How to Stop Dog on Dog Aggression

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 28, 2023

stop dog on dog aggression

For this Santa Monica in-home dog training session we worked with Australian Shepherd Deckard, sharing tips to stop dog on dog aggression.

We started the session by going over a number of dog behavior fundamentals; marker words, the importance of celebrating desired behaviors, how to teach dog manners, dog body language, mental enrichmond exercises, dog consent as well as some creative exercise tips like Cookie in the Corner.

Throughout the session Deckard was picking up toys and bringing them to us and trying to get into my bag. I attributed this to him being bored / under exercised. Australian Shepherds are very hearty dogs and they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation if you want to avoid unwanted or nuisance dog behaviors.

Although his guardians were getting him a good deal of exercise, it’s likely not enough. I recommended that they start incorporating games of fetch, introducing a snuffle mat for meal time, start playing some scent games and perhaps even teaching Deckard to dogski.

How to Stop Dog on Dog Aggression

After going over all of the fundamentals in the home, we headed out to walk around the neighborhood and see if we could encounter a few dogs. In a perfect world, it would be better to practice these steps to stop dog on dog aggression in a park or large open area that is not quite as busy as this section of Santa Monica. It was OK for our initial session as time was on the short side, but the guardians will probably have more success if they go to a location like Clover Park to practice.

Stopping dog on dog aggression is all about changing the dog’s emotional response to other dogs. Often in urban environments, we manage our dogs in ways that actually makes them anxious or anticipate conflict. For example, to dogs, a front facing approach is interpreted as confrontational, but that’s something that occurs all the time when you’re walking on the sidewalk. When dogs are uncomfortable, they often move away. But if you walk a dog on a short leash, that limits thier ability to do so. As dogs have a fight or flight response, this can often cause a dog to act aggressive as part of their fight response.

Additionally, urban environments have a lot of traffic, some background noises that can cause anxiety and stress and chokepoints where the dog is trapped in close quarters near another dog. These are all scenarios that can lead a dog to act out in what we perceive as aggression. But in reality, the dog is most likely acting that way to try to just make the other dog go away.

I knew that in order to stop Deckard from being reactive to other dogs, we needed to change his emotional response. I recruited the help of a few dogs in the neighborhood so that I could show the guardians how to help Decherd practice being around other dogs without acting aggresisve to them. And after each positive interaction, we rewarded Deckard with a treat to help him feel good about what happened.

If you have a dog with dog on dog aggression or reactivity, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

By creating a situation where Deckerd was far enough away from the other dog to not feel threatened, we were able to help him practice not acting aggressive. I know that sounds odd, but dogs have to practice everything we want them to do. Simply put, the more positive experiences he has around other dogs without reacting, the less reactive he will be in the future.

During this process, it’s important for the guardians to try to manage his environment so that he is not in close proximity with another dog that may cause him to act reactive. If this happens, he’s essentially practicing their behavior we don’t want. When it comes to dog behavior modification, your goal is to help the dog practice the desired behavior often while you limit their access to situations that will cause them to practice the unwanted behavior.

After a couple of months, this new behavior starts to take hold. But in order to do this, the guardians will need to practice with a variety of dogs and go at Deckard’s pace. If you want to stop a dog with dog on dog aggression, it takes time and positive practice.

After we shot the above video of tips to stop dog aggression, we were able to enlist the help of another dog in the neighborhood. I was able to coach both guardians up through this exercise until they were getting the same results.

I made sure to let them know that dog behavior modification is not a linear process. There will be ups and downs. It’s also important for them to manage the situation properly. If a dog is more excited or has a characteristic that Deckard is reactive to, they will probably need to adjust their distance and move further away. Dogs that dont act out or offer attributes that he does not react to can probably be practiced at a closer distance. But each dog and situation will be unique.

We headed back to Deckard’s home so that I could finish up the session with his guardians. To help them remember all of the dog behavior secrets we shared in this in-home Santa Monica dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success summary video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr