Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He also trains dogs, mostly large breeds and those that suffer from aggression problems.
Every dog owner should take dog-on-dog aggression seriously. Small dogs that become aggressive towards other dogs can be dealt with, but large dogs will tear your arm out of the socket when they lunge on the leash. They might even leave you flat on your face, struggling to hold on. So what do you do when you have a 50 kilo (110 pound) Rott mix that needs to show all the other dogs that he is boss, no matter where you happen to be walking?
Years ago, the standard method to deal with these dogs was to control them with a choke chain and give them a pop before pulling them up tight when they misbehaved. Sometimes it worked, but if the dog had been developing this behavior for years, it usually did not.
According to the dog trainer Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer from TV) all you have to do to end dog to dog aggression is establish dominance. The dog will recognize you as a leader and stop being aggressive.
I am not Cesar Millan, and since you probably are not either, this technique does not work for me. Are you going to have better luck? If it only works for him, and only on TV, what good is it to the millions of dogs suffering from dog aggression?
According to dog trainer Dr. Ian Dunbar, dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs have poor social skills and are best trained through classical conditioning. This theory allows you to teach dogs like Pavlov did. By giving treats, the dog will stop acting aggressively towards other dogs.
This article will give you some tips on which method might work best for your dog, and allow you to train your dog to get along with other dogs.
Methods to Control a Dog's Aggression
- Basic Obedience
- Use a Short Leash and Muzzle
- Classical Conditioning
1. Basic Obedience
Make sure that the dog knows the heel, sit, and down commands. You should also teach him “stay” or “lie down” and train the dog to hold his position for a long time. That impulse control will help you every day you walk the dog.
When the aggressive dog responds to his commands, walking will be a lot more pleasant. You can avoid some aggressive situations by anticipating them before they happen. When another dog approaches, for example, have your dog go into a down position and talk to him until the other dog has gone past.
Of course, if the dog comes up to him and starts a fight, your dog is likely to lose his trust in you and will not want to go into the “down” position. Obedience is important, but may not be the solution to your problem.
2. Use a Short Leash and Muzzle
Although slip collars (choke chains) have become unpopular in many dog training circles, in some cases they can still be helpful. The dog usually stops his behavior at the moment, but unfortunately does not change his basic behavior. He may stop reacting to a strange dog in the same way, but only when the leash is on.
I make my own slip collars out of soft cotton rope. They do not have the “snap” effect of a choke chain, but are easier on the dog's throat. I also recommend using a basket type (wire or silicone) muzzle. The muzzle allows the dog to open his mouth and pant when walking, and since it presses down on the dog's nose it has a calming effect in some cases. (Not all dogs need muzzles, but this is the one I have found most effective. It may prevent your dog from biting, being labelled a dangerous dog, and later being put down by animal control.)
This is not going to end the aggression issue, but it may solve a lot of your problems. When you come across another dog on your walk, just turn your dog away and walk him out of the zone so that he no longer feels threatened. If it is too far to walk away, stand in front of the dog and block his view so that he does not see the other dog.
Obedience, a slip collar and muzzle, and avoidance can all be used together. If they do not allow you to relax when walking your dog, try these other techniques.
This is a technique that forces a dog to face his fears. In this case, your dog learns to be around other dogs, finds out that nothing bad will happen to him, and becomes less sensitive to the presence of other dogs.
This method can be stressful to the dog and is not recommended if other techniques can be used.
You should only try exposing your dog-aggressive dog to another dog if that dog is not going to attack your dog-aggressive dog and fight for dominance. Allow the dogs to meet in a neutral area, and make sure you put a muzzle on the aggressive dog in case he breaks loose.
5. Classical Conditioning
When faced with a situation in which the dog feels aggressive (being approached by a dog on a leash, for example) the dog is given treats as soon as the negative behavior starts. The treats have to be something special, not given at other training sessions, and the dog comes to associate the approach of another dog with something positive. (You can also make your dog less nervous by talking calmly to him while giving treats.)
The trainers who developed this method recommend that a slip collar not be used. It also takes longer than flooding, since the dog is exposed to strange dogs for only brief periods of time until he becomes used to them, but the results are usually more long lasting.
In some areas, classes are available that will allow you to work with other dog owners facing this problem. If there is no one to help, you can try working with your dog if you have a friend available that can help.
Have your dog under control and have your friend walk by with his dog while you are giving treats. This should be repeated every day, or as often as possible, and with time the dog comes to associate the appearance of another dog with a positive stimulus.
Some dogs still have problems if faced with a loose dog, a pack of dogs, or a dog in heat. If you can find a dog training group that specializes in this technique, the results will be better.
More Methods to Control Dog-to-Dog Aggression
- Teach basic obedience commands, and reinforce them so that you can tell the dog “down” when he is becoming excited and likely to lunge.
- When the dog is “down,” and the other dog walks away without confronting him, he is more likely to be less nervous at the next encounter.
- Walk the dog with a slip collar and on a short leash, but try to stay relaxed so that the leash is not tight. Some of the Dunbar followers might not agree with the use of this collar, but it still works in some cases.
- Walk the dog with a basket muzzle. This type of muzzle allows your dog to pant and helps calm some dogs.
- Practice avoidance. When a dog comes towards you, move him away from the conflict, and stand in front of the aggressive dog to block his view.
- If obedience and avoidance do not work, try “flooding” by introducing several new dogs in a controlled situation. This will work with some dogs, but if the dog that is aggressive towards other dogs is guarding his territory or owner, this is probably not going to help.
- Try classical conditioning. This will require a dog that is willing to consume treats when another dog is in his “zone.” So, if the dog is so upset that he will not calm down, it may or may not work.
