Can Dog Training Help if Your Dog is Attacking Other Dogs
By Jason Wright
June 8, 2023
If you have a dog that shows aggression towards other dogs, it can be a challenging and distressing problem. From barking to biting and pulling on the leash, dog aggression is a serious problem that must be promptly addressed to prevent other dogs, people, or even yourself and your family from getting hurt.
It is essential to address this behaviour effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog and others in your community. As a pet owner, this responsibility falls on you to make the necessary changes so that no accident or incident occurs.
Fortunately, with the right approach and dog training techniques, you can help modify your dog's behaviour and mitigate the risk of dog-on-dog aggression. By remaining consistent and working with your dog daily, you can understand why they exhibit aggressive behaviour towards other dogs and work with them to correct their behaviour and prevent such attacks.
Understanding the Causes of Dog-to-Dog Aggression:
As a pet owner, you're probably curious about what may cause your dog to be aggressive or triggered by other dogs. Several factors can contribute to dog-on-dog aggression.
The key item is to identify the underlying causes as to why your pet, in particular, is triggered. This can help inform your training approach and increase your chances of success. Here are some common reasons why dogs may exhibit aggression toward other dogs:
- Fear and Anxiety: Dogs may display aggressive behaviour as a defence mechanism when they feel threatened or afraid. Past traumatic experiences, inadequate socialization, or a lack of confidence can contribute to this fear-based aggression.
- Resource Guarding: Dogs that perceive other dogs as a threat to their possessions, such as food, toys, or territory, may react aggressively to protect what they consider theirs.
- Lack of Socialization: Insufficient exposure to other dogs during the critical socialization period can lead to fear, anxiety, and aggression toward unfamiliar dogs. In addition, improper socialization can play a role here. Bringing your pet to an uncontrolled area to socialize them, such as an off-leash park, can lead to improper socialization or fear and anxiety within your pet, causing them to become aggressive. This is why we never recommend bringing your dog into an uncontrolled environment.
- Dominance and Pack Hierarchy: Dogs with a strong desire for dominance may display aggressive behaviour to establish or maintain their perceived position within a social hierarchy.
Dog Training Techniques and Tools to Address Aggression
Addressing aggression in dogs requires a thorough, consistent and patient approach. Effective training techniques and appropriate tools can help modify your dog's behaviour and reduce the risk of aggressive encounters with other dogs.
However, like with any dog training, it is essential that you understand and have a clear plan as to how to work with your dog. If not, the behaviour could worsen, or unforeseen accidents and mistakes can occur. If you are unsure how to work with or train your pet, contact an experienced professional.
- 4-Quadrant Training: Employing the four quadrants of operational training will provide you with a balanced training approach. The 4-quadrants include; positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. Using this technique, you can safely and effectively teach your pet that certain behaviours have positive or negative reactions, helping to set boundaries, establish commands and work with them on their aggression.
- Counterconditioning and Desensitization: Gradual exposure to other dogs in controlled environments, combined with positive reinforcement, can help desensitize and counter-condition your dog's negative response. This process should start at a distance where your dog remains calm and gradually decrease the distance over time. One thing to keep in mind is that this technique needs to be done in a safe and controlled environment and should be done with someone who has experience, such as a professional. Conducting this technique at a dog park or while walking may worsen the situation.
- Obedience Training: Teaching your dog basic obedience commands like "sit," "stay," “look,” and "leave it" can provide you with the means to redirect their attention and manage potentially aggressive situations. If your dog gets triggered easily, it is a good idea to bring their training back to the basics, as obedience training establishes a clear communication channel between you and your dog, facilitating better control in challenging situations. Another good training technique to work with them on is threshold commands as well.
- Controlled Socialization: Introducing your dog to well-behaved, friendly dogs in controlled settings, such as obedience classes or structured playdates, can help them develop positive associations with other dogs and improve their social skills. Again, leash-free or dog parks are not the correct settings to work with your pet.
- Use an E-Collar: When dealing with a dog that displays aggressive tendencies toward other dogs, utilizing an E-Collar during walks can provide an added layer of training and safety. Also, proper leash training and a sturdy leash can help you control your dog's movements and prevent potential confrontations or accidents. For more information on how an E-Collar can be properly and safely used, check out our full blog post here.
The iTK9 Way; Dealing with Dog Aggression
Dealing with a dog that attacks other dogs requires patience, consistency, and applying proven training techniques. This is not a behaviour that your dog will change overnight.
If you're struggling to work with your pet to change their behaviour and deal with their aggression, our trained professionals can help. They fully commit to working with them through behaviour, obedience training, and continued learning safely and effectively.
We do the hard work for you to attain a happy home and a healthy relationship with your pet.
Included in all of our programs are the following;
- In-Person Learning: Midway progress training video, two go-home lessons.
- Online Learning: Owner education course, instructional training videos, iTK9 member community, e-books & additional training resources.
- Owner Support: Photo updates of your dog training with our team and access to our team for questions & support.