Recently I had several people send me e-mails asking why their dogs appeared to be aggressive around other dogs. There are several reasons why this can happen. Here are some of the most common reasons.
Lack of socialization with other dogs. In some cases a dog may act aggressively around other dogs because it has not been properly socialized around other dogs. Dogs have an etiquette or way of behaving with each other that they learn from the time they are puppies. If your dog has not spent much time around other dogs then he may not know the correct way to behave around other dogs. He may not read canine body language well or he may think other dogs are being aggressive or offensive when they’re not. This is a common problem with dogs that aren’t well-socialized when they’re young. The period of critical socialization is from birth to 12 weeks.
A fearful dog may be trying to keep another dog away. If your dog has a timid or fearful temperament then he could become aggressive around other dogs to try to keep them away. It doesn’t matter how big or imposing he is, he might feel scared when he meets some new dog. This could make him feel like he has to show some aggression to try to scare the other dog away. Fearful dogs are sometimes more prone to biting people, too.
An untrained, poorly-behaved dog could be aggressive simply because of a lack of manners. He may be young, for example, and lunges at every dog he sees. He hasn’t been taught that this is not proper behavior.
Some dogs behave aggressively because they think they need to protect their owners from other dogs. Some breeds are more protective than others but this is not good behavior. In this case the dog feels like he “owns” his person, or that his person is needing protecting. More than anything, practicing the 4 simple principles of CALM leadership as taught in Baxter & Bella’s Puppy Prepared Workbook & the Dog Pro Secrets Masterclasses will help turn this common misconception around quickly in your dog’s mind.
In all of these cases, training and socialization can help the dog overcome problems with dog-on-dog aggression. With proper training your dog can learn how to be around other dogs without looking like Cujo the killer dog. Check out the many resources available through Baxter & Bella at www.baxterandbella.com.