Important tips on how to control dog aggression
There are 2 situations in which aggression between dogs occur.
- When one dog is unfamiliar with another dog.
- Aggression between familiar dogs that live in the same household.
Dogs may encounter other dogs while their owners are walking them. A dog that is not well-socialized might have dominant body language and stare other dogs straight in the eyes, which is conceived to be a direct challenge. Dog's that are otherwise friendly when not on a leash will more likely bark and lunge at another dog.
To avoid these confrontations owners should stay alert and keep their dog on a short leash. They should have voice control at all times and not let their dog sniff or come in contact with another dog. To prevent aggression when a dog is on a leash is to train the dog early on he can't visit with every canine he meets. Owners should also teach their dog to sit and wait for permission before approaching another dog. They should also train their dog not to pull on the leash. Behavior and basic obedience training along with voice control can help in preventing aggression and fights.
Along with keeping their dogs on a leash and with proper training owners can also avoid fights by keeping their dogs from roaming free, neutering them before one year of age, and start socializing their dogs when they are in the puppy stage between 5 and 10 weeks of age.
There are 4 behavioral clues to look for if a fight is threatening to start:
- A stern, deliberate, and targeted stare.
- Body language; the tail held stiffly up or down; lips pulled tight against the teeth.
- Rigid body movement.
- A dominating posture stance.
When dogs first meet they tend to establish a social hierarchy and determine whose top dog. They become involved in loud barking and growling. Sometimes the aggression escalates and a fight ensues where one dog latches on to another dog.
If you intervene don't put your hands or get between them to avoid getting bitten yourself. If another person is there you can take your dog by the tail or hind legs and the other person takes the other dog and both pull back until one of the dogs loosens its grip. You should then move away quickly. This can be risky since dogs will sometimes bite whoever is hanging on to them.
Fights and aggression that occur between dogs in the same household will be about those resources that are considered most important to dogs. These include territory, possession, food, sleeping-quarters, and favored people.
Fights often come about over their sleeping territory near their owners, treats, food, owner attention (or greeting the owner upon return).
Dogs of the same sex occur most often than those of the opposite sex and seems to be most intense between female dogs. Fights can also start between familiar dogs where one is obviously dominant.
There are some familiar characteristics when it comes to fighting between dogs in the same household.
- Adult dogs over 3 years old.
- Dogs fight only when the owner is present.
- Dogs are of the same sex.
- A clash often between dogs is which one will be the dominant dog in the family pack.
An owner might try punishment but typically this only promotes more aggression and creates new problems. Any breed of dogs can get into fights, and it depends more on the dogs training, temperament, and socialization.
Some fights can start so quickly the owner is caught off guard, but many times you can spot behaviors that signal problems ahead. Keeping a watch out for these signs can keep a fight from starting.
Of course the best approach is prevention and giving your dog proper training and providing good leadership.