why do dogs attack other dogs

Why Do Dogs Attack Other Dogs?

“Why do dogs attack other dogs?” is a common question of dog owners. An aggressive attack from an otherwise very friendly and playful dog leaves everyone in shock.

In this article, we are going to discuss different reasons why dogs attack other dogs. We’ll also discuss some points that can help you avoid aggression and consequent dog attacks.

Dogs can be unpredictable like other animals at times. They play fighting games which is usually harmless but you can tell the difference if they are fighting for real. Attacks in dogs are caused by aggression an aggressive behavior can be frightening if it becomes a pattern.

Some people believe aggression in dogs can’t be avoided while others believe it can be controlled through behavioral training. The answer is that dog aggression can be triggered by many factors like fear, dominance, or lack of exercise and it can be avoided.

dog wants to attack another dog

Why Do Dogs Attack Other Dogs

There can be many reasons why dogs attack other dogs. The most common ones are discussed below.

  • Sometimes, if a dog attacks another dog, it can be due to the past trauma when he was attacked himself. Such incidents affect dogs and may leave them mentally traumatized for life. In such case, dogs are more likely to develop negative behaviors and attack other dogs.
  • If the dog is frightened and feels he is in danger, he can attack other dogs as a defensive mechanism.
  • Dogs might take out their frustration in the form of aggressiveness if they can’t get access to something they want, especially when they are confined for a long period of time.
  • Dogs are usually possessive of their belongings like toys, food, or other accessories. If other dogs approach their things, they may attack them.
  • Some situations like pain or illness can also trigger aggression in dogs. Because pain or injuries cause discomfort and affect the behavior of a dog.
  • If a dog has never attacked another dog before, but he is feeling threatened by one, he might end up fighting.
  • In some cases, a mental disorder can also provoke unreasonable aggression and fighting in dogs.
  • Some dogs show aggressive behavior because they want to dominate other dogs. And if their space is being violated, they can easily get into attack mode.
  • Some dogs show predatory aggression and they might prey on smaller dogs or cats. In this case, they may attack them without warning.
  • If a dog is jealous of another dog, he may attack him to gain your attention and love.
  • If a dog owner neglects his canine friend, it can induce aggressive behavior in him and he may become aggressive to evacuate his frustration.
  • Dogs that have not socialized when they were a puppy are likely to develop an aggressive behavior with other dogs when they grow up.
  • If dogs do not have a proper physical activity routine, it will have a negative impact on their behavior which ultimately leads to aggression. Attacking other dogs is one of the most common expression of aggressive behavior.

aggressive dog attacks another dog

Signs When a Dog is About to Attack Other Dogs

You cannot predict when a dog is going to attack another one exactly but there are some behavioral indications which you need to look out for. The degree of aggression varies from one dog to another depending on the upbringing.

There are a lot of ways to help avoid such situations and one is to look for signs carefully. But you should not misinterpret their fear or any other health issue with an intend to attack.

Growling and snarling are the most apparent signs a dog shows when he is about to attack other dogs.

If a dog is gazing at other dogs for a long time, then he may be about to attack them. It is best to dismiss them from that situation.

If a dog is looking nervous with the signs of trembling, shaking, or stiff body posture, he may be frightened by other dogs and he could attack them. This can result in a nasty fight encounter.

Feelings of fear, aggression and stress can raise the fur on a dog’s neck which is sometimes seen as a sign of an incoming attack.

dogs engaged in a nasty fight

Aggressive Behavior of Dogs

Attacking other dogs is the expression of an harmful, destructive and hostile behavior of a dog. Some dogs will be aggressive in certain conditions only while others will not show any pattern whatsoever.

Aggressive behavior does not make a dog bad but it is important to seek help if the behavior is repetitive. For some dogs, aggressive behavior is a natural way of communicating.

Sometimes it can be dangerous for other dogs. Every dog is different in his aggression pattern.

There are a few other reasons why a dog may attack another one that do not stem from an underlying aggressive behavior.

  • Your dog may attack other dogs with an intent to protect you from them. Although you may not be in danger, your dog may misinterpret the situation and attack other dogs.
  • Some dogs are leash aggressive as well. If a dog is friendly and well behaved without the leash and shows bad behavior when you put on a leash onto him, this is because he does not like being restrained.

dogs fighting

How To Prevent a Dog from Attacking Other Dogs?

If you see certain signs of your dog showing aggressive behavior towards other dogs there are some ways to prevent it. You cannot completely eradicate the behavior but you can somehow prevent it and hopefully avoid unwanted consequences.

  • It is best if you do not take your dog to places such as dog parks where things can easily get out of control.
  • Distracting your dog with a treat or toy when he shows any signs of aggression is also a good way to avoid the attack.
  • Do not unleash your dog if your dog is growling or barking in an aggressive manner.
  • Watch your dog’s behavior carefully. Avoid whatever situation can trigger aggression in him. It can be a place, an object, a person or an animal.
  • Sometimes dogs are pushed to the limits due to certain environments or some kind of behavior around them. And they show that aggressive behavior towards other dogs as a result.
  • You should socialize your dog socialize at a young age to prevent them from having an aggressive behavior.
  • Reward-based training or positive reinforcement training of your dog helps the development of proper behavior in him and reduces the likelihood of any type of aggression.
  • Teaching your dog commands like ‘sit’ ‘stay’ etc. during training can help with their aggressive behavior because you will be helping them controlling their emotions.
  • Never leave your dog unguarded with other dogs who you are not familiar with.
  • Watch out for warning signs of aggression. Get away from a situation where your dog’s body language is showing any kind of discomfort or unease.

Being the owner of an aggressive dog can be difficult sometimes. You should always keep an eye on your dog and his environment for potential triggers of aggression.

Take precautionary measures carefully, to prevent aggression and attack between the dogs.

If the situation is getting out of hand, it can be stressful for the dog owner but you must gain control.

As a dog owner, you should always take responsibility of your dog. You should consult a veterinarian if this behavior becomes more important and repetitive.

reasons for dogs fighting

What To Do If You See Your Dog Being Attacked by Another Dog?

If your dog is being attacked by another one, do not scream or panic. The solution is to pay attention to details and act quickly and carefully.

  • Do not kick or punch the dog.
  • You can distract the dog by throwing away some objects to divert their attention.
  • If you have a dog treat or some food, throw it away so the dog gets attracted to it.
  • Put a barrier between them to stop them from fighting.

If your dog got injured from the attack you should seek medical attention immediately. Take him to the vet and makes sure he gets a complete physical examination.

Now that you know why do dogs attack other dogs and how to prevent such situation you can protect your canine friend and other dogs at the same time.