Aggression at Home
You probably already know which of the things listed in the chart above makes your dog most aggressive. Sometimes his reaction to these stimuli starts early, other times they'll develop as the dog matures and becomes territorial.
All of them can be serious, but aggression towards strange dogs met during the walk is more common and easier to put up with. An older dog that is aggressive to a new puppy in the household is one of the most difficult situations a dog owner can endure. Sometimes they get over it as the puppy gets older, but if two adult dogs fight constantly, then it is unlikely that they are going to get over their aggression issues with other dogs they meet during a walk.
Both people and dogs can be injured seriously during a fight. If you are not able to consult an animal behaviorist, you need to consider finding a new home for one of the dogs. The suggestions in this article work best when the dog's aggression is directed at dogs that are strangers.
This video gives instructions on the use of an electronic collar (a shock collar) for training a dog-aggressive dog. It is not a technique I use, and not something I list in the article above, but if you take a moment to watch this, you may choose to use this method instead of those I have found successful.
Things That Stimulate an Aggressive Reaction in Your Dog
- A barking dog behind a fence
- A dog on a leash walking towards your dog
- A dog off of the leash walking towards your dog
- A pack of dogs walking free
- A dog in heat, especially when followed by a pack of free males
- A dog walking towards you (when the aggressive dog feels dominant and protective of you, the owner)
- A dog in the same household that guards resources (food, toys, or even your time and affection)
- A dog in the same household that uses aggressive play behavior (like mounting)
Why Do Dogs Suddenly Become Aggressive?
If your dog has gone from loyal, cuddly, and cute to suddenly aggressive, there can be many reason for this sudden shift in behavior. In fact, some illnesses cause dogs to become aggressive. If your dog has never shown any sign of aggression, but suddenly begins growling, snapping, or biting, it could be caused by a disease or illness. Or, your dog may have an injury that is causing major discomfort. In some situations, a dog will smell or sense something on a stranger that triggers aggressive behavior.
What Are the Signs of an Aggressive Dog?
- Excessive low-range barking
- Growling and snapping
- Standing tall
- Holding ears erect
- Carrying tail high and moving it stiffly from side to side.
Does Training Always Work?
None of these methods are guaranteed, and in some cases nothing you do is going to work. If you try several techniques, but your efforts do not succeed, some veterinarians will dispense mood altering drugs.
I hope it does not go that far. There is nothing wrong with a dog that is aggressive. Some animals are just different. If training does not work, though, be sure to keep your dog away from others so that he does not cause any damage. Getting a second dog is not a good idea in most cases, and “play dates” and dog parks are out of the question.
Just do not give up too easily. This problem develops with time, and it will take a lot of time to train your dog. Eventually, many of these problem pets learn to get along with other dogs.
- Deborah L. Duffy, Yuying Hsu, James A. Serpell. "Breed differences in canine aggression". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
More About Your Dog
- How To Help A Dog With Food Aggression
Sometimes a food aggressive dog will be fearful, not dominant. If your dog is snarling, growling, or barking during feeding, here are some tips that might help him become a better canine citizen.
- Dog Aggression : Is It OK To Wrestle With My Dog?
If you play rough with your dog, you may have been told it will lead to biting. But does wrestling lead to aggression?
- Five Dog Breeds That Bite But Are Never Reported
Dog bites do not usually come from the list of dangerous dogs, and bites do happen a lot more often than they are reported. Find out which dogs are actually prone to bite.
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.
Questions & Answers
Question: When I brought my new dog home my pitbull seemed like she wanted to play with him but she got on top and held him down. She did not bite him. Why would this occur?
Answer: Some dogs will act this way to establish their relationship with a new dog. As long as you do not interfere they are fine--so no scolding as this is normal canine behavior and will not lead to aggression. My own Pitbull does this all the time, and as long as the dog she rolls over does not fight she never hurts the "under dog". If your new dog is submissive or subordinate all the time, and has other problems besides submitting to your Pitbull, you should read the article https://pethelpful.com/dogs/overly-submissive-dog
Question: My four-year-old Shar-Pei mix is very aggressive towards other dogs except for our other dog, but he’s fine with people. Is this something that can be corrected?
Answer: You can try all of the suggestions in the article. Some dogs do get better with time and a lot of effort. There is certainly no guarantee that anything you do will help, but it is worth your time to try everything suggested.
Question: My dog does not get along with other dogs. Recently my stepmom passed away, and my father will be moving in with us. He has two dogs. What is the best way to interact with them so that they get along?
Answer: Although I can make no guarantees as to how your dog will handle the situation, later on, the best thing to do is introduce them in a neutral location. If you bring those dogs home to your dog's territory, you will be setting the stage for a fight.
Chose a dog park or a beach. Anywhere that the dogs can be off leash is best. Try to relax. If you are very tense, your dog will notice and be tense too.
After the introduction, when you bring the other dogs home try to ignore them. If you do not your dog might become even more resentful.
Question: I have a boxer and she is friendly to people but not other dogs. She is almost 1 yrs old and I really want her to get along with other dogs. What should I do to get my boxer to be friendly toward dogs?
Answer: Not all dogs are friendly to all dogs. Some get along with only certain dogs, some do not get along with any other dogs.
I had my Pitbull/boxer cross for many years before we found a dog she liked. I was visiting a Standard Schnauzer breeder and she started playing with that dog, whereas normally she would never play with another dog. If you can give your dog a chance to meet other dogs, in a controlled situation, maybe you will find one that your dog likes. If you cannot, or if you never find a dog that she likes, you should be happy with your boxer and not upset her life by introducing another dog.
