Shibashake cares for a male Shiba Inu named Sephy and a three-legged female Siberian Husky named Shania.
Dogs Don't Always Get Along
It is always a bit strange to me that we expect our dogs to be social butterflies. People often get very embarrassed when their dog barks at another dog, growls, or vocalizes in any way.
Indeed, it is more natural for dogs to be wary of other dogs. After all, when a wolf pack sees a new wolf in their territory, they will chase him away. In fact, wolves are very protective of their territory, and dogs can be as well, unless they are trained otherwise.
Some Aggression Can Be Normal
Even then, we should not expect our dogs to like all other dogs. Some dogs just do not get along. Other dogs may get along when they are young and start showing dog-to-dog aggression once they have matured. Just like us, dogs grow up and change based on their experiences, training, relationships with others, and their natural temperaments. Even dogs that live together and seem to get along very well may sometimes exhibit aggression with each other.
What to Know About Aggressive Behavior
This article seeks to answer the following questions:
- Where does aggression between dogs come from?
- Why does a dog show aggression to another dog?
- How do we stop dog-to-dog aggression?
Where Does Aggression Between Dogs Come From?
Often, it seems like dog-to-dog aggression comes out of nowhere. One day, our dog is best friends with the neighbor's dog, and the next day, they are in a no-holds-barred fight. Where does the aggression come from? How can best friends suddenly turn into bitter enemies?
It Starts With Warning Signals
Although it may seem to us that our dogs start fighting for apparently no reason, that is frequently not the case. There is usually a reason or a trigger event that sets off the aggression. In addition, dogs don't usually launch into an all-out aggressive attack of another dog without some initial warning signals.
In fact, dogs usually start communicating with each other from afar through body language and some vocalizations.
Example of a Warning Signal: The Butt Sniff
My Shiba Inu can sometimes get aggressive with other dogs. In particular, he does not like new dogs coming over to sniff his butt. Butt sniffing requires a fair amount of trust because the dog is allowing someone he does not know to put their teeth very near to his sensitive areas, and far away from his own teeth. The dog doing the sniffing could easily attack and seriously wound the other dog before he could even respond.
When meeting another dog, my Shiba usually has loose body posture until the other dog starts to approach his butt region. Then . . .
- He starts tensing up and shows the other dog that he is uncomfortable with that butt action.
- If the other dog does not back-off, Shiba will usually lift his lip and start a soft growl.
- If the other dog still does not back-off, Shiba will quickly turn around and air snap.
- If the other dog still does not back-off, a fight may occur.
Humans Misinterpret These Signals
Since we do not speak dog, we often miss all of this useful information. Instead, all we hear is the bark or the growl. We interpret this as dog aggression, get embarrassed, and start punishing our dog for actually doing all the right things.
My Shiba gave many warnings to both me and the other dog, and it is only after we ignored all of his warnings that he contemplated using his teeth.
If we keep correcting our dog for giving warning signals and properly communicating his unease, he may decide to skip all the middle steps and go straight into an attack the next time he meets another dog.
Why Does a Dog Become Aggressive Toward Another Dog?
Dog-to-dog aggression can be triggered by a wide variety of stimuli. Furthermore, whether a particular trigger causes an escalation into aggression also depends on the current mood of the dogs, energy levels, and other surrounding context.
- Competition over resources.
- Self-defense from a perceived threat.
Dog fights frequently occur over food, toys, territory, or reproductive rights. That is why it is against the rules to bring a bitch in heat to a public dog park. This can very easily start a fight among the male dogs as they compete for rights over the female. Dogs may also fight to claim food and territory.
For example, both my dogs get along very well. They even have their meals together. However, when I give them a high priority item, like a bully stick, I separate them. This lets them work on their bully sticks in peace, without having to worry about it getting stolen. My Shiba Inu is a big time scamp and he really likes stealing things just for the hell of it. If he tries to steal my Siberian Husky's bully stick, that might trigger a fight.
Context Is Important
Note: What causes an aggressive episode is highly contextual. For example, my dogs can eat together without any problems because to them, the regular food is not worth fighting over. However, if they were both really hungry, then it may be a totally different situation.
In the butt-sniff case, my dog was trying to protect himself from a perceived threat, i.e., the other dog placing his teeth close to my dog's sensitive parts. What is perceived as a threat will be different for each individual dog. Therefore, it is important to carefully observe our dog and listen to what he has to say. If we can identify his aggression triggers, then we can start to help him get over them.
Aggression and Dominance
A trigger event causes conflict between two dogs. This does not necessarily mean that the conflict will escalate into a fight. If one of the dogs is willing to submit to the other, then that is usually sufficient to resolve the conflict.
For example, my Siberian Husky is a more submissive dog. Whenever there are any real conflicts, she will usually submit to Shiba Inu by rolling onto her back and exposing her tummy.
Dog fights usually only arise when both dogs are unwilling to submit. In this case, they resolve the conflict with their teeth. This is why dogs with more dominant personalities are more of a challenge to live with because they will stick to their guns and not back down. Others must acquiesce to their position. The same is also true for people with more dominant personalities.
When I got a second dog, I made sure to get a dog with a more submissive personality. My Shiba Inu has a dominant temperament, and gets along better with more relaxed, playful, and submissive dogs.
How Can We Stop Dog-to-Dog Aggression?
In cases of dog-to-dog aggression, it is usually very helpful to hire a professional trainer. A professional trainer can observe our dog in real-time and catch body language that we may miss. This allows us to effectively interpret our dog's interactions with other dogs and identify the source of his aggression.
Methods That Have Helped With My Shiba Inu
Some things that have helped me deal with my Shiba Inu's dog-to-dog aggression issues:
- Always stay calm and always have a plan. If we become angry, fearful, or frustrated, our dog will pick up on that energy and become even more stressed.
- Create as many neutral experiences as possible. If nothing happens every time we see another dog, our dog will learn to be more relaxed in the presence of other dogs.
- Do not let a dog practice aggressive behavior. The more he practices aggression toward another dog, the more likely he will repeat that behavior in the future.
- Set our dog up for success. Only let him greet friendly and relaxed dogs that we are absolutely sure he can handle. This helps to build our dog's confidence, and helps him better handle greetings with other dogs in the future. It will also help us build our own confidence.
- Desensitize our dog toward other dogs in a controlled training environment.
Dog socialization has recently become the new it thing. Dogs are often forced into social situations that they are uncomfortable with. However, if a dog keeps having negative experiences with other dogs, he will ultimately resort to using aggression to protect himself. Successful greetings condition a dog to enjoy the company of other dogs; negative greetings teach him to be anxious or fearful of his own kind.
- If we continue to force our dog to meet unbalanced dogs or dogs with conflicting temperaments, we will only worsen his dog-to-dog aggression issues.
- If we help our dog by carefully choosing his play-mates and respecting his social boundaries, he will grow up to be a more balanced, confident, happy, and relaxed dog.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Rita on August 21, 2020:
My son's Rhodesian Ridgeback 120 lbs (Fenris) keeps sniffling my 15 lbs poodle mix (Mocha) who growls and snaps his disapproval ** my son tells him "no", he is separated and we have use a water spray bottle but the behavior continues any suggestions?
