of hand. For instance, one or both dogs may become aggressive if aggressive or dominant looks and gestures, or overly excited and reactive displays terrify the other dog. In contrast, even when the other dog exhibits deferential behavior, the signaling dog may not be interpreting the second dog’s messages and may intensify its displays, maybe to the point of aggressiveness. The second dog may develop defensive aggression as a result. Through motions, posture, and visual and vocal cues, familiar dogs in a social group can communicate effectively to reduce fighting. However, this does not always work when new dogs are meeting and welcoming each other for the first time. Additionally, the variety of physical and behavioral variations across breeds and individuals, behavioral genetics, inadequate socialization with other dogs, prior experience, and changing circumstances and locations on walks can all exacerbate the issue and heighten anxiety. When challenged, certain dogs who are particularly brave or forceful may fight rather than yield. If the owners do not have adequate verbal and physical control, assertive dogs may become too pushy and/or overly protective. During walks, if the dog drags the owners behind, it will take the initiative in responding to stimuli it encounters and won’t look to the owner for guidance or assurance. Other dogs may be in a state of tension with the other dog because they are friendly or socially drawn to it but unsure of or afraid of the potential results. Aggression can come from these ambiguous or conflicting emotional situations (see Canine CommunicationInterpreting Dog Language).

The majority of the time, this type of hostility manifests itself when other dogs enter the domain that the resident dog thinks to be his own. When other dogs enter their territory, some dogs become extremely agitated and may climb fences or enter via windows or doors to attack the invader (see AggressionTerritorial).

How do I recognize possessive aggression?

Possessive aggressiveness is mainly seen when a dog acts aggressively when approached while in possession of a specific resource, despite the fact that aggression can have numerous components (fear, learning). This could be a particular brand of food or treat, a beloved toy, a brand-new or stolen item, or when near or with a specific family member or family members. The issue develops when one dog has a very strong desire for the resource, even if the other dog defers, or when both dogs are motivated enough to utilize physical conflict to get or keep control of the resource. The issue might be avoided if the resources (toys, food) are taken away during social contacts with other dogs if the dog occasionally displays little to no aggressiveness when the specific resource is present (see AggressionPossessiveObjects and Toys and AggressionPossessiveFood Bowl).

The majority of dog-on-dog aggression is exacerbated by learning and training. The behavior will have been successful if threats or hostility cause the other dog to retreat or be taken away by its owner. The owner may only reinforce the aggressive responses if they attempt to soothe the aggressive dog. Punishing the dog who is acting aggressively toward other dogs is one of the most frequent errors.

“The problem will get worse with each exposure if the owners are unable to adequately handle the dog and resolve the situation without escalating the dog’s anxiety or growing its fear.”

This frequently increases the dog’s level of excitement and teaches it that the stimulus—another dog—is indeed connected to undesirable outcomes. In an effort to exert greater control, many owners subsequently further up the severity of the punishment (e.g., using prong or electronic shock collars), which raises the dog’s level of arousal and, in some situations, may cause defensive hostility toward the owners. Unfortunately, the fact that these solutions may at first inhibit the undesired behavior may confuse owners. Even though the response has been blocked, the negative association may intensify, therefore this does not necessarily imply that the tactics are effective. The dogs will quickly learn to become more scared and aggressive at subsequent encounters if the dog-to-dog interaction causes discomfort or harm to either one or both of the dogs. In other words, the problem will get worse with each exposure if the owners are unable to effectively handle the dog and end the situation without escalating the dog’s worry or dread.

How can I prevent my dog from becoming aggressive with other dogs?

Puppy socialization and training are the first steps towards prevention. Your dog will learn appropriate interactions with and responses to other dogs through early and frequent exposure to other dogs. This can greatly aid in reducing dog hostility against other dogs. A range of dog breeds, sizes, and personalities should be introduced as socialization progresses, starting with calm, good communicators among dogs. If there are considerable size differences, one or both dogs have cropped ears, hair that covers their eyes, or have docked tails, it may be challenging to “read” their body postures, ear carriage, eye contact, tail position, and even body postures (see Socialization and Fear Prevention). The issue will worsen with each new exposure if the owners are unable to effectively manage the dog and handle the situation without escalating the dog’s anxiety or enhancing its fear.

Your dog must be under good control. As a result, your dog will pick up on contextual cues from you and may act calmer, less apprehensive, and less protectively when faced with novel stimuli. Additionally, the dog must consistently react to the orders “sit,” “remain,” and “silent so that desired responses can be corrected rather than reinforced (see Reinforcement and Rewards and Teaching CalmSettle and Relaxation Training). To offer you more control over the dog, you might need to use a head halter if necessary (see Training Products). Training and training products with a head halter Training for head halters (synopsis). A leash is required when the dog might come into contact with other canines.

Preventing the dog from displaying lengthy and out-of-control aggression in the house and yard is crucial when it comes to territorial tendencies. Barking, lunging, dashing through fences, and jumping on doors, windows, and fences are examples of aggressive behaviors. When necessary, windows should be blocked to discourage or stop these actions, and the dog should be taken outside to do so. It will be easier to maintain control and to stop violent reactions and re-direct the dog to more suitable ones if you use a leash and head collar both inside and outside. Teaching your dog a “calm command for barking” is a crucial step (see Barking and Training “Quiet, Barking and Training “QuietSynopsis, and AggressionUnfamiliar DogsTreatment).