Dogs can become aggressive towards other dogs for a number of reasons. They may have had bad experiences and are fearful of other dogs or they may be inexperienced in body language and may be sending out the wrong signals to other dogs. Oftentimes male dogs have become sexually mature and are then more likely to get into conflict with other sexually mature males. Whatever the reason may be there are a number of things you can do to minimise the likelihood of conflict between dogs:
- You may find it helps to allow your dog off the lead when being introduced to another dog. Being on a lead makes your dog feel that it cannot escape. Dogs in this situation are more likely to be aggressive.
- If you have a puppy, don’t allow it to play with older dogs because it may learn from them to play too roughly.
- Don’t play too roughly with your own dog- or allow others to do so- and always stop the minute any games with you or with other dogs start to get out of hand.
- Ensure your dog is fully socialised with other dogs from an early age. This is very important because socialisation helps ensure your dog will learn the relevant body language to manage its interactions with other dogs. Read our article about the importance of puppy socialisation
- Ensure any bad experiences with other dogs are completely outnumbered by good experiences.
- When your dog is playing with dogs with which they are unfamiliar do not allow them to bite hard, mount, or put their paw on the other dog’s back. These are all dominant actions that may not tolerated by an unfamiliar dog.
- Try to limit the amount of time your dog plays with other dogs and always encourage your puppy or dog to play with you rather than another dog.
- Watch the body language of unfamiliar dogs; if they are portraying aggressive body language, always call your dog away from them.