He’s never met a human he didn’t love — but other dogs are a different story. If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, it puts you both at risk; he could end up injuring someone else’s pet or become injured himself. You’ll also be liable for any damages he causes and could even be forced to make other arrangements for him if he is no longer permitted in your neighborhood or complex. The best way to avoid any of these problems is to recognize the reasons behind the aggression and help him learn more positive behaviors. The following steps can protect you both physically and financially and ensure your pet does not cause harm.
Get Him Neutered
Hormones may be to blame if your dog is over six months old and has not been neutered. He could be responding to biology and all that testosterone floating around in his system. Neutering at an early age helps, but if your dog is male and intact, neutering can reduce aggression. It is also better for his health, since he will be less likely to stray from home in search of females and less likely to enter other dogs’ territories, triggering potential fights and problems.
Visit the Vet
If your dog is already neutered or is female, then a trip to our office can help rule out any underlying conditions that could be causing the aggression. According to PetMD, some illnesses and injury can cause a dog to be less tolerant of others can could lead to lashing out. A female that is expecting a litter or recently delivered may temporarily be aggressive to other animals as well; spotting the signs of pregnancy and giving her the space she needs to feel safe can prevent her from acting aggressively towards other pets.
Invest in Training
Once you rule out a physical or medical issue, the problem is likely behavioral. A session with a trainer can help you discover the cause of the aggression (it is often fear, territory or even food), so you can prevent situations that put your dog in this state of mind. Regular training can also help your dog modify his behavior and socialize, allowing him to respond to other pups in a more positive way.
Recognizing that your dog is acting aggressively towards other dogs is an important first step, as is understanding that even a very small dog can cause problems if he is aggressive towards other animals. Once you spot the signs, get him the help he needs so you both can navigate the world safely. Not sure what you are seeing? Stop by for an appointment with one of our vets; we can help you determine the best next steps for you both.