My Dog Has Problems With Aggression
Towards Other Dogs
Dog-dog aggression is one of the most common dog problems.
Treatment options depend on the reason for the aggression.
Types of Dog-Dog Aggression
The most common types of dog
Treatment of Dog Aggression
- Leash reactivity: If your dog is fine with dogs
off-leash but reacts on-leash, this is caused by excitement
that has turned to frustration.
- Fear: If your dog has never been exposed to other dogs
or was attacked, he might be afraid. Some signs of fear are
tucked tail and laid back ears, hiding behind you, only
barking when picked up or charging but running away.
- Prey: If your dog only charges small dogs, this could be
a prey response. Your dog will never be completely
trustworthy with small dogs.
- Territoriality: If your dog only fights with dogs in his
own home, this is a territorial response.
- General aggression: Just as we don't like all people,
your dog is not going to like all dogs. These dogs can be
trained not to react but they can't be trained to enjoy the
company of other dogs.
If your dog is
leash-reactive, teach him to focus. Begin with your dog in
the most quiet room of the house. Hand feed him his meals
for a month. Say "watch" and hold a piece of food to your
forehead. If he looks, give him a handful of his food.
Repeat two or three times and then say it without holding
the treat to your forehead. If he looks, reward. If not,
wait 10 to 15 seconds and then use the lure. Slowly fade out
the lure. Once he is good in the quiet room, move to a
busier room, then your yard, then the park, waiting until he
has mastered each place.
Once in the park, start at a distance where your dog will not
react and gradually move closer. If your dog reacts, walk away
abruptly but don't talk to your dog until he is calm. Make him
sit and watch. He can't learn when he's reacting so get him out
of the situation and move more slowly. Once your dog can walk
past another dog, he is finally ready to try greeting. Make sure
he is completely calm. If he reacts at all, the session is over.
If your dog is fearful, you want to pair the focus command
with a positive association. As soon as your dog sees another
dog, start giving treats and praise rapidly. Once the dog is
gone, stop. Just as with reactivity, start at a safe distance
and gradually move closer. If you want your dog to eventually
greet, start with an older, calm dog or much smaller dog once
your dog has progressed to that point.
If your dog has prey drive, teach a rock solid recall.
Practice on leash repeatedly until your dog will come every
time. Then, introduce distractions. You should be able to call
your dog off of every distraction allowing a greeting.
If your dog is territorial, teach focus and recall, but also
use a crate. Practice the focus with the dog entering. Keep your
dog on leash. If your dog can look at you without reacting, he
can stay in the room. If not, he goes in his crate or quiet
place. Don't let the guest dog disturb him. If he allows the dog
in the house, give lots of treats. If he seems interested in
greeting, drop the leash. If at any point he reacts, send him to
his quiet place.
If your dog doesn't like other dogs, don't make him greet
them unless he wants to. Use the same methods as with the
leash-reactive and fearful dog so dogs predict good things. If
his ears, eyes and tail are relaxed (not necessarily
wagging—stiff wagging is associated with aggression), allow him
to greet. Reward profusely.
With all dog aggression, it is important to keep sessions
short and positive. If your dog reacts after 30 seconds, make
the next session 15 seconds. Be patient and you will gradually
help him be a happier, healthier dog.
Using Canine Day Care
Teaching Your Dog How To Sit
Teaching Your Dog How To Come
Teaching Eye Contact
Training Your Dog to get along well with
Problem Dogs: Establishing Owner Dominance
Dog Training Tips for Aggressive Breeds
7 Ways to Calm an Aggressive Dog
How to Stop Dog Growling