Linda on July 25, 2020:
My dog sees neighbors dog coming towards my house n my dog runs n attacks
Kris on July 18, 2020:
I have a mastiff and my brother lived with me with his chocolate lab for 4 years. He has moved out and my dog was supper sad and whiny. It’s been about 3 weeks and now my dog is trying to attack him and is being very mean to the lab now. What can I do and why is it this way now
Sophie on June 04, 2020:
My dog , has had his nuts off. He is a big dog very strong. When I walk him he doesn't like dogs coming up to him in his space. He gets nasty and barks at them or growls at them. Until they go away. Sometimes they don't react and sometimes they bark back. He rarely is friendly to other dogs. Only ones he met as a puppy who he likes and plays with when he seems them. He'5 now. He loves his family and doesn't like to be left gets a bit needy. He is highly sensitive dog, very affectionate to his family and owners doesn't like dogs that much.
Renee on April 24, 2020:
I have a 10 month old puppy springer spaniel and whenever she gas a ball , if another dog puvks it up or even goes near her she snaps and nearly bites thecother dog. I dont know how to stop her aggressive behaviour?! Ive tried looking online but shes fine when people take a ball from her its just her being possessive towards other dogs
Penny Mickolick on April 05, 2020:
My dog who is 4 keeps attacking my dog who is 8 yrs old and hurting her the older dog is not fixed and the younger is. They are both females i dont know what to do
Tommy on May 21, 2019:
Article had to be written by a female.
Almost every woman I have been around, wants to neuter males. Looks like they have testicle envy instead of penis envy.
I've owned and trained dogs my entire life,(hunters) and a neutered dog us useless to me except as pet.
It is about dominance. An intact male is usually trying to establish dominance and if the others don't submit, you can have a scrap.
Gloria on March 30, 2019:
I have 2 fixed male dogs 4 &2 yrs. Always got along. Recently well go after each other to be center of someone attention especially if someone just comes home from work. The older is (15#) and younger (5#) I'm so afraid that the the little one is going to get really hurt or worse. They any other time seem to like each other in their play, sleeping and just sitting with us on the couch hanging out. We tried the ignore them both when we come in but didn't help. Any suggestions?
Barbara on December 09, 2018:
My son's dog does not listen to the warning signals my dog is giving him. My dog will turn up his lip and give several low growls, but the other dog doesn't not catch the clue and leave him alone. What can we do to teach the other dog to listen to warning signals?
Dogs attacked on September 26, 2018:
Yesterday on our walk, my 2 dogs attacked another dog who was barking viciously. They pulled the leash out of my hand. The most troubling part was an old man was knocked to the ground. I was able to pull my dogs off and I believe no one was hurt. The man got up and walked away without a word. I apologized profusely, but was unable to help him since I could not let go of my dogs. I asked the man if I could do anything and he never said a word. i do not know where he lives. I don't feel it was my dogs fault, or mine, except I couldn't hold onto them. His dog is the one who started barking. That said, it really isn't anyones fault and it is unfortunate it happened at all. Although, his dog stayed by his side and did not pull from him like mine did from me. At this point I can take 2 walks or be sure to look ahead and avoid any situation that could be bad. This man is old and he did try to move away when he saw me, but it wasn't far enough and I should have gone a different direction. We all learn from our mistakes, but what do I do now, how do I train and avoid this as I'm obviously not strong enough for 2 strong dogs who have a mission.
Amy on September 23, 2018:
My dogs is alone walker and when I was walking my dog another dog was near me dog and my dog when nice to omg let you kill you grr help please
Karin on September 17, 2018:
Our dog has always played well with other dogs lately he has been very aggressive and has attacked other dogs. This is a huge concern as we have small grandchildren
He is 2 and always has been a gentle giant now I am nervous, any thoughts
Kim on September 08, 2018:
My bitch is 3 I can’t let her off the lead as she keeps going for other dogs I can’t understand as she never used to be like that she had not been neutered but I don’t know what to do as she is not like it with the dogs she knows
Amanda on September 02, 2018:
I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT he explores by biting. It will bite and chew everything. My husband and I were thinking about taking him to 'doggy school', but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest 'doggy school' is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!
Deborah on September 02, 2018:
My springer who is female always goes out running in the park with her sister and an older dog s terrier they all love it when a dog comes near them their behaviour changes they see the dogs off when we see a dog appproaching we will put them on a lead
Shibamom on August 19, 2018:
My Shiba (1.5 yo female) bit my Bichon (10 yo female) and caused a 2 inch bite wound that needed to be sutured. I don't know what triggered it but there was a tennis ball Shiba liked and Bichon happened to be near the tennis ball. I don't think Bichon was interested in the tennis ball but Shiba went after Bichon. I also have a 12 yo male Shih Tzu. Shiba used to bully Shih Tzu but Shih Tzu is more assertive now so Shiba doesn't bother Shih Tzu. Shiba has been aggressive but she has never bitten another dog. I am concerned what I can do to improve their relationship so this won't happen. Shiba is in a crate when Bichon and Shih Tzu are free roaming. Bichon, despite the wound she suffered, can approach crated Shiba and bark once or twice but never viciously. On the other hand, Shiba gets really defensive, barking incessantly with high pitched voice. I trained them to eat in the same place (separate bowls) so there has never been a fight over the food. At this point, what would you suggest that I do to keep them get along?
Ines on June 17, 2018:
Me and my daughter recently adopted an old dog. She’s not in very good shape and has been abused in the past. She’s absolutely lovely with humans and loves my daughter to the ends of the earth, but she hates our other dog. He’s about half her age and very sweet and submissive. He has not once snapped, growled or been mean to her. But every time she smells him (she’s mostly blind and rather deaf) she immediately starts growling and trying to bite him. He runs away whenever this happens. It’s gotten so bad that he refuses to come downstairs (we blocked off upstairs because she could fall and hurt herself). We dont want him to live in fear in his own house, but every attempt we’ve made to socialize them ends with her in time out and him slinking away with his tail between his legs. What to we do!!??!! We dont want to give her away, but might have to if this persists!
Martha on April 26, 2018:
I have been dog sitting for months for a friend of my daughters and she kept saying she was going to get her but now she can't have her where she is staying and my dad does not want her here cause she is aggressive to people she does not know. She was abused years ago and I don't know what to do with her cause I am afraid if I take her to the shelter they will put her to sleep. She has been very sweet to me my mom daughter granddaughter and my 2 grandsons. But I had to gain her respect and she always have separation anxiety.
Debbie Anderson on April 07, 2018:
I got a dog and it does not like other dogs and I just do not know what to do???????????/ Can anyone help me??
Pingsmammy on February 13, 2018:
my dog walks in a pack and has been very friendly but now when a strange dog appears he attacks them ,what can I do to stop this?
