Dog on dog aggression can lead to fights, which are very frightening for those watching as well as those whose dogs are involved in the fracas. Any aggressive dog behavior needs professional intervention to prevent it worsening and the dog becoming a threat to people.
What circumstances lead to dog aggression towards other dogs? In most cases, it is due to poor socialization when a dog is a youngster. If another dog frightens him, even if he isn't hurt, then that is enough to cause a problem. However there are some specific situations where aggressive dog behavior can occur even with appropriate training as a puppy.
Causes of Dog on Dog Aggression
Resource guarding. Many dogs will fight over food or toys, and they may also argue over the attention of a dog of the opposite gender. You are also a resource, and if you don't give enough attention to each of your dogs, then this can be enough to trigger a fight.
A bitch with pups will fight to protect her babies, no matter how quiet and gentle she was before her pregnancy. This is instinctive behavior, and it can appear almost overnight. One day she is relaxed about people who approach her babies, and the next day she will bite of they come near them.
Socializing puppies is important in raising them to be a well adjusted adult. However, if they are exposed to a dog that frightens them, then they can develop a fear of other dogs. This expresses itself as dog on dog aggression when an unfamiliar dog approaches.
Treating Aggressive Dog Behavior Towards Other Dogs
Neutering your dog, whether male or female, will help to reduce dog aggression toward other dogs. Your male dog won't feel the need to protect his female, or to fight for breeding rights. A spayed female won't be able to breed, so she won't show aggressive dog behavior when other dogs investigate her babies.
If you have more than one dog, and they are fighting over food and toys, then you will need to separate them for meal times. Keep toys well out of reach and only play with them under very controlled circumstances. Give all your dogs plenty of one-on-one attention, so they don't see you as a resource that they need to fight for.
It may not be possible to train your fear aggressive dog to be completely calm around other dogs. However, you can make things better for him, and this is well worth the effort for two reasons. Firstly, it will help him cope better if he finds himself in an environment where there are other dogs, such as the veterinary clinic. Secondly, it will prevent his fear spreading. He may start out being afraid of other dogs, but he could become frightened of being alone, and of thunderstorms.
The main part of treating dog on dog aggression is to set up very structured interactions with other dogs under the guidance of an experienced veterinary behavior specialist. If your dog is rewarded for staying calm in the company of unfamiliar dogs, then he is likely to repeat this behavior.
Prevention of Inter-Dog Aggression
Young dogs need positive interactions with other dogs from a very young age, to teach them that other canines are friends and are not to be feared. Any frightening experience that involves another dog can start your pup on the slippery slope to showing dog aggression toward other dogs. When your pup is young, take him to a well managed puppy pre-school that is managed by a competent and experienced trainer. Continue his training as he grows up with obedience classes where he can meet other dogs in a positive and supportive environment.
Don't forget that some breeds are bred to be aggressive to other dogs, because their instinct is to fight. The Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Dogo Argentino are very much like this.
Any aggressive dog behavior can make life difficult for you. Do whatever you can to train your dog out of this behavior but if that doesn't work, then you may just need to keep him away from any other dogs at all times.