Dogs attack other dogs for several reasons, but the most common ones are fear, stress, protection, and dominance. The best way to fix this aggressive behavior is to get to the root of the cause. Once you establish what’s triggering this behavior, you can begin the training process. However, in some cases, you may need to seek professional help from a dog trainer.
How to Stop a Dog Attacking Another Dog
Is your dog behaving in a hostile manner toward other dogs? Are you frantically searching for articles that would explain how to stop a dog attacking another dog? If so, I’m here to help.
Unfortunately, dog-on-dog aggression is pretty common in the canine world. However, that doesn’t make it any less scary. Seeing your fluffy friend attacking another dog is the stuff of nightmares.
For starters, your dog could hurt itself or end up injuring the other dog. But, even if both dogs manage to leave the fight unscathed, animal control could decide to take your pup away if they feel that your pet poses a danger to other dogs (and possibly people). All of this could also result in a lawsuit!
Ultimately, my tips and tricks on how to stop a dog attacking another dog will ensure the safety of your dog and keep you safe from potential lawsuits.
Why Do Dogs Attack Other Dogs?
The first step toward correcting your dog’s aggressive behavior is finding the cause. For this, you will need to keep a close eye on your pooch. First and foremost, try to keep tabs on each instance when your dog behaves aggressively.
For example, does your dog attack other dogs every time you take it out for a walk? Is your pup aggressive toward every dog, or does it try to attack smaller dogs or possibly bigger breeds? You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve seen a terrier try to attack a boxer!
Ultimately, dogs get aggressive when they are:
- Afraid of another dog
- Trying to protect you
- Trying to establish dominance
As I mentioned, the key to correcting aggressive behavior is getting to the root of the problem. That’s why I’m going to explain each reason separately, and hopefully you’ll be able to identify the cause of your dog’s aggression.
Attacking Out of Fear
When a dog feels threatened by something, the first thing that kicks in is its “flight response.” For instance, you may have witnessed your dog running away after hearing a loud sound or something similar.
However, if your dog feels threatened by another dog, it will probably resort to behaving aggressively rather than running away. That’s because your dog is aware that it won’t be able to outrun the threat, i.e., the other dog.
If your dog is attacking out of fear, it will exhibit the following behavior:
- It will slowly retreat, lower its head, and bare its teeth at the threat.
- If it’s cornered and has nowhere to run, your dog may growl and even try to lunge at the other dog
- Your dog may snarl and snap its teeth in an attempt to scare the other dog away
In most cases, though, if your dog is aggressive because it feels threatened, it will try to scare the other dog away by acting aggressively rather than actually try to attack it.
How to Stop a Dog Attacking Another Dog Out of Fear
First of all, you need to create a safe environment for your dog. Make sure your pup’s house is located as far away from the street as possible. Next, identify your dog’s trigger, or rather find out which dog is causing your pup to act aggressively.
Once you do so, try to keep a safe distance between both dogs. Choose a different walking route if you need to.
However, if your dog is aggressive toward all dogs, then the only way to teach your dog to stop attacking out of fear is to contact a qualified dog trainer. A trainer will teach your dog to cope with its fear in a different way, and stop acting aggressively toward other dogs.
Attacking Out of Stress
When something is bothering your furry friend, you’ll probably notice a change in its behavior. Some dogs tend to act sluggish, stop eating, and sleep for most of the day. However, in some cases, dogs can get aggressive when they’re feeling stressed.
Think of it this way — we all tend to snap at our friends and family when we’re stressed out. However, dogs can’t exactly yell, so they resort to aggression. It’s their way of snapping at someone.
Overall, dogs tend to get stressed when something disrupts their everyday routine. For instance, if you just recently moved into a new home, your dog could feel unsafe in its new surroundings.
Furthermore, introducing another dog to your household could also be the cause of your pooch’s stress. If that is the case, then your dog will probably act aggressively toward the new pup.