Betty on January 31, 2018:
i have a 1. Yr and 3 month old toyfox terrier shelti mix. We also have his 6 month old son. Well i live in a apt. There are 4 apts totall .i opened my front door thinking my daughters boyfriend was here. But it was my next door neighbors son with his very big pittie mastiff pup who is 4 months old. Well as i opened my door my dog was attacking this other dog. THE other dog disnt fight back. ??? My dog barks alot at ppl and cats but he lives with cats and is social to other dogs . I never thought my dog would be the aggressior. The orher dog is ok. Not blood. Nothing but i felt bad? What should i do. OH I KNOW HERE IS A KEY WHY he isnt fixed yet. So can anyone help me. I know he needs to be fixed. Until then what can i do? I never thought he would do this. I think he was being territorial?
crystal subiria on January 06, 2018:
i have a 5 month old puppy and i tried to get her along with my cousins little dog and she ept barking and launching what can i do to stop it
Frank on December 28, 2017:
My daughter is moving in with her 2 year old Cane Corso. We have an 8 year old Westy that does not get along with the Cane. In fact attacks the Cane regardless of the location. Inside or outside and neutral. I can't find a trainer. If I put a muzzle on each dog will this start to solve the problem and get the Westy to not attack? Thanks
Mary on November 30, 2017:
Recently my basenji has become very aggressive toward any dog and has attacted twice I'm at wits end and dont know what to do she is 2 and will be 3 in feb please give me some advice . She has a leash but she wings out of that.HELP
Odile on November 30, 2017:
We have a 11 month old female dog, good as gold. But there is one dog in the village, when our dog sees here she goes wild with anger, we can not stop it whatever we try. What can we try???
We can also sit in a pub, it all goes well and then all of a sudden she goes ballistic!!! It sounds like a fright bark!! What to do about that???
Amber on November 17, 2017:
Please help. I have two small dogs and 2 big ones, I recently just got my second big dog and she plays with the big one, always barks at one of the small dogs but she attacks and leaves serious damage on my other little dog causing us to take her to the vet, we've tried what seems to be everything and it stopped for a little but today she attacked her again and now my hurt dog is under my bed and in a great deal of pain and I'm just so stressed cause I just don't know what to do, note shes also killed my guinea pigs but she was trying to play with them no try to hurt them
Jason on November 09, 2017:
my dog is very protective of my female dog and i think shes in heat and he will attack my other male dog any ideas on how to solve this problem
Jayney on October 27, 2017:
Does anyone know why other, friendly dogs keep advancing right up to my dog even though he is displaying abundantly clear, aggressive body language indicating that he wants them to go away?
Tj on October 11, 2017:
Please help me. I was across the street with my father and dog. A dog and a family comes along the road and my dog(a German Shepherd) charges after their dog. In complete aggression. No blood was drawn but the collar of the other dog came off. We apologized and offered to help. No one was hurt but the man was screaming at us to get our dog away— I completely understand why, but he was just standing there when he could have helped. They are pissed at us. I get it that it’s terrifying a big German Shepherd “ attacked” another dog. [ NO ONE WAS HURT NOR THE DOG]. My dog is 3 1\2 and he just can’t get along with other dogs. I really need help.....
Ann on September 29, 2017:
I am the owner of two Yorkie poos and one beagle mix. I have since found a two-month-old pitbull. I'm trying to keep him I just had him neutered but he still has it out for one of the Yorkie males . He bit him a few nights ago before he was neutered. Tonight we had a muzzle on the pitbull just to see what he would do with the Yorkie and he tried to attack me again. Thank goodness he had to muzzle him. Please advise
Tanya Williams on August 26, 2017:
My four pups fighting amongst each other, 3 months old pitbull crossed boerboel
Peyton on August 09, 2017:
I work at a dog boarding / daycare place and we had a 5 month old German sheperd come in and she is very aggressive with other dogs! The owners want her to be social with other dogs but i dont know how to make her want to be social with other dogs
Brenda on June 28, 2017:
I have a golden that is 3 years old. He was abused by his previous owner cracked over the head with something with prongs and kicked into the crate so hard he broke his tail. Anyway I love him but when another dog growls at him he attacks instantly . Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
Stacy on June 18, 2017:
I have 3 dogs, one Yorki, one chion, and one German shorthair. They all three have been buddies for many years. This afternoon the Yorki, Bella, suddenly attacked the Chion, Louie. They have been best friends for over 7 years. It is bizarre. Her tail wags but she becomes viscous and locks onto his neck. He screams. This has never happened before. We seperated them into their crates and we have tried several times to let them be together, but Bella attacks Louie. She wants to smell him first then she is on him.We had just bathed him when it happened the first time. We rebathed him in different shampoo, but she is still agressive and attacks him! She is barking aggressively at the back door to get into him. We don't know what to do. Please help!
Irene on June 01, 2017:
I have 1 yr old husky mix. She is spayed we would take her to dog park and everything was fine until at 10 months old she was attacked by another dog where the owner was not paying attention. My husband and adult son had to separate them. Now she is agressive with any dog that comes near her unless it's a small dog she gets even more agressive if there is more than one dog that comes near her st once she growls and snaps I'm so broken hearted as we are having a hard time enjoying the park any more. We thought by continually bring her she get over her fear but it's 3 mons and not getting better. Any suggestions would be appreciated
Janet on April 20, 2017:
My mother got our German Shepherd 6 years ago as a pup, and raised her as a guard dog. The dog is hostile to all dogs, and men.
Is it possible to make the dog more social? I don't like that she has no connection to any animals except for our cat that she raised as her own, and he thinks he's a dog!
amber on March 20, 2017:
Today My Chihuahua attacked my older dog.. My older dog injured by lick her paw raw my Chihuahua and Dachshund are best friends until today Chihuahua bit Dachshund's leg and wont let go my grandmother had to put my Chihuahua in kennel. HELP.
normally it gentle bites. now it got worse today. She does this when door bells rings or someone at door... We have window that you can see who's at door. She goes to attacked he housemate she grow up with.... :-(
Buddy Rowe on March 19, 2017:
We rescued a 7 year old beagle and German shepherd mix. Our issue is that she doesn't seem to like other dogs. If we don't see them before her she will take off after them. When we do find one that she seems to be calm with. She will normally show aggression very soon after they meet. Any suggestions would help.
Mike on March 19, 2017:
I have two female dogs. Both muts, recently the my older dog (which is 2 years or age) has been growling at my younger dog which is 1 year of age. My 2 year old is older and larger than my other dog, recently my 2 year old has been pushing my 1 year olds head into unbreathable surfaces for a long period of time. My one year old is now finding it hard to breathe after the scenarios. Now today i have me son on the couch with the two year old and my daughter has the one year old. The once year old comes o show affection to my son and then my two year ld starts pressing her head into the couch. About a minute later my daughter cones and my one year old is growling, once i get the dog off of her and place her on the ground she starts snarling and tries to bite her. for a period of time until she calms down the two year old is pushing my dog to the ground in a cornered wall.
It is surely is not shots, my two year old has all of them, but my one year old is just parley 13 months of age. I am taking her to get ll her shots later this week. and maybe diagnose the reason.
