Aggression against another dog is very common. Many people think that some aggression between dogs that are unfamiliar with each other is inevitable and cannot be prevented, but this isn’t always the case. It is important to know what steps you can take to prevent such encounters. Read on to find out what steps you can take to stop dog aggression!
Being Aware of Aggression Triggers
There are some dogs, such as Spitz-type adult dogs, that may naturally look and appear more dominant which may, in turn, instigate other dogs to respond in a similarly aggressive way resulting in conflicts or fights. Thus, being aware of aggression triggers is of great importance and if you are ever unsure about a greeting, it is sometimes safer to move on from it.
Creating Space or Blocking the Other Dog
Creating space or blocking your dog’s view can help distract them and avoid a confrontational encounter. One way would be to create space and quickly move past the other dog as if you simply wait for the other dog to pass, your dog may obsess during that time. By gently tugging on your dog’s leash, your dog will effectively have less time to stare and react.
Creating Neutral Experiences
Consistently creating neutral meeting experiences between your dog and another dog whilst on walks will boost your dog’s confidence. It can teach your dog how to avoid and move along rather than getting over-excited, agitated, or confrontational in the presence of another dog. This can be achieved by trying to end the walk once you notice your dog becoming agitated.
Keeping Greetings with Other Owners and Dogs Short
When meeting another dog or their owners whilst you’re out on walks, it is important to positively interrupt your dog and get him to refocus on you as many times as necessary to prevent your dog from getting over-excited and losing control of himself. The key to successfully interrupting your dog is to do it early before your dog starts to obsess on another dog, object, or person and to keep all greetings short.
Desensitize Your Dog to Other Dogs
Lastly, you could desensitize your dog to other dogs by training in a quiet and closed environment and starting with a weak version of the problem stimulus (i.e., meeting with another dog) such as by using distance to weaken your dog’s reactivity toward other dogs.
For example, you could take your dog far away from another dog so that he remains calm and is still able to listen to you. Try calling your dog’s name or asking it to do a simple command such as “sit”, and if they comply, praise, and treat them.
How Long Does It Take to Stop Dog Aggression?
As with any type of training, training your dog to become less aggressive toward other dogs will take time but perseverance is the key. However, if your dog’s aggression does not improve over time, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian, as another possibility is that your dog could have an underlying medical condition affecting his mood.