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).
My dog growls at some dogs but not others. Why?
You might be wondering why your dog behaves in this manner in some circumstances but not in others. Two other factors that frequently affect dogs’ reactions and behaviors are listed below. They have two senses: one is scent, the other is eyesight.
Dogs have incredibly keen senses of smell. In comparison to humans, dogs often have a 10,000–100,000 times higher sense of smell. So your dog might growl for something in a person’s scent that you would never even notice. Dogs also associate objects based on their smells. Just because they are familiar with the smell, they may growl if it reminds them of a traumatic event or a terrifying circumstance.
Dogs rely on their vision to react and respond, even though it is not quite as sensitive as their sense of smell. They are able to distinguish between good and bad people. They are able to discern characteristics. Many dogs have adverse reactions to being near males. This could be a result of past trauma or abuse, or it could just be a personality trait unique to the dog. No of the reason, a dog may growl if they notice a man approaching them.
Why does my dog react differently to different dogs?
- Bodily Expression
- Your dog can pick up on something negative in another dog’s body language. When this occurs at a distance, your dog may already have decided what to do before the dogs ever meet. Overly enthusiastic dogs or dogs that adopt domineering postures repel a lot of dogs. Since Haley has always been a little hyperactive, she often sets off reactive dogs and performs best when she meets calm dogs.
- A dog can discern a great deal of details about another dog, even one that is quite a distance away, thanks to their extraordinary sense of smell. Your dog might not like the other dog’s fragrance for some reason or it might make him think of another dog he didn’t get along with in the past.
- Previous encounters
- Your dog can avoid or react negatively to other dogs that appear or smell similar if they caused them distress in the past. Due to a negative encounter with an aggressive Goldendoodle in our area, Haley occasionally becomes anxious when she sees other Goldendoodles. It’s also intriguing how she behaves more amicably around canines that resemble buddies she used to play with.
- Some dogs will rather interact with canines of the other sex than canines of their own sex.
- When other dogs approach too closely, canines that are possessive, possessive, or jealous may not like them. If they were playing alone, they might get along just well, but while defending something they value, they feel threatened and respond defensively.
- Your Mentality
- Dogs are experts at interpreting our emotions and body language. They are susceptible to our tension when we become tense. When a dog starts to react to other dogs, we may get anxious or afraid each time they encounter a new dog, which can create a vicious cycle (excuse the pun).
There is no reason to be concerned or feel that you haven’t socialized your dog sufficiently if he occasionally ignores another dog, just like we humans don’t like everyone we meet. It’s acceptable if some canines prefer to spend their time hanging out with people over other dogs. However, working with a positive-reinforcement trainer or behaviorist in your region may help desensitize your dog and lessen your stress if you have a dog that is highly reactive, defensive, or violent towards other dogs.
Does your dog prefer certain dogs over others? Post a comment below to let us know what you think!