Linda Sjoberg on March 18, 2017:
We have a 5 yr old large male golden and 12yr. old female English Setter, if a male dog goes near the female the golden will get aggressive towards that dog at the dog park.
What to do? HELP!!!!!
Rebounder on February 18, 2017:
We have 2 male neutered shiloh shepherds ages 3 and 4 that have both been our pets since they were puppies and have an ideal relationship that includes playing together, sharing food,toys,. - 99% of the time. Our slightly younger dog, who is generally a bit less alert and observant than and accepting of the leading role of our older dog, has developed a tendancy to bite at our older dog's neck when he first sees our neighbor's dog. Our dogs have always bit softly at each other's neck and legs as part of play, but the intensity and aggression of how our younger dog lashes out at our older one for just the first several seconds after it sees our neighbor's dog is a completely different level. It almost seems that he instinctively and instantaneously gets so wound up when seeing another dog while on his home turf. Also of interest - in any setting other than our home (i.e., while on walks, etc.), he does not act in the same manner.
We would appreciate suggestions on what to do.
Jackie on February 03, 2017:
I have a chow/husky mix I've had him 8 years, 5 years ago I got a pit bull/bull mastif mix in the last year they have started getting into really bad fights. They had always gotten along great until then. My chow doesn't really like puppies or hyper dogs. When they'd get on his nerves he'd growl or get up n go lay somewhere else. My pitbull was being overly playful one day my chow growled to make him quit n my pitbull snapped n went for his throat n they were in a no Barr fight. It's happened a few times now???
John on February 03, 2017:
I have 2 Victorian Bulldogs. Father(3) Son(1). They were inseparable before. The mother came back to try for another litter & 2 days after she left these 2 got into the first fight. As the days went on more happened and the more intense and kiddy they got. The last one was really bad & bloody. Since then we have kept them separated by means of a baby gate and separate levels of the house. It has been 3 months and still nothing accomplished. We purchased muzzles for both and they still want to fight. Need help. Please, heart breaking.
Nik on January 12, 2017:
My 5 year old Parson Jack Russell was saved from an abusive home, she struggles with socialising when it comes to other dogs on many occasions. She has always had a slightly anxious disposition outside. She had 2 occasions (she made a lovely friend who we sadly never met again on a walk) and a few meetings with other dogs during walks where she has been playful and it's been lovely. But she was attacked by a staffie a while ago when she broke off her lead and ran over trying to play. We've been scared to socialise her with other dogs and she has seems to bark and growl when it comes to meeting them in the street and in passing I think it's particularly due to our anxieties but I'd love for her to socialise with other dogs, to be able to take her to the park, to the beach and have a fully fulfilled life but I don't know what to do to help her. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Brooklyn Doxie Owner on January 03, 2017:
This is such a thoughtfully written helpful article.
Thank you for sharing it.
jabXhook on December 08, 2016:
First time on this site, excuse if this is in wrong spot, sign in is a little clunky, I don't have a comment as much as a question so hope this is right place. We have a big Azorian Cattle Dog (60+#'s, intact, 7 yrs) and a small 11-pound fixed male chihuahua polmerian mix about 11 yrs old. In the last couple yrs the big do has taken to attacking the little one about once every 3 months. The attacks are vicious, but no rag-doll shaking and never any blood (?) - the concerning thing is that there's never overt warning, growling. Usually in a crowded, boisterous space like when ppl just come in the door, or over food in the kitchen. In as sense, as I write, I know what situations to avoid now, but I'm not always around, i.e., ppl come to the door, both dogs rush to the door, I'm away on business. I keep them exhaused. 2 walks per day totaling at least hr per day. Never aggression on walk/runs. Again, am seeing what I need to avoid, but also don't want to lv a stone unturned so am putting out to you, dear humans, the crowd. Thx for reading.
Confused on October 24, 2016:
I adopted a dog from the shelter three days ago. He is a year and a half old flat coated retriever and has responded well to all the people in my life and is a fast learner. He is still working on leash training and interactions with other dogs. I have kept his dog interacting only to other dogs he sees on walks and normally he just wags his tail.
Today my roommate brought home a dog from the shelter (yeah I KNOW) and my dog is NOT HAPPY about the situation and suddenly became aggressive. What can I do?
2 dog owner on October 02, 2016:
I have two dogs, a 6 yr old bichon and a 11 months old blue nose pit, both boys. I came home one afternoon and I see my bichon trying to hump the pit. I also noticed that the bichon became possessive of the pit. Whenever I would go pet my pit, the bichon will show his teeth at me and try to bite me. Wonder what the problem is?
MicahsGlass on July 27, 2016:
My 1.5yr old Pit mix River does the same thing as the Shiba when her butt gets sniffed by larger dogs that she doesn't know at the dog park. She gives plenty of warnings, but some of those big goofy dogs just don't take the hint. What do I do?! I have to be careful because she is a pit mix and that comes with it's own stereotypes to begin with. River slowly lowers her butt to the ground while snarling while her behind is being sniffed. If her bett hits the ground, she will spin around and chase off the dog while snarling, snapping and barking. I don't want her to en up attacking another dog because she is fearful... Any help would be appreciated!
Debbie on July 13, 2016:
I have to 8 month old lab mix. The male has started to stare down his sister but not in the early morning or evening. they get along very well during those times. Seems to be mid morning and afternoon. The male likes to play by himself while my female is more a social butterfly. So usually they have conflict. Sometimes the female with back down other times no. I watch them so i can break up a pending fight. Or at least I think a fight. They use to eat together not anymore. Bu my male had to food restricted then slowly introduced back to food. that is when the guarding of food started for the male. Treats have always been an issue so I supervise treats. They can do commands next to each other eat rewards next to each other but then again they are watching me not each other. I am lost as what to do. I do have an appointment with a vet behavioralist on friday. plus they to go to doggy day care 3 xs a week and no issues there, they do not even play with each other.
Bodhi on July 08, 2016:
I have a 4 year old lurcher. Outside of the home he will show aggession to all dogs, from the largest to the the smallest, to even the most friendliest of dogs. I know muzzle him on walks. However we also have another dog who is very docile who he lives quiet happily with ..... Also, he shows no aggression to any dogs that are bought to our home by friends to visit. He only shows aggression to dogs outside, even friendly ones he meets every day?? Any ideas on what is going through his head ?
nicole on June 12, 2016:
I have a 6yr old shih tzu chua hua . This last year she is showing more aggression to dogs her size. If we go to the dog park she has to be on a leash because i don't trust her with other small dogs. We have another dog, pompoo , she is fine with him and other dogs that come to our house,only on walks that she will be aggressive with other dogs her size. Not sure what to do about it, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou
Debbie W on April 07, 2016:
I have 2 collie mix dogs, we found them under our cabin and believe they were feral and maybe left behind because they were sickly. After they got better and come out from behind the couch I noticed they snap their teeth quite a bit, sometimes getting in big fights where I would throw a blanket on them to stop. They are now a year old and they are now aggressive to other dogs including puppies. One bit my daughters dogs ear, when her dog moved away and was crying the other tried to attack it twice, had I not been there to stop and push away I worry she might has seriously hurt or killed my daughters dog. Why when her dog was crying in pain and moved away from them would she go after her?