Question: I have a three-year-old black lab, a two-year-old pit-bull and a five-year-old chihuahua. We did have a five-year-old pug. Our pug passed away, but not before our pit-bull attacked her, our pit-bill has also attacked our other two dogs. All the dogs are female and fixed. Our pit-bull was the last dog we got. My question is, how do I get the pit-bull to stop attacking our other dogs, or am I better off finding her a home without other dogs in it? She is great with people, but not animals.
Answer: You can try behavioral techniques like counterconditioning but you need to consider rehoming your Pitbull. Some dog aggressive dogs ever get better.
Question: I have a seven-year-old Shih Tzu and now a puppy. My Shih Tzu runs from the puppy, and growls at her. How can I fix this?
Answer: Some adult dogs just do not like puppies. Many of them will grow out of it when the puppy is older, but do not expect them to be the best of buddies.
You can try walking them together in the mornings and evenings so that they bond a little more. This article might give you some other ideas: https://hubpages.com/dogs/my-dog-is-suddenly-aggre...
Question: I just adopted my two-year-old German Shepard. His name is Axle. He is very aggressive when he sees people he doesn't know, as well as other dogs. What can I do to change this behavior?
Answer: To help your dog get along with other dogs, you can work with the suggestions in this article.
Dogs that are human aggressive are much harder to deal with. You can help him by socializing him as much as possible, but if he does bite someone when socializing, you are going to be in a complicated legal situation.
If you do not socialize him as much as possible, he will most likely get worse.
You need to consult an animal behaviorist and have your dog evaluated. Your regular vet can suggest someone in your area that can help.
Question: We adopted a pit bull knowing that she had attacked another dog over food and taken back within two days of adopting. She was doing fine, and then our dog growled at her to leave him alone, and she attacked, drawing blood. We want to correct her behavior, and properly dog socialize her, but how can I trust her again or really know she can be helped?
Answer: I do not know how large the other dog is, but I personally would not trust her. My Pitbull has attacked other dogs as you described, and if the other dog backs down, she will then leave them alone.
You can try some of the behavioral changes in this article, and also consider consulting an animal behaviorist: https://hubpages.com/dogs/my-dog-is-suddenly-aggre...
Question: I want to adopt a senior female Akita. My seven-year-old male Akita was super territorial and wasn't having it. Do you believe he can change?
Answer: Most dogs with dog aggression do not change. If you decide to get another Akita anyway, you need to have an alternative place for her in case things do not work out.
If you want to try, here are some things to do during a fight, and some ways to help a dog get along with his housemate: https://hubpages.com/dogs/my-dog-is-suddenly-aggre...
Question: I have a female Australian Kelpie and a female Kelpie/cattle dog. The fight started when I brought the older dog inside. I've separated them and rotate them in the house and backyard, because the fights have gotten bloody. But it is not a long-term solution, and I don't know what to do, and I love them both, and don't want to rehome either dog. Please help me, what do I do?
Answer: I have seen dogs like this that are never able to get alone. If you have tried everything in the article, but nothing is working, your only two options are to leave the dogs separated all of the time, or rehome one of the dogs.
I know that this solution sucks. I have seen people cry over this. All I can tell you is that it happens to people too. Think about your worst roomate, and now imagine that the roomate also came into your bedroom each night when you were sleeping and slapped you around. That is what it is like for your dog. She is living in a terrible world, one where she can never relax.
Try everything first, of course. If you do rehome one of your dogs, you still may be able to get another dog later, but the new dog should be of the opposite sex. Your female may tend to bully him but is unlikely to attack and hurt him. That almost always happens with two males or two females.
Question: My 11-month-old Dalmatian has become aggressive towards younger and submissive dogs. He has been around a lot of dogs since we got him five months ago, but this behavior is new. Why is this happening?
Answer: Some male dogs, especially if they are neutered, will become aggressive in the way you described as they reach that age. You can call him off and "down" him so that he will calm down, but do not yell at him or hit him for his behavior. If he isn't neutered, do so. If he is not obedience trained well enough to "down," even when he is excited, you need to work on his obedience.
Question: My older Lab does not get along with my new puppy. They are okay with people. What can I do to make them get along?
Answer: You cannot make a dog like another any more than you can force two kids to like each other. The best you can do is not shower attention on your new puppy so that your older dog does not get jealous, and as the dogs spend a lot of time together, they should eventually become used to each other. As long as the Lab is not hurting the puppy, do not worry about it. The Lab will most likely put up with the puppy. He may or may not become friends.
Question: My 5-month-old dog is fine with my daughter's dog and a friends dog, but when I take him to obedience classes or introduce new dogs, he gets aggressive. How can I correct this?
Answer: You can try to "down" him as soon as the strange dog approaches to be introduced. Give him a treat at the same time. This is not going to be a fast fix, but your puppy is probably nervous about the new dogs and is fear biting, not being aggressive.
Question: My male border collie was attacked by another dog when only 6 months. Ever since then he shows aggression to other dogs. He won’t go near another dog but if the dog comes too close for him he will go for the dog. We have another dog which he shows no aggression to. He was friendly before this happened and played with other dogs. Is it possible to change this behavior?
Answer: It is sometimes possible.
Have you tried the suggestions listed in the article. The first thing is obedience training. After enrolling in classes you can also choose desensitization and counter conditioning.
In one of her book Patricia McConnell describes an aggression problem in a young Border Collie. The dog was eventually rehomed to a family that lived in an isolated location. Once his stress was relieved, his personality improved.
Change is possible, but not always a sure thing. I definitely think it is worth trying everything you can.
Question: My 11-year-old Lhasa-poo can be a little moody after I got a one-year-old female pitbull. She does well around my little guy but when she invades his private space and gets in his face, he quietly growls at her and she immediately reacts and wants to pounce on him. She hasn't bit him but when she pounces on him, she is pretty aggressive, and he is now afraid of her. How can I help them?
Answer: There are two problems here. One is the size difference, and the second is the sex difference. Since the house "belongs" to the Lhasa, he probably assumed he would be top dog. The new female would not allow that. Since she is larger and stronger, and also because she is female, she wants to control the "nest." She will probably not hurt him on purpose, but she will probably toss him on his back and hold him down. If he does not struggle, the fight will be over, although she might toss him around from time to time just to see how he responds.
If he does struggle, or he bites her, the problem will escalate. She will feel the need to toss him down almost everytime she sees him. If you interfere and scold her, it will most likely make the situation worse. She might wait until you are not around and then actually hurt him.
This is not a simple problem. When you brought the young female into the house, you changed the dynamic. If these were my dogs, I would immediately enroll them in obedience classes so that they would be more responsive to me and not take notice of each other as much. That is no guarantee. I do not know where you are located, but you can also ask your vet for a reference to an animal behaviorist that is closest to where you live. If the Lhasa mix is frail, that is your best option.
Question: I have a fourteen-month-old Yorkie mix, and he´s started attacking my older dog. How do I help them get on?
Answer: You can try classical conditioning to change the Yorkie's perception of the other dog. Whenever the two of them are in the same room as you, have the Yorkie go into a "down" position. Then, give them a treat once they are calm and not aggressive. Your dog may never like or be kind to the older dog. You should be satisfied and accept them being in the same room without fighting.
Question: I have a three-year-old Rottweiler, and a German shepherd that is one-year-old, and a local breed which is five-months-old. Then I brought two new German shepherds, a male, and a female. The male is one-year-old, while the female is nine-months-old. I want them to get along, but they are into fighting every time what should I do to make them get along?
Answer: There is not much you can do about a large pack of dogs. If your Rottie and GSD were getting along before, it is not a good idea to introduce those other GSDs.
This article ( https://pethelpful.com/dogs/my-dog-is-suddenly-agg... ) has some other suggestions that might help, but you will have to consider a new home for the newer GSDs if they are constantly fighting. If you do not, the situation will probably get worse, and your dogs will end up hurting each other.
Question: My 16-week-old Shih Poo is barking, growling, and nipping at my son's Boxer who comes to our place often. He is not aggressive with other dogs on our walks, just with the Boxer. What can I do to stop this?
Answer: Do any other dogs come to your house or is it only the Boxer? Does he feel threatened because the Boxer is invading his home, and is not aggressive with other dogs when he sees them outside his home?
If the Boxer is the only dog that comes into his home, it is possible that he is just feeling like his territory is being invaded. To stop this feeling, you need to take the Shih Poo and the Boxer out for plenty of walks together. Let them go to a dog park and play in neutral territory.
It may also help to take your puppy to your son's place a few times until the dog is used to interacting with the boxer on different grounds.
Question: My dogs have been together for years. My purebred female is suddenly attacking my other female. They are St Bernards, so that’s a lot of pounds of flailing and snarling and biting to have to separate in my kitchen! Where do I start?
Answer: Some dogs just do not get along, and your purebred may be the one that is starting the problem. You cannot relax anymore around your dogs. As soon as they are in the room together, you need to down the dogs and give them treats when they obey. This may or may not work, but you have to be consistent, and never let the dogs run around together. After a long time, the dogs will probably forget their aggression and be okay with each other.
Question: I have an 8 year old, fixed, male malamute mix, has never been aggressive. We just got a male, huskie puppy. The problem we are having is any time the pup get within a foot of the 8year old, he starts to growl, almost like telling the pup to get away from him. As the pup is getting more playful the 8 year old is starting to snarl and if the not left alone or gets to close will snap. My question is how do we get this rectified?
Answer: Do not scold your Malamute. THIS is not a problem and should not be changed. He is teaching the puppy manners. If you start showing favortism to the puppy your adult will probably end up hurting him.
Question: Is it easy to train a 4-year-old Dalmatian that comes from a rescue kennel?
Answer: It is impossible to say how the training for any individual dog is going to go, but if you want to generalize about all Dalmatians I can tell you that they can be difficult to train. They are not a kennel dog and have trouble getting along with other dogs that they are not used to, and since your new dog is older, and may have been from a rough situation, you have a lot of work on your hands.
If you are not able to handle him, I would suggest that you look into a professional trainer. Most trainers will also work with the owners so that they can train the dog at home. If your trainer is only going to work with the dog, and not with you, keep looking around.
Question: I have a five-year-old rescue Akita and have had for her two years since she was three. She is aggressive to people and animals except for the pets I already had when I brought her into our home. I've made great headway with people, but now another dog is coming to my home, and I need to integrate them. Is there a way to help my Akita accept a new dog in the house?
Answer: Your Akita may never accept the other dog so before you bring her into your home make sure you have a backup plan. Can you take the other dog back if things do not work out? To improve your chances, do your best to ignore the other dog when your Akita is around. If you show the new dog a lot of attention, you are more likely to make your Akita jealous, and she will dislike the other dog. After a few days, you will be able to evaluate how they are getting along.
Question: My nine yr old Galga is increasingly aggressive towards my other dog, and has bitten us all too. She was badly injured when rescue and I wonder if brain injury may be the cause?
Answer: I cannot tell what happened to your dog and what might be causing her current behavior. You are correct in that it may have bee a previous neurological injury.
