Dog Training and Behavior

3 Tips How to Socialize an Aggressive Dog with Other Dogs

When you go for a walk, does your dog meet fellow dogs and react with aggression? A difficult situation for you and your dog. His aggressive behavior can have several causes: stress, traumatic experiences, and even your own behavior when walking affects how your dog treats other dogs. We'll show you how to socialize an aggressive dog with other dogs.

how to socialize an aggressive dog with other dogs

But before we talk about the “how', we need to understand the “why”.

Why is My Dog Aggressive to Other Dogs on Walks

There is an original hunting instinct in every dog. When hunting and catching, dogs release extremely high levels of happiness hormones. The hunting instinct is different depending on the character and breed.

However, the extent to which a dog is allowed to act on its instincts is decided by each dog owner. Just because a dog enjoys hunting does not mean that a dog is naturally aggressive. Quite the opposite: dogs in packs are subordinate to other dogs, treat each other with respect, and avoid disputes with unfamiliar dogs.

The causes of a dog that is aggressive towards foreign conspecifics are often due to something other than its nature. Because of their breed, some dogs are more courageous and more self-determined than animals of other dog breeds. But as a dog owner, you shape your dog's character through your educational measures.

If your dog has already learned when he was a puppy which behavior is undesirable when meeting other dogs, you may not have any problems with walking. However, you may not have raised your dog yourself since it was a puppy. It is generally possible that your dog will acquire undesirable behavior over time – there can be several reasons for this. The following factors trigger aggression in dogs:

Your dog is stressed

There is a lot going on in your life right now and your dog is feeling some of it. In fact, your mood can affect your dog's mood: your dog will notice that you are behaving differently than usual and will perceive these changes.

But other factors also trigger stress in dogs, such as lack of sleep or lack of exercise. This imbalance then becomes noticeable in your dog in the form of aggressiveness. In the same way, overstimulation can influence your dog's behavior: Do you walk in areas where there are always a lot of people and it is almost always noisy? Instead, try the quieter strolls. Children in the household must also be made aware that dogs need quiet phases.

Your dog has had bad experiences in the past

Bad experiences can leave their mark on a dog's life. If your dog has encountered a dog while walking that has frightened or even injured him, his aggressive behavior acts as a protective shield: “If you get too close, you will feel it”. Dogs from animal shelters are also often severely traumatized and reflexively react to strangers with aggressions.

Your own behavior unsettles your dog

If you yourself are afraid of other dogs attacking your dog when you go for a walk, your body language and behavior can make your dog feel uncomfortable. Your dog offsets the danger you see in other dogs with aggressive behavior.

Your dog is sick or in pain

Dogs communicate differently than humans. Your dog's body language and behavior are his means of communication. A change in his behavior can mean an expression of pain. In order to protect itself from being touched by other conspecifics, it now reacts aggressively. At home, see if your dog growls when petted and becomes aggressive towards you too. If you think he is sick or in pain, then it is necessary to go to the vet.

Lack of social behavior

Reflect on your own dog training by looking at your dog's social environment. Is your dog often alone and hardly has any dog ​​friends? Then your dog is simply overwhelmed when walking when he meets unfamiliar dogs.

Raising your own dog in isolation and keeping it away from social contacts is not species-appropriate dog training. After all, your dog learns from you what behavior is right towards other dogs – if he doesn't meet dogs, he can't learn anything.

Your dog wants to be in control

Aggression in dogs is a means of communication and is also referred to as a “means of increasing distance”. This means that a dog tries to create spatial distance by asking its counterpart to distance itself through its aggressive behavior. But especially when walking on a leash, it is only possible for the dog to express this to a limited extent, which makes it even more aggressive. His desire for control grows.

There are various areas that dogs want to be controlled, for example:

  • The territory: For dogs, “my street = my territory” applies. Extremely dominant dogs sometimes even consider the whole world to be their territory.
  • The resources: For your dog, his food, his toys and his owner are resources from which he derives pleasure. Therefore, the toy or treat in your hand or pocket will be defended by him. But your own pack or the dog owner can also be resources for your dog that he wants to protect.
    Tip: To find out if that's why your dog is aggressive, let your dog walk with another human and pay attention to their behavior.
  • The competitors: Especially unsterilized males and also bitches want to show who is in charge and has the greatest rights. This is especially felt by same-sex conspecifics.

Recognize and Prevent Aggression in Dogs at an Early Stage

Your dog won't get aggressive all of a sudden. You can see by his body language whether he is feeling uncomfortable and whether aggressive behavior may be heralding. If you can see through this, take action before he becomes aggressive.

Your dog is tense when…

  • he puts his ears up
  • he takes a rigid posture
  • his gaze is focused
  • he puts up his back fur
  • he sets up his tail (sometimes a slightly trembling tail)
  • he has his mouth slightly open and shows his teeth

If you observe this body language of your dog when meeting other dogs, you can intervene by doing the following:

  • Make sure that your dog moves away from the uncomfortable situation for him.
  • The best thing to do is to avoid conscious contact with other dogs for a while by not loosening the leash when walking and by always keeping your dog by your side.
  • If you now meet another dog, stand in front of your dog so that it does not notice it.
  • You can also distract your dog with a toy.
  • Avoid getting nervous yourself in such situations, as it unsettles your dog – show your dog that there is no reason to be afraid!

How to Socialize an Aggressive Dog with Other Dogs

1. Set norms and guidelines for behavior

Commands such as “sit”, “stay” or “down” are very helpful in controlling the dog when it meets other dogs in the street. When another dog approaches, it is time to give the order to the troubled dog to lie down; in this way, it learns to be relaxed in the presence of another animal.

The ideal thing is to get both dogs to walk together. And that the dog with the behavior problem tolerates, gradually, the relationship with other dogs on the street. If the dog associates interaction with other dogs with positive experiences, his aggressive behavior will gradually disappear.

2. Confront the problem and do not isolate the fighting dog

The fact of not facing the presence of other dogs to avoid collisions does not solve the problem. A dog that attacks other peers can also do it with its owners.

Therefore, it is advisable to take measures as soon as possible to solve the dog's behavior problem.

3. Go to a dog trainer

The aggressive behavior of the dog with other dogs is one of the situations that usually require the intervention of an expert in dog behavior.

The training of a dog with aggression problems towards other congeners can take between three and six months, depending on the case. To obtain satisfactory results, the owners have to participate actively in the education process.

When Does a Muzzle Make Sense?

If your dog has already tried to snap when it encounters another dog, consider a muzzle for the upcoming walks. When your dog responds to your commands the following times, you can remove the muzzle again.

Read also:
How to Put a Muzzle on an Aggressive Dog

If your dog's aggressive behavior doesn't go away on its own, you must actively try to find the trigger and correct the problem. Usually, the help of experts cannot be avoided. Find out about offers in dog schools, about dog training or even about dog psychologists. Tips from experts will not only help your dog but also your educational knowledge.

Conclusion

You are not alone – there are many dog ​​owners who suffer from their dog's aggressive behavior towards other dogs. It is important to recognize the cause, react in good time, and train the dog accordingly.

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