Rustly36 on November 10, 2015:
I have a 2 year old cocker and have recently introduced a 14 week old cocker pup. For 90% of the time they play really well. Mouthing, growing, rolling round with each other but it is most definitely play. However, on occasion, things get out of hand and too rough. The growling changes tone and it looks nasty, although they have never bitten each other.
Any advice please.
shibashake (author) on September 07, 2013:
For more serious cases of aggression, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer.
Some things that I do to help my dogs get along-
1. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. I supervise my dogs very well especially during play and meal-times. If there are any conflicts, I resolve them in a fair and consistent manner before things escalate into a fight.
2. I manage my dogs' excitement level by throwing in many play breaks, teaching them impulse control, and making sure they have many positive and structured outlets for their energy.
3. I create as many successful dog-to-dog interactions as I can so that my dogs learn to see my new puppy as a friend and companion, rather than as a competitor.
Here is more on what I do to help my dogs get along-
michisjourdi on August 31, 2013:
I came here hoping that I would be able to solve a problem. My mother adopted a chihuahua who needed a home. She already had about four Maltese dogs.
The chihuahua would shoulder-check the other dogs, instating dominance right away, wanting to take top place in the pecking order.
But one of the puppies, once older, decided to take him down a peg or two. Now that the puppy was an adult he began sparring with the chihuahua. Then the other dogs got in on it. It didn't used to be too bad, but now it's gotten worse.
The rest of the dogs in the house will gang up on and beat him until they are pulled off of him.
Is there any way to stop the aggressive behaviour of the rest of the pack?
Allison on August 16, 2013:
Great hub! You seem to understand dog aggression well.
shibashake (author) on January 24, 2013:
What works well with my dogs is to set-up some clear and consistent dog-to-dog interaction rules. In this way, my older dogs know exactly what to expect from puppy and vice versa. I make everything fair and consistent, and I prevent any anti-social behaviors. One important rule for my dogs is "no stealing".
During meal-times, I supervise them very closely and make sure that each dog has enough space to work on his own interactive toy. I body block them away from each other if they get too close, and in this way prevent any conflicts before they occur.
If there is any stealing, I no-mark the behavior and replace all of the stolen food and more to the victim. The thief goes to timeout right away.
However, I find that it is best to prevent the stealing from occurring in the first place, and teach them that they get rewarded more for staying calm, and working cooperatively together for me.
I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs, and teach them that they have to work for all of the things that they want, including their food. In this way, when they want food, they usually come to me and we do a short obedience session where they get rewarded well.
Here is more on what I do to keep the peace at home-
Here is more on the NILIF program -
Donna on January 24, 2013:
I have a 13 mth & a 8 mth old boxer males (both desexed at 6 mths). They get along fantastically. They sleep , play and eat together (bowls side by side, even swapping bowls halfway through) The last 2 weeks the 8 mth old has snapped about 6 times at the older dog (usually only when he is hungry or over special food). The older dog is submissive and retreats so no actual fight has occurred. We have growled at the younger dog. I want to get rid of this behaviour. What can I do? Is reprimanding the younger pup the correct thing and is there anything else I can do so that that younger pup does not learn to do this all the time.
shibashake (author) on January 14, 2013:
The problem with enclosed dog parks is that there are usually a fair number of dogs in a fairly limited space. The dogs all have very different temperaments; some want to play all the time, some want to wrestle, and some of them don't want to play at all. There is a lot of excitement, stress, and very little structure or supervision.
I used to take my Shiba Inu to the dog park, and he ended up developing a lot of bad behaviors because of his time there. He would get overly excited and start behaving badly, he would copy bad behaviors, and if confronted, he would not back down. The more he practiced those bad behaviors, the more likely he is to repeat them, so the problem only worsened with time.
Here is a bit more on our enclosed dog park experiences-
Shiba Sephy does much better in smaller and more structured play-groups. In a smaller group, I can supervise him well, and teach him positive interaction behaviors and play rules. I can also properly pick his play mates, and make sure that he learns good behaviors from them.
ach007 on January 13, 2013:
I have a mix between a Dogo Canario and a Cane Corso, he just hit "puberty" and is 9 months old. Lately when we've been to the dog park, he has ended up in fights, not been anything serious until now, but from what im reading here its probably because usually one of the dogs back down. Now today, he ended up in a fight with a Staff that came in to try and play with the male nudered dog he was playing with (been friends for long), Non of them would let go of each other when we tried to separate them. My question is if this is related to him hitting puberty and trying to establish his place? or is he aggressive? Its never been a problem in the past and he is a super relaxed dog at the dog park, its just when he meets dogs that doesn't act the way he is used to.
Ty for the help
shibashake (author) on December 07, 2012:
Dog-to-dog desensitization exercises helped with my Shiba Inu. With desensitization, we slowly help a dog to re-associate a previously negative stimulus (e.g. another dog) with positive outcomes. Desensitization also helps us train a dog to use alternate behaviors to deal with his stress and fear.
Here is more on dog-to-dog desensitization and some other things that I tried with my Shiba-
nerdbomb565 on December 06, 2012:
I have a question, my dog is Husky mix with Shepard, and my neighbor and I try to get him to play with her dogs that are just now maturing and he growls and barks at them every single time they try to play with him, but they are both very playful pups and just want to play with him. Now he's been able to do ok with one of the pups and a friend of mines husky as well, plus I adopted him and the people I got him from think he was abused and abandoned when they found him. I really don't know how to train him to stop being aggressive and I was hoping you could shed some light on that.
shibashake (author) on November 07, 2012:
Yeah, I am not a big fan of enclosed dog parks. I also took Sephy really often when he was young, and he started picking up a lot of bad habits from the dogs there. He does much better with smaller and structured play groups.
In addition, we go to much larger unenclosed parks and do hiking on trails instead.
Here is a bit more on our dog park experience-
Jeanette on November 05, 2012:
Thank you so much for this! My family & I recently adopted a male husky between the ages of one & two. He's been the sweetest most relaxed dog we've ever seen...he does have major separation anxiety while left alone so that's something we're working on...we've been taking him to our local dog park to give him play time & interaction with other dogs. Even when other dogs would growl at him he would ignore it...until this weekend. He's now trying to dominate every dog in sight & when one of them doesn't like it & growls at him he snarls. Today he actually got into a fight with a much smaller dog & almost got into another fight with a huge German shepard. He loves going to the park & whines every morning to go because it's become our routine...but I don't want him to continue this behavior...especially if it's because he's feeling uncomfortable. We have two children & two female cats & he's wonderful with them...so far...I just don't want it to escalate into aggression towards my children. Any ideas? Thank you so much again...your posts have been the most helpful so far.
shibashake (author) on September 28, 2012:
One thing that helped with my Shiba Inu's dog reactivity issues is systematic desensitization. Here is a desensitization exercise that I used to do with him-
Here are some of the things that I do to keep the peace at home with my dogs-
Getting help from a professional trainer can also be very helpful. A professional can not only identify what triggers are setting off the aggression, but also put in place a training program that not only helps our dog, but keeps us safe as well.
shibashake (author) on September 26, 2012:
I just recently got a great suggestion on this issue!