The thing you need to do is get your dog evaluated now and find some help for her. Talk to your vet and get a reference to an animal behaviorist that works with dogs that are aggressive to humans. If your dog ends up biting someone so badly that the person suffers permanent damage, you will be at fault and go to prison. Get help now.
Question: My six German Shepherds do not get along. I have the parents and three of their offspring; one female and two males. The mother goes after her daughter, and the father and one son go after the other son. They are ok together in the house, but I can’t put them all outside together. Can this be fixed?
Answer: It is hard to tell what the dynamics are in that group without seeing them, but it sounds like the pups are becoming adults and challenging the more submissive animals in their group.
What kind of training have you done? Are you in charge? You need to spend some time in the backyard with them when you let them out. Let out the female adult (mother) and the young female. When she goes after her daughter, call her over to you, down her, and make her stay when the pup runs around. You may have to do this over and over for several days before the message sinks in. (These are intelligent dogs, so you may just need to do it a few times. The main point is that you need to stick with it.)
Repeat this with the adult male and the submissive male pup. When you are confident the adult is not jumping the young dog, let the other male join them. Do not be surprised if the adult male stops behaving. Just start over.
When all the dogs are accepting your commands, let them all out, but only if you are with them. As soon as something happens, you need to respond immediately. Not ten minutes later, not five minutes later, IMMEDIATELY.
Again, I cannot tell you how long this is going to take. If you have not already trained your dogs to sit/down/stay, that is the first step you need to take.
Question: How can I get my husky to behave once I have tried all of these?
Answer: If you have tried the methods discussed in the article, and are still having problems, the next step would be to consult an animal behaviorist in your area. Talk to your vet to find out who is available locally, and who has the best reputation.
Question: I have had a Lab/Pit mix for ten months. I recently acquired a 10-month-old Great Dane. Both are females and around the same age. When I brought the Great Dane into the house, the Lab/Pit mix was aggressive, so we put her in her kennel. How do I get my Lab/Pit mix to be nice to the Great Dane?
Answer: At this point, all you can try is classical conditioning to change the Lab's perception of the other dog. Whenever they are in the same room with you, have the Lab go into a "down" position then give her a treat once she is calm and not aggressive. Your dog may never like or be nice to the Dane. You should be satisfied and accept them being in the same room without fighting.
© 2014 Dr Mark
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 31, 2020:
Tracy, I wish I could tell you tes, but that is not always helpful. If it was over a toy it is rescource guarding behavior, and you can do more reading on that.
Best of luck with them.
Tracy Blackburn on August 29, 2020:
I need some advice..my 2yr old male intact Cane Corso has been attacking one of our male pits..it started over a toy. We have them separated now. If I get my Mastiff neutered, will that stop him from attacking? BTW.. I've had many breeds of dogs before (English Mastiffs, Doberman, Pit Bulls and a Wolf) My Cane Corso is emotional attached to me and I have been going through a lot lately
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2020:
Charl, all dogs do not get along. Your Shih tzu does not feel like these other dogs are part of her pack. You can try to walk them more, but since they live apart from her that may not be enough. You really need to keep her leashed at the camp site so that she does not injure the puppies.
Charl on July 13, 2020:
My 3year old shih tzu is so good at everything else but she’s rlly naughty when we go camping and there is our friends dogs there too and she rlly doesn’t get along with them she goes for them and so do they abs we are going at the end of the week and we rlly need to get it sorted 2 are puppies abs ones 5
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 14, 2019:
Tommi, yes, some dog trainers are worried about that. In this case you want to use the treats as a distraction, not a confirmation of the negative behavior.
Tommi Grace from Woodward on March 12, 2019:
After reading the article, I am a little concerned about giving the treat while the dog is showing negative behavior. Won't that reinforce the negative behavior?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 17, 2019:
Heather, thanks but I am semi-retired and live in Brazil. You should talk to your regular vet about finding a trainer that works with dog aggressive dogs in your area.
Heather on January 16, 2019:
I have a dog that doesn't like other dog her name is Xena and can you train my dogs
Jessie on December 23, 2018:
Hello. I have a 3 year old male pit bull Shepard mix that we've had since he was a puppy. We just bought a 6 month old female Cane corso. They played together fine then the next day he was sniffing her butt and she snapped at him. He submitted and ran away I put him in his crate were he would feel safe and she is bullying him through the crate. She stops when I tell her to come. Next week we are bringing her sister home but Im afraid that the two will gang up on him and I don't want to have to keep them separated. Do you have any tips. Thank you
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 15, 2018:
Amanda, some dogs, just like some people, will never get along. When you add a new dog to your household you have to keep in mind that the dog may need to be rehomed.
I have laid out the steps that can be taken to help a dog get along in this article. If you want to look at an article that is written more for your situation, see https://pethelpful.com/dogs/my-dog-is-suddenly-agg...
The steps are pretty much the same. I hope things work out for you all.
Amanda on November 14, 2018:
I have a male Retriever/German Shepard mix and just got a femaleGerman Shepard they are both fixed but the female keeps growling at the male and actually started fighting him the other night we got them broke apart but everytime the male comes around her she growls we use verbal,physical discipline but she still growls at him when he comes near her. What else can we do to make them get along?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 04, 2018:
Kathy, have you tried the things I suggested in the article?