How to Stop a Dog Attacking Another Dog Out of Stress
When a dog is stressed due to a change of routine, the best way to deal with the problem is to reintroduce it to its regular routine.
Take your pup out for its daily walk at the same time every day. Keep a feeding schedule and stick to it. Also, try to spend more time with your pup. After a week or two, it will be back to its old self!
However, if your dog continues to act aggressively, there could be something medically wrong with it. If that’s the case, you will need to consult your local vet in order to determine whether your pup has any underlying medical conditions.
Attacking to Protect You
Dogs can get a bit overprotective of their owners at times. If your dog tries to attack every dog you come across on your daily walk, it may think you’re in danger. This type of behavior is pretty common in young pups since they’re just getting to know their surroundings.
In most cases, your dog won’t actually hurt the other dog. However, if you suspect that your dog is overly protective, you should immediately start correcting the behavior. Ultimately, allowing your dog to act aggressively toward other dogs could lead to it becoming aggressive toward people as well.
How to Stop a Dog Attacking Another Dog to Protect You
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to change your dog’s behavior in one day, so arm yourself with plenty of patience.
First of all, you will need to buy a secure leash and body harness for your pup, as well as some tasty doggy treats.
Once you’ve gathered everything, it’s time to take your pooch for a walk.
Remember to keep a firm hold on your dog’s leash at all times. As you approach another dog, slow down and praise your dog for as long as it remains calm. You can even give your pup a treat in order to encourage good behavior.
However, as soon as your dog starts displaying any signs of aggressive behavior, immediately turn around and pull your pup away from the other dog. Stay as far away as possible from the other dog until your pup calms down.
Then, turn around and slowly approach the other dog again. This time, insert yourself between your dog and the other dog. That will show your pup that you are the pack leader and that you’re capable of protecting yourself.
You should repeat this process as many times as you can, and practice every day. Ideally, you should practice with a few friends who own dogs, if possible.
Attacking to Establish Dominance
If you own more than one dog, I’m sure you’ve had to deal with them fighting for seemingly no reason at all. Dogs tend to get aggressive when they want to establish their dominance, and trust me, things can get pretty ugly.
Although dogs don’t fight to kill, sometimes they take things too far and one of them ends up getting hurt.
How to Stop a Dog Attacking Another Dog to Establish Dominance
Training your dogs to stop attacking each other may be tricky, however, it’s completely doable. First of all, you need to keep in mind that you’re dealing with canines and not human beings, so you’ll have to take a different approach.
For instance, when children fight over a toy, their parents try to make things fair by either taking away the toy completely or buying the same one for each child. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work on dogs.
Each pack has one pack leader. If you have two dogs, one of them is the leader and the other one is the subordinate. The leader expects to have access to food, water, treats, and toys before the subordinate, and it’s your job to keep it that way.
Do not try to treat each dog equally, or else they will attack each other the moment you turn your head. The subordinate will challenge the pack leader for dominance, and you’ll most likely end up taking both dogs to the vet.
What you can do is try to stop the aggression before it begins. For instance, if your dogs start to growl at each other, call them both, and try to distract them with toys. Never punish your dogs for fighting, as that will only encourage aggression.
However, if you can’t seem to train your dogs to stop fighting on your own, you should consider seeking professional help. Dog trainers can do wonders when it comes to correcting aggressive behavior.
How to stop a dog attacking another dog is a pretty common question (for dog owners at least!), so don’t stress yourself out for searching for a way to fix your pup’s behavior.
Dogs are a man’s best friend, so it’s normal to be worried when your pup suddenly starts behaving aggressively. Whatever the cause for this change, remember that positive reinforcement is always welcome, whereas punishment can only make things worse.
On a final note, keep in mind that even though you can train your dog to stop attacking other dogs, sometimes it’s better to seek professional help from a dog trainer. In some cases, it’s probably the best solution for both you and your pup.