Adele suggested getting a bright vest for her dog that says "In training". That way, hopefully more people will know to stay away. I am thinking of getting something like that for Lara as well. Here is Adele's comment-
I have noticed during my walks that people are much better about giving me space when I tell them that I am in the middle of training - which I always am. :D Kindda like people know not to disturb kids when they are in the middle of their lessons.
Ashley on September 26, 2012:
I have a 2 yr old male chow and Pitt mix he's a very sweet loving dog, some people that come around he's okay with and some not. He's always been fine around other dogs at the dog park and stuff. A year ago my roommate got a male Pitt everything was fine they shared the same kennel ate together laid on each other best friends !!!!!!! Then last week they started fighting over food, my 2 year old dog was starting it they got in two big fights bleeding. We got separate kennels and put their food In different rooms. During one of the fights I got bit pretty bad and I'm scared to even get around them so we have been keeping them completely separated . I got the 2 yr old fixed yesterday and he still starts attacking the kennel when he sees the 1 yr old Pitt and they go at it through the cage. I can't even let them out around each other to try to do anything !! I need help please!!!!
Rose on September 24, 2012:
Hi! This is Rose who wrote you a few months ago about my "Chaweenie" who is very "anti-dog-social" during walks. I was re-reading your advice, which helped me again to remember it is o.k. to walk away from dog owners eager to introduce their dog with mine.
My question this time is how to deal with the HUMANS, not the dogs! Lol... Why is it that so many dog owners are intent on having their dog socialize with mine? I am getting tired of explaining my dog is not friendly. I have recently tried putting a muzzle on her, but then I have to explain to EVERY passer-by that she is friendly - to humans only. So what can I say to all these social-coordinators who seem insulted if I do not allow my dog to meet theirs? Thanks again! Rose
shibashake (author) on August 01, 2012:
Some things that have helped with my dogs-
1. Strict dog-play rules.
When I get a new dog, I teach her what these rules are so that she knows how to interact with my existing dogs and vice versa. For example, there is no humping.
I also have a three legged dog, so I do not allow my other dogs to chase her and tackle her. It is ok if she chases them, but not the other way around.
When my dog does something unacceptable, I no-mark to let her know that is it not good behavior. Then I tell her what to do instead. If she does not listen, then I stop play briefly. If she keeps going back to humping, then I put her on a brief timeout.
I have many obedience breaks during play. This teaches my dogs to focus on me even when they are excited. Play breaks also help to calm things down so that nobody gets over-excited.
3. Safe haven
There is a safe area during play - this is usually between my legs. :D When a dog comes over to me, I make sure to keep the other two away. In this way, any dog can get a break when they need one.
Here are more of the things that I do when introducing a new dog-
Vanessa M on July 30, 2012:
I have a 9 month old female pit bull and a 2 year old mastiff/pitbull mix the female plays aggressively. I know they are playing but she tends to play too tough and I don't think she understands she's hurting the male although he squeals. I'm not sure how to tame her aggressive playfulness. The male dog has scratches from their play time but, I'm afraid he will get hurt because he does continue to play with her he just seems to allow it. What should i do?
shibashake (author) on July 09, 2012:
" Is it possible for a male to be willing to fight a female?"
This is what I do at home to introduce a new dog and keep the peace-
Some of my experiences with dog dominance-
basenjimomma on July 03, 2012:
Hey Shibashake! I have a 4yr old not neutered male Basenji. I recently purchased a 1yr old female Basenji (not spayed. I purchased her to breed with my male. As of right now they both seem to be dominant. When the female wants to sniff my males butt he sits down...un-willing to allow her to do so. When he sniffs her she freezes and growls. Im afraid if I just let them do their thing they will fight. Is it possible for a male to be willing to fight a female? If they are both dominant types won't they hurt each other? When they aren't sniffing they seem to want nothing to do with each other. They ignore each other. When Im sitting on the floor petting my male (who ive had since he was 6mo) and she comes over to get attention from me he will kind of scoot away and sit down farther away from her. Any advice? My personal email you can also send advice to is storm_girl2009 at Yahoo
TheHorseTeacher from Arizona, USA on June 14, 2012:
Outstanding info and well written!
shibashake (author) on May 15, 2012:
It would be difficult to tell why a dog fight occurs, unless one is there to observe the dogs, read their body language, and view the surrounding context.
In general, when dogs fight it is usually over resources. A common resource is food, but it can also be anything else that the dogs desire including sleeping area, attention from people, access to the backyard, and much more. What were the dogs doing before the fight began? Where were the dogs? What was their body language? What was the surrounding context - were there any unexpected events, noises? What were the people doing? Was everyone relaxed? Were there any sources of stress for the people or the dogs?
Dogs can be retrained and desensitized toward their aggression triggers, however we want to first understand the cause. Once we do that, we can come up with a plan of action.
Carrie11 on May 14, 2012:
I have two German Shepherd females (sisters). They have both had dominance issues occasionally. Yesterday out of the blue they literally tried to kill one another. I'm not sure what set them off, but it wasn't over food. Everything was calm and quiet, next thing I know, they are mauling each other. We got the two separated, but we don't know what to do from there. We are not able to hire a professional dog trainer, but we would like to know why this happened and should we let one go to another home?
shibashake (author) on May 06, 2012:
Here are some of the things that help to keep the peace with my dogs-
1. I supervise play sessions very closely, especially in the beginning. There is no bullying allowed, and I have many play breaks to keep them from getting over-excited.
2. No stealing. I hand out food, toys, and other resources and they are not allowed to steal from each other. If there are any resource conflicts, I step in and handle it before there is any aggression.
3. Group obedience training. I do group training with them, and reward them very well. This teaches them that staying calm and working together gets them the most stuff.
4. A safe place to rest. When my older dogs want to rest and do not want to be bothered, I get puppy to leave them alone. I also have a fixed routine for puppy, that includes rest time so that she does not wear everyone out.
Here is more on what I do when introducing a new dog into the family-
Congratulations on your new Shiba!
TLM on May 05, 2012:
I have a 2 year old chihuahua who is teeny tiny. She's been a tad spoiled as she has been an "only child" since 4wks old when I took her home. We decided to adopt an 11 month old Shiba Inu mix from the humane society. It's not going very well. My chihuahua is very nervous and growls/nips at the Shiba when she is around her. The Shiba is a pup and quite hyper, and my Chihuahua has never been hyper. I am at a loss here. I have had many dogs and never been this stumped about how to help them get along. I am worried the Shiba will snap and attack my tiny Chihuahua. :-/ any ideas?
shibashake (author) on April 15, 2012:
When my dogs have disagreements it is usually around resources, e.g. space, attention, toys, etc.
Several things that help me keep the peace at home-
1. No stealing rule. I make sure they do not steal from each other. When there are conflicts, I step in and resolve it for them before they resort to aggression.
2. Group obedience training. I do group training with them so that they learn that being calm and working together gets them the most rewards.
3. Supervision during play. I supervise them closely when they are playing and have many play breaks. This prevents them from getting over-excited and turning play into something else.
4. Dog to dog desensitization exercises can also be helpful.
This is more of what I do with my dogs at home.
In cases of aggression, getting help from a professional trainer can also be very helpful.
Sharon Harmon on April 13, 2012:
I rescued a Shih Tzu a year ago who didn't show any signs of aggression to neighbor Westie in fact they appeared to love each other and played good all the time daily. Then, last week the Shih Tzu started viciously attacking the Westie after circling and butt sniffing. She latches on and it is almost impossible to get her off the Westie. The Westie doesn't appear to fight back and is now afraid of the Shih Tzu . What should I do. They are both neutered adult females.
shibashake (author) on April 12, 2012:
It sounds like she has learned that aggression works to keep other dogs away, so she keeps using it.
In terms of retraining the behavior, dog-to-dog desensitization exercises may help-
During retraining though, it is important to keep her on-leash during walks so that she does not practice aggressive behaviors with other dogs. This will also help to keep everyone safe.
In terms of keeping the peace at home, this is what I do with my dogs-
With dog-to-dog aggression issues, I find that getting help from a good professional trainer can be very helpful. A good trainer will be able to read the body language of our dog, and help us with timing, consistency, and a structured retraining program. A trainer can also help us to communicate clearly and accurately with our dog so that she learns quickly, and does not get confused as to what we want.
Hecate on April 10, 2012:
My boyfriends mother has two dogs. I spend a great deal of time at their home and take the dogs(one springer cross and one westie) to the beach with me on the weekend for my run. If the beach is quiet and let them of the leads and they run about with exuberance for a bit and then pretty much fall in with me as I walk and then jog. More often lately I noted that I had to distract the Springer Cross with stones when we started to approach other dogs. When they got to close, like the butt sniff, she started to almost panic and then broke into a high pitched bark to frighten them away. This mostly happened when she was in heat and then it started to become a regular thing if any dog came near her at all. Then it developed further into crouching with tale between the legs and aggressive snarling, barking and lunging for the other dogs. Now it's at it's worst, if she sees another dog on the beach she lies on all fours as though stalking, then sprints after them and does a swooping half circle in front of them, never getting to close. It's an act and she's posturing as best as I can discern. But when I see this start to happen it doesn't matter what I say or do to distract her, she will not listen. It back fired on her recently when she got to close to a dog and he attacked her back, I put her on the leash for some time straight after and repremanded her for it, but none of it made a dint, she went straight for the next dog she saw 5mins after I left her off again. At home she bullies the westie to a great degree even though they get on well, she will attack her for no reason. She is a very dominant dog. It can happen on the beach too, her exuberance gets the better of her and her playfulness becomes aggession. The attacks at home happen regularly enough, 1 to 2 times a week but always out of sight of anyone in the house. Both dogs were nutered recently which we thought would help but it hasn't improved things. She is a great dog, and is incredibly smart but I am getting to my wits end with her, and tonight I smacked her for the first time, which is something I never want to do again. I brought them out for a walk and was distracted by a friend. The dogs were slightly ahead of me when a A young boy came up to them. He growled and barked at her, she barked back, Then the boy turned back to his family, She bounded after him for a minute and for a moment I really thought she was going to bite him. I would really appreciate some guidance and advice from you as you know what you're talking about. Thanks!
shibashake (author) on March 18, 2012:
Household dogs usually fight over resources. Sometimes it could be over food or toys, but it can also be over access to people, sleeping area, attention, and more.
Here are some of the things that I do to help my dogs get along-
It may also be helpful to get a professional trainer to observe the dogs so that she can identify the actual aggression triggers. Once we identify the triggers, we can set up a plan to help desensitize our dogs to those triggers.
Jay on March 17, 2012:
Hello my to Chiauhauhs fight for no reason! My younger dog looks at my older dog and starts growling for no reason, then they attack each other vicoucly? Help please!
shibashake (author) on February 17, 2012:
With my dogs, I have noticed that conflict usually occurs over resources - for example food, sleeping area, personal space, affection, etc.
Management of resources can be helpful. For example, I hand out the food to each dog and make sure there is no stealing. When one dog wants to rest, I make sure the others do not go over to bother him. I direct them elsewhere to go to rest. Each of them also have their own crate space.
In this way, it is clear what the routine is, and what belongs to whom. It also teaches them that I am the one that manages resources and I am also the one that resolves resource conflicts. They don't have to do it themselves.
I also do group obedience sessions together, and teach them that they get the most rewards when they stay calm, and work cooperatively together for me.
All my dogs follow the same rules, and I teach them that when there is conflict, I will be the one to handle it.
Here are more of the things that I do to help my dogs get along-
punkinqtbp on February 16, 2012:
I am very worried about my pitbull. Someone had him in my area and he was very underweight and was not treated very good. I could not help but to take him home with me because I felt so bad for him. I was worried about him with my son but it was love at first sight. He is a very sweet and loving dog and sleeps in bed with my son every night. He has been going to my moms house while I am at work because he is spoiled and I do not want him to be home alone to long. My mom has four dogs and he was really close to her female lab mix. He would eat out of the same bowl, cuddle on the couch, lick each other and he would run to the door to see her. They just recently became aggressive towards each other. The first time he became aggressive when they were eating. Then he was sitting on the couch and she looked at him and they started fighting. Any advice? I am starting to hear from my mom that he is a pit and that is why he is aggressive but he is so sweet and loving. I do not think it is caused by his breed but something between them. He does not attack any of her other dogs.
shibashake (author) on February 13, 2012:
With my dogs I mostly focus on creating neutral experiences - i.e., this means making sure that they stay calm and just ignore the other dogs. I only let them meet very calm dogs that are under very good control of their owners.
When it comes to dog-to-dog socialization, I have found that it is important to set my dog up for success. I make sure to not only maximize positive encounters, but also minimize negative encounters. This will help him to build confidence and associate other dogs with something positive.
In addition, dog-to-dog desensitization exercises can also be helpful because it trains a dog to stay calm in the presence of other dogs, but in a structured and controlled way.
Here is more on my dog-to-dog experiences-
Rose on February 12, 2012:
I already know my half doxie half chi hua hua is not going to get along well with others. However, when we pass other dogs on the street, the other dog's owner invariably gets insulted when I do no allow my dog to socialize. One lady in fact yelled at me "You need to take your dog to dog school to learn how to socialize!"
Is she correct? Should I be trying everything in my power to change my dog's attitude? Or should I just keep avoiding other dogs? Btw, if I see my dog and the other face to face, I pull her away, as the face to face usually leads to my dog starting a fight.
shibashake (author) on February 08, 2012:
Congratulations on your new dog!
When I got a new puppy, my Shiba Inu did not trust her in the beginning. He did not want puppy coming near him, because he did not really know her, and was unsure of her role.
Some things that helped them get along-
1. Group obedience training sessions. This taught them that when they are calm together and work together, everybody gets rewarded.