Kathy Palmer on October 03, 2018:
I have a 5 year poodle and a 1 year poodle
how can I get the 5 years to not so much of a aggressive
Ella on September 17, 2018:
Hello, I have a toy poodle called Toby. He's not aggressive to other dogs when on walks, or at doggy day-care, however, when he's at home and other animals, even humans, that walk past, he starts barking at them. We decided to organise a dog play date, with an elder senior toy poodle, Jeremy, who Toby was fine with when he met Jeremy at Jeremy's owner's house. When Jeremy came over to our house though, Toby started barking and hitting Jeremy with his paw, making Jeremy being chased around by Toby. Toby is fairly obedient, so I'm not sure what is causing this. Perhaps his guarding his territory? And is there anything I can do to resolve this? Thank you!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 08, 2018:
Aayan, have you obedience trained your dog? Have you followed the suggestions in this article?
Johnny on September 07, 2018:
I have a problem. My dog can’t get along with other large dogs he is ok with small dogs but with large dogs he barks at them and fight with them. If you can solve my problem I will be so thankful of you. He is a 5 year old chihuahua. If you have any suggestions for him please tell me.
Ayaan on September 07, 2018:
My dog is a little aggressive with other dogs and he always fight and bark at them. I want my dog to get along with other dogs. So can anyone tell me how to train my dog.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 21, 2018:
Denise it certainly sounds like you have done things right so far. Some dogs just never get along. You should try the conditioning as described above. Everytime you have a minute, let your TT meet the new dog, give him a tasty treat (like a bite of chicken breast) then take him home without having to interact with the other dog. I do not know how long this will take for your dog, but at least give it several months before expecting them to be together for a long time.
Denise on August 21, 2018:
I have a 6 year old male Tibetan Terrier that has never really been around other dogs. There have been the occasional trips to PetCo and my parents will watch him when we go on vacation. He did get along great with their little 7lb fluff ball, but he has passed and now they have a new dog. We have introduced them, kind of out of my dog's territory, not in the house, far away in our yard. He sniffed, then growled and snapped. I walked away with him and went back, same reaction. Their new dog is about the same size as mine, not as hefty and a few years younger, VERY docile, he mostly sniffed and moved away.
I can't really just do avoidance with him, he needs to be his friend! Any suggestions?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 27, 2018:
Andrew, it sounds like your dog has a separation problem and not an aggression issue. You can look at https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Dog-Training-Tips-Sepa... or other sites about separation anxiety. Fair warning though: once they start a lot of dogs are not able to get over this issue no matter what you do. Rescue dogs are sometimes the worst since they are unsure you are coming home.
Andrew on March 26, 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 barks and whines A LOT… So, leaving home is always a challenge for us. 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!!!!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 09, 2018:
Nikki, have you tried the methods listed in the article? The best, for dogs that are together in an apartment or house, is classical conditioning. It may not work since some dogs never get along, and the Dane may be a bit of a bully. Has your boyfriend gone through an obedience class with her?
nikki on February 09, 2018:
My boyfriend has a black lab(male) and great dane(female). the great dane is aggressive towards other dogs. I have a golden retriever (female) who is very passive. the females are not fixed. We have tried interacting them but too much aggression as the great dane is very territorial. what can we do to help them get along as they are like our kids?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 28, 2018:
Betty, some dogs just do not get along. If you are discipling your Shih Tzu every time she is near the Chi, maybe she feels like she needs to fight while she can. If you allow her to be dominant, and allow her to push the Chi around for once, maybe the Chi will accept that she is the top dog and they will no longer fight.
This may not be acceptable to your boss. The best alternative solution is for you to give the "down" command every time the Chi comes up next to your Shih. Dogs that are down cannot fight.
If you have not obedience trained her so that she will follow this command, you need to start this first. If the dogs continue to fight despite all of this, you will need to consider rehoming the Shih or finding another position. Like I said, some dogs just do not get along. She could end up hurting the Chi and your boss will hold you responsible.
Betty on January 27, 2018:
Hello I have a six yr old shitzu and be came a live in Nanny . So my boss has a two yr old chiauau and I've been here seven month's and our dogs fight almost daily. What can i do ? I know my shitzu is aggressive and can b a bully. But I've discipline her. But she will go after the other younger dogs. Please help me with this fighting?
Stephanie on September 29, 2017:
Hello, i would like some advice. I dogsit a 10 month year old terrier he's my neighbours puppy. He has a social problem with other dogs he will bark non stop at another dog on the street or if i get too close to another dog he will try to attack. How do i get the puppy to socialize with other dogs? Thanks
Kevin on September 01, 2017:
Ok. So here's the deal, I have 5 boxers that get along great. Recently my sister has lost her house and is couch surfing because she had a drug problem, so she brought her pitbull over one day, said she'd be back and I haven't heard from her since. Now, the pitbull is sweet to people and 2 of my dogs (youngest male and his mother), but constantly goes after the oldest (male) and 2nd oldest male. And then my 5th which is a female won't tolerate him trying to mount her so she tears into him. He tries to mount all of them constantly and has ever since he was a puppy and my sister would bring him around. The thing with my oldest is, the pitbull goes after him unprovoked, I will have pitbull by collar while I let the others in the house and he lunges at my oldest. The 2nd oldest male only fights with him when he tries to mount him. But anyway, what do I do to stop him from trying to mount the others, and also to stop him from being aggressive with my oldest and to get along with the others in general? Please help I am desperate as I feel like he has been thru too much to be given up again and I also can't have him hurting any of my dogs. Please please help me.
lynnemarieh on April 24, 2017:
I have a 12 year old Coton de Tulear, Clementine, who is a sweet, loving, gentle little dog EXCEPT when it comes to sharing affection with another dog. She has never shown any aggression toward people. My sister and I live together and she had a miniature poodle that just passed away...Clementine tolerated her, but occasionally went after her when she felt her dominance was at risk. Now my sister is wanting to get another small dog and I am concerned about how to handle their meeting and the dominance issue that I know Clementine will want to push.
