Dog Fights and Other Forms of Canine Aggression
Dog fights can be terrifying – especially when one of the pugilists is your beloved canine companion. However, aggression in dogs is common and can lead to bites and other injuries, including attacks on humans.
Dog fights can occur for many different reasons. By understanding the underlying causes, you can address the issue and keep your pet safe and well-behaved.
Begin at the Beginning
Without getting into the complete evolutionary history of canines, trust us in assuming that aggression among pack animals (like dogs) is normal. It’s how they establish hierarchy (and therefore safety) and how canids discourage outsiders from infringing on their group.
However, when it comes to domestic fur pals, the “pack” is now composed of human family members. That’s why proper training and socialization is so important.
If your pet suffers from aggression, fear is usually at the root of his or her behavior. When a dog isn’t taught how to feel confident and safe, problems with fear and anxiety can develop.
Other Causes of Aggression
There are times when lack of training isn’t the issue. Other sources of canine aggression include:
- Not being spayed or neutered (unneutered males will often fight for a female in estrus)
- A new pet is introduced too quickly
- Anxiety or phobias
- Unresolved resource guarding
- Perceived threats against the dog or owner
- History of abuse or neglect
Other times, a dog fight will erupt due to rivalry or because certain dogs just don’t get along. If your pet is the instigator of fights or aggression, we encourage you to speak to one of the staff at Schertz Animal Hospital.
How to Respond to Dog Fights
When confronted with a dog fight, your immediate reaction may be to intervene, especially if your pet is involved. However, do not insert yourself between fighting dogs. Instead, take the following steps:
- Whenever possible, stop the fight before it gets ugly. Try calling your dog and enticing him or her with a toy or treat.
- Spraying the dogs with water can sometimes startle them enough to disengage a fight and redirect your pet back to you.
- If water isn’t available, enlist the help of another person or the other dog’s owner. Grasp the hind legs of the dogs and lift up like a wheelbarrow, effectively separating their bodies.
- If you’re alone, attempt to make a lasso using a leash, and slip it around your dog’s torso near the hind legs (again, use the wheelbarrow lift technique).
- If all else fails, call your local animal control or Humane Society for assistance.
Remember, all of these scenarios are dangerous, so if your dog is at risk for fighting, take preemptive action and get professional help. If you suspect another dog is aggressive, keep your pet away from him or her.
As always, please call us with any questions or concerns.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!