2. Fixed routine for puppy. This makes her role clearer to the other dogs.
3. No stealing.
4. Consistent rules for everyone.
5. I also made sure that puppy did not bother the other dogs when they are uninterested in playing. Each dog should have their own space when they want it.
In general, I tried to make time together very positive. I make sure to step in and handle resource conflicts, and teach everyone that they get more as a group.
Here is more on my experiences with introducing a new dog into the pack-
Hugs to your pack!
Leslie on February 07, 2012:
I just recently adopted a year old female cocker spaniel. I have 3 other dogs in the home, hey are all chihuahua's (2 male one female) I dont understand why my "new addition to the family" doesn't like the other three dogs. When they get close to her she growls and shows teeth. I am noticing that the other three dogs are starting to try at all cost to avoid her. Will this behavior go away? How do I deal with it? She is a really great dog other than this aggression she is expressing. Please help!
shibashake (author) on January 12, 2012:
I also had some dog-to-dog reactivity issues with my Shiba Inu, Sephy. Doing dog-to-dog desensitization exercises can be helpful.
With Sephy I started small, with non-reactive dogs, and then very very slowly increased the strength of the stimulus.
Another thing that helped with Sephy is to teach him to ignore other dogs. The more neutral experiences we had with other dogs, the more calm Sephy became when he saw other dogs.
kat on January 11, 2012:
i have a three year old irish setter, who was completely fine with other dogs until he was atacked and biten by a border terrier that he used to previously play with quite happily. Since then I am noticeing more of a problem. He will now lot let other dogs come near him when on the lead, he will then launch and bark. however if I let him off the lead as the same dog approaches, he will hide and avoid.
he was happily playing with a young dog in the woods the other day. He seemed to be enjoying being chased. However when the dog caught him we had the same problem launching and barking. he has not actually biten.
This does not happen with every dog, there seem to be a few certain types that is like this with, espectally german sherpherds. It seems that as long as the dog has no real interest in him he will be fine. Anything overexcitable he doesn't like.
I had him on the long line in the front garden, whist out front with the children. The gate was closed. A lady walked by with her dog who sniffed mine through the gate. He was wagging his tail, next thing I know he has dived through the gate and onto of the poor dog!
any suggestions as to how I can solve this problem?
thank you for your time
shibashake (author) on January 09, 2012:
Dogs may show aggression toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. When addressing aggression issues with my dogs, I first identify the trigger event - i.e., what exact behavior, location, object, etc. triggers my dog's aggressive reaction. Once I have identified the trigger event, then I can come up with a plan to address it.
In terms of enclosed dog parks, they may not necessarily be the best place to teach a dog socialization skills. I used to take my Shiba Inu to enclosed dog parks, but he was learning bad habits there, getting over-excited during play, and actually becoming more reactive to other dogs. The quality of experience in a dog park depends a lot on the people who frequent the park and whether there is good supervision. Here are some of my experiences with enclosed dog parks-
KJ on January 07, 2012:
I have a Siberian husk that is now a year old and he started to show aggression toward other husky and German shepherd. I had him when he was ten weeks old. I would take him to the dog park 5 day a week to get him socialized and he was a nice dog when he was younger. now
he want to fight every dog. What can I do to prevent him from fighting.
shibashake (author) on January 05, 2012:
"We have asked the vet and some trainers that we know. "
Hmmm, what did they say?
Usually when there is aggression between two dogs, there is a trigger event. It can sometimes be difficult to see what the trigger event is, but as you say, it is usually centered around resources.
Common resources that dogs may fight over can include food and toys, as you have mentioned. They can also include space, affection, attention, sleeping area, digging area, etc.
Are there any similarities in the circumstances surrounding the attacks? Did the attacks always happen in a particular location? Was is always inside the house? Does it only happen when they are unsupervised?
When aggression situations arise with my dogs, I make sure to supervise them very closely and keep them separated when I am unable to supervise. In this way, I can carefully observe them, prevent fights from escalating, and identify the trigger event. Once I do that, I can start desensitizing them to the trigger event.
Have the trainers observed the dogs together in their home environment? What did they say?
JahMartin on January 03, 2012:
We have a German Shepherd mix and a cocker spaniel mix. Both were adopted a few years ago and have become amazing additions to our family. Recently and it seems out of nowhere our shepherd has begun to attack our spaniel. It started out with her showing aggression towards the spaniel but, as soon as we told her no she would stop. Within the past month however she has begun to physically attack our spaniel mix. They never fought over food or toys before but we decided to separate the two when doing these things in hopes that it would stop the attacks. It hasn't. Although they happen few and far between they are getting worse when they do happen. We have asked the vet and some trainers that we know. She doesn't show aggression towards any other animals or people. In fact she is very loving except towards our spaniel. What can we do?
shibashake (author) on December 27, 2011:
With Sephy, I supervised him closely whenever we were at the dog-park. If he starts with any anti-social behavior, I would non-mark him and stop play. He has to come back with me to a quiet part of the park for a mini-timeout.
This would be easier if the dog has good recall. With Sephy, I had to go and get him each time.
We don't go to enclosed dog parks anymore for a variety of reasons. Here are some of our dog park experiences.
antonija on December 26, 2011:
Hey, great article. It has really helped put my dog's behaviour into context.
I have a 1.5 year old weimaraner/lab cross and he is increasingly showing aggression towards other dogs- but mostly only in forests. As soon as he sees a dog in the forest he begins jumping around them and barking, as if he wants to send them away. Sometimes he even does this to a lone star person that might be roaming in the woods. I know this is an issue, but I am just stuck on how to resolve it. He is off leash during these hikes, which are in remote areas where there usually aren't any people/dogs. Because of his breed, he REALLY needs this exercise. When he is having these barking spells, he could care less about what we say. I really want him to just relax when he sees these dogs/people! Otherwise, he is not nearly as crazy on our sidewalk walks. He does bark at them though.
I've noticed that this has been increasingly becoming worse. Do you have any tips/suggestions you can share?
wmarschke on December 20, 2011:
I have the same experience as Danyelm. A 7 year old rot/lab mix with a new little brother. The 18 month old and the 7 year old have been going to the park together all week and all is fine. Just today, the older dog went after two dogs that he saw the younger dog playing with. He actually went into the mix to break up the play and then went after the other dogs on two separate occasions.
Any tips on breaking this behavior as it just appeared in the last 24 hours and we want to address it right away? The "little brother" can take care of himself.
shibashake (author) on December 11, 2011:
One thing I did notice with my Shiba Inu just after I got a second dog is that he was very protective of her. She is a 3-legged dog, so when we went to the park and other dogs played too rough with her, my Shiba would go and warn the other dogs away.
Was the puppy near your Rottie when you went to the park? He could be trying to protect puppy.
Another possibility is that he could view puppy as 'his' and does not want to let other dogs playing with puppy. Rotties usually have pretty strong guarding instinct.
It is difficult to say for sure unless one is there to observe the dogs and the entire context.
One possibility is to get a professional trainer to go to the park with you. In this way, the trainer can view the body language of all the dogs and can more accurately pinpoint the true triggers for the behavior.