Javier on April 19, 2017:
I have a 5 year old female pitbull, that is pretty aggressiv towards other dogs. She has lived with 2 german shepards for three months and a mini huskey for about 4 months. She was very great with them and only tried to bite them when she wanted some alone time. Now my roommate got a male siberian husky that is also 5 years old and all my pitbull bull wants to do is go at him. The husky is super scared and doesnt want to do anything with the pitbull becasuse he doesnt want to get bit. the pitbull is very teritorial but she has never been like this when introduced to another dog this way. just looking for some ideas to get my pitbull to be friendly with this dog??
Joanne on April 07, 2017:
I adopted a beautiful 7-9 year old German Shepard from a shelter and he is wonderful with people he is so loving and can't get enough love, but I also have 3 other German Shepard's and a jack Russell. The male that I adopted is always going after my other male if we are around. If I put him outside with a muzzle on and my female helps him get out of it he's fine with all of them until he sees us then he attacks the male again. Why would he only attack when they are in the house around us or outside when he see us.
Rene on April 03, 2017:
We have a jack Russell with us for 12 years now but he cannot get along with other male dogs please help as we have moved in with family who have a pug and are afraid our jack russel will hurt him ...jack russel is male and we got him when he was 6 weeks old but this behaviour has always been there
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 01, 2017:
Leila, you did not mention her age, but if she is younger I would suggest obedience training/canine good citizen program. If she is already older, avoidance would probably be your best bet. If this is impossible, classical conditioning might help, but it might just make her used to one or two dogs. It is good to hear she is okay with people.
Leila on April 01, 2017:
Hi so i recently rescued a dog from the shelter and she perfect with the family and kids. She is an akita mix. She has been on play dates with other dogs and never seemed to have an issue. But we took her over to my grandparents house who had two dobermans and they kind of were snippy with her but never bit her. Ever since then she has seemed to be a little aggressive with dogs. Even one time she was off leash and a dog came and ran at us an i knew the dog and it wasnt aggressive but my dog lost it and attacked it. So now i keep her on leash at all times. But ever since then Dogs have ran up to her and me an she doesn't bite them but goes nuts and lunges at them when they reach us and sometimes she nips at them. She cries because she sees dogs now when we walk and wants to play and she is barking and crying not growling but she makes me so nervous I don't let her go play with them because i don't want anything to happen. She hasn't ever got aggressive with the kids or people and we rough house all the time and she lets babies crawl all over her. Just with dogs she seems to have gotten not good with. Any advice would be great!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 26, 2017:
Pat, the first thing you should do is take your Sibe to your vet to have him checked for eye problems like early cataracts, PRA, or retinal degeneration. Ask your vet if he is competent to diagnose these problems, and if not take him to a veterinary ophthamologist. It sounds a lot like he cannot identify the dogs approaching him and for that reason is becoming aggressive.
If his vision is okay, the best way to treat would be by conditioning. Ask people you know with larger dogs to come up to him, let him sniff, etc. After awhile the trauma of the encounter with the small dog might go away.
Pat on March 23, 2017:
Our Siberian Husky is turning 15, has been raised and has always been with another dog. We have 3 cats and no problems with their interactions. He was obedience trained and still obeys commands. However a few months back a situation occurred where a small dog was off leash and ran toward our Husky who was chained outside on our property. The small dog was barking and behaving like a small dog would, hopping around, exhibiting excited behavior. Since then the Hudky will lunge when meeting other dogs even in dog parks. This was never a problem before. Since then he has gone to boarding kennels without issues (per the kennel staff), walks great on leash and doesn't care if we pass other dogs, even if they are barking. The only problem now is when meeting other dogs, either on leash or dog parks. Just walking past dogs is no issue. He interacts well and normal with our Blue Heeler and no issues between them. Is there some training issue we can try? He never bites or shows aggression toward the other dogs, there is no growling, snarling, etc. However the lunging usually scares the other dogs and of course the owner. Any suggestions?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 19, 2017:
JC, one of my Pit Bulls has developed a personality like your Blue Heeler, and although she never bites she has to roll the other dog on his back to establish her dominance. Training is not going to help much in her condition, so avoidance is the only real answer. Avoid situations where she is going to get aggressive because even if she does not bite the other dogs owner might freak out when your dog tackles their dog.
Most Blue Heelers in a working situation are not aggressive but they are territorial aggressive. The other best solution is to exercise her, a lot, even before you take her out. What about a treadmill? Is that a possibility for you? She needs to be very tired all of the time.
JC on March 17, 2017:
My 3 year old female Blue Heeler has become dog to dog aggressive generally with smaller dogs. She is very well trained and immediately responds to commands. However if another dog rushes toward her or me, or our property, she attacks. She does NOT bite. She pins them down. The attacks looks and sound terrible like a violent fight however she has not yet ever inflicted any physical injury to other dogs. I understand dominance and pack order behaviour but why could it be that she is generally only like this with small dogs? I cannot trust her to be in off leash areas now. She has NEVER EVER instigated or been aggressive with other dogs, she simply minds her own business and plays. However if a dog runs up to her (even in non aggressive manner) she goes nuts. Just the other day we were at the beach and we were in the water swimming. My dog them saw a poodle over by our towels and clothes and ran 50 metres up the beach to chaise it away and go off her tree at it. She was well socialised and always around other dogs but now that she is older she generally can't stand other dogs being around her and most certainly she won't let them near me. Another point, she will always place herself between me and another dog or another person, always guarding. I don't want to muzzle her as she never instigates the trouble however I'm worried that one day she will cause harm. Any advice would be welcome.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 26, 2017:
Patty, it is very difficult to say. If your dog is very dominant, and your daughter´s dog is submissive, she may never turn around and snap your dog, which may tend to stop it. If you get in the middle trying to stop it, the dogs might just become confused about their ranking and actually become worse. Some pups will grow out of this, but at nine months I doubt it. The best thing you can do is see how the dogs live together, but you might need to rehome one of them later on.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 26, 2017:
S, no, not always. Basket muzzles have a calming effect on some dogs. Not all dogs are the same.
