Dog on Dog Aggression

Dog on dog aggression


Dogs, like humans, are social animals. They naturally want to see other dogs, smell them and play with them. Why then do some dogs act like they don’t like other dogs?

Socializing while young

Usually, the main problem causing dog aggression is that, when a dog was very young, she did not get enough play time with other dogs. Maybe she was sick and quarantined, maybe you hoped your older dog would socialize her, or perhaps her prior owners never took her out of her own yard. Just like a child who never learned how to “play nice” with other children, your dog now lacks social skills. As a puppy, she might have just shied away from other dogs but now, as an adult, she is trying to stand on her own and defend herself from an uncomfortable situation. So, she’s growled or snapped or lunged. And, guess what? It worked. The other dog and dog owner backed off. Lesson learned! It’s good to bark at other dogs.

Bad experiences

Sometimes, even though she had some good socialization, your dog was a little shy. If she didn’t get enough confidence around other dogs and get taught how to properly interact (by humans and/or other dogs), she could decide other dogs are not a good thing. Or maybe one day, another dog attacked her at the park and scared her very badly. Maybe she got frustrated by being on a leash and she wasn’t allowed to greet other dogs when she wanted, so she started showing aggression.

How we are affected

So naturally we, as owners, are embarrassed. We now cringe at the sight of another dog because we know what’s going to happen. Our stomachs drop, we cross the street, we turn around, we walk our dog late at night when no one else is around. But, when we cringe, we’re letting our dog know something is wrong. We set our dog on high alert. Now she has to protect her scared owner as well as herself. The cycle is getting created and getting worse.

How to stop it

We live in a dense area. We cannot avoid other dogs forever, and we shouldn’t have to. Our dogs should be happy to meet other dogs and we should all be relaxed and happy when out on our walks. When you work with SF Dog Connect, you’ll learn how to change your reaction as well as your dog’s so that you both become more comfortable and confident around other dogs. At a minimum, you’ll be able to pass other dogs on walks without a meltdown. And, if that goes well, we’ll move on to learning how to properly greet & sniff other dogs. Some people wish to continue and get their dogs out playing at the dog park. We’ll help you figure how to set your goals and expectations during our first lesson and then guide you to where you want to be. You envision it. Together, we’ll make it happen.


We are the SF Bay Area’s experts in dog aggression.   Schedule an appointment today!


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