Patty on February 26, 2017:
my dog is 9 months old (pit terrier) now and my daughter is moving home with her pit bull 2 years old. My dog is friendly and wants to play but does the biting not just mouthing and hurts her dog, how do I get her to stop? Will she ever out grow this?
S on December 08, 2016:
A muzzle will tend to make your dog feel trapped than safe and more likely cause him to be more aggressive when taken off.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 16, 2016:
t, that mounting has nothing to do with sex, as you already know, but does have to do with his need to feel dominant. I think the only thing to do in his case is stop it at the first sign. If he is in the doggy park, for example, and mounts another dog, put the leash on him and take him home. After a few times he should understand that mounting means the end of his playtime. Good luck getting him under control.
t on November 15, 2016:
unfortunately, my chihuahua gets so excited about playing he starts mounting every dog.. from playing, to aggressive to mounting... always the end result.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 27, 2016:
Blond Logic--is the Dobie female? It usually does not happen if they are male/female, but if they are the same sex the problem is much more common. The only thing I can suggest is if you can have your caseiro walk the two of them together for at least an hour morning and evening, and if you have an area where they can run off leash together it helps some dogs get over the problem. If that does not work, you are correct in that you will need to find a home for the new or older dog. Sometimes they just do not get along, no matter what you try. Good luck with them.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on March 27, 2016:
Hi Dr. Mark,
We have had problems with our two bitches. Our doberman has attacked our older mutt, 3 times. Now this means they both are tied at opposite ends of the house. Not ideal by any measure.
The doberman has no problem with the male dog, just the female.
We are beginning to think re-homing is the only option.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 19, 2014:
Hi Rachel! I read the comments on your electric fencing hub last night (and the hub, of course) and it is good to have you back. It looks like you are really busy with your new farm.
I laughed at your comment about the kitten. I almost brought home a little rabbit yesterday, but thought of that dog-on-bunny violence. I trust my dogs with almost everything, but a bunny? No way.
Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on July 19, 2014:
Voted up and more! Important information for dog owners with dog-aggressive dogs. Now if only we could figure out how to end dog-on-kitten violence... ;) Take care!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 17, 2014:
I think "yank on the leash and tell your dog to shut up" needs to go on my "Methods" table.
Thanks for that last comment. My parrot hubs do not seem important, as least to the big G. Oh well. My bird enjoys them anyway!!!
Bob Bamberg on July 17, 2014:
Very useful article, Doc! I think the knee jerk reaction of most people, when their dogs show aggression towards others, is to yank on the leash and holler at the dog. It's so important to seek the help of a credentialed trainer. Your hub gives a lot of important detail. Voted up, useful and interesting. I don't think you've ever written a hub that isn't!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2014:
It sounds like she felt protective of you, Faith. Dominant dogs are like that, so when you were not around she probably felt enough in charge to ignore the riff-raff!
Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 13, 2014:
Useful article here. We had a Jack Russell terrier who thought she was a big dog and would become aggressive when other dogs approached us, but as long as we were not outside with her, she would just leave them be. I guess she felt she had to protect us.
Voted up and more
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2014:
DOM, you might enjoy this article about dog breeds that like cats.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2014:
Hi DOM. Thanks for sharing this. I have not seen you on here for a long time, was not sure you were still logging on to HP. I hope everything is going well for you down in Florida.
Does Sekhmet ever actually try to hurt the cats? Sometimes dogs just act up when they feel they need to monopolize the owners time, and at other times they notice a cat taking a toy, pigs ear, or other special treat and they attack the cat to get it back. There is not really much you can do about it, as some cats will do fine and defend themselves, others will run off and stimulate prey behavior in the dog, which makes her that much worse.
As your cats get older, and you want to have both dogs and cats in a household, you might want to look for a Maine Coon, a Siberian, or a Ragdoll. All three breeds are usually brave and willing to stand their ground. Most dogs will back off, but I have no idea if Sekhmet is that type or not.
In the meantime, try not to show too much favor (or give special treats) to one cat when your dog is around.
Good luck with that household!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2014:
No idea, Santosh. The most common dog in the US, at least when I lived there many years ago, is a Lab cross. That is probably what this dog is. I just downloaded the video from Youtube since it showed that technique I do not use.
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on July 13, 2014:
Great article! We have an dog that is aggressive to both other dogs and cats. Although we only have one dog for this reason, we have 6 cats which tend to stay away from the dog, but there are times when Sekhmet seems to be intolerant and starts growling. In rare instances she attacks. Any tips for this kind of aggression?
ARADHYA on July 13, 2014:
Dr Mark, It's really great and useful hub. I am facing this issue from long back "Dog to Dog aggression". I searched on net but didn't found something very useful. This was really nice.
BTW: What's the breed of the dog in your video? Looks very Similar to Pariah dogs (Specially like Bhutia)?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2014:
Thanks for reading, Santosh. I wrote this after your suggestion the other day, but once I started realized I had a lot more to say than I realized. I hope it is not too long!
ARADHYA on July 13, 2014:
Thanks for yet another great hub. Really useful info.,