How To Stop Dog Aggression Permanently! ULTIMATE Guide
My dog HATED the new dog next door! Anytime my neighbor’s dog would be out back in “his yard” my dog would lose his mind and lunge at the chain link fence that separated them.
When it first happened, I thought he was just trying to play…
Because they would run up and down the fence line, barking and such “nothing about it seemed aggressive”.
That was until I noticed that my dog’s nose was bleeding… Not from being bit but from sticking his snout inside the chain link fence trying to bite the other dog!
Throughout this article you will learn about the following…
- Fearful dog aggression
- Dominant dog aggression
- How to stop dog aggression
- How to calm an aggressive dog
- How to socialize an aggressive dog
Hello, there! My name is Sara and today I wanted to share with you how I trained my German Shepherd to stop being aggressive towards other dogs! But before we get started I want to give you a little background on how this situation came to be.
We moved into our home about 5 years ago and have had Zeus for about 3 years now.
During the summer and fall months we like to spend most of our free time in the back yard. If we aren’t just relaxing with Zeus we are entertaining family and friends.
BBQ’s are the highlight of our summer, Zeus absolutely loves it and is always the life of the party.
He really loves people, he even loved our old neighbors and was sad when they moved away.
A Dark Turn
The new family that moved in had a Husky, and that’s when everything changed.
When Zeus first meet the other dog, through the fence it was the normal standoff sniff session that you see at your local dog park time and time again. Then it was running and barking constantly, which quickly turned into full on aggression!
I first noticed the aggressive behavior because Zeus had blood on the bridge of his nose and his skin was all scrapped up.
I paid closer attention to his actions, and it came apparent that he was literally trying to bite the Husky through the fence.
This was very surprising and concerning to me, because Zeus has always been friendly to other dogs. But for some reason the Husky made him snap!
“I’ll cover why he became aggressive later on in the article”.
Zeus was 3 years old at this point, and I thought it was very odd for him to become aggressive this late in his life. Regardless the reason, he was now considered an aggressive dog and I couldn’t risk him harming anyone.
My first course of action was to put Zeus in some type of aggressive dog behavior training program, but everything I found didn’t match up with my work schedule and quite frankly was really expensive.
The only place we found that would work with our work schedules was about a 30-minute drive from where we lived.
My husband and I were not thrilled about the drive but knew we needed to do this before something happened that we would regret.
“I was really dreading that long drive, so I decided to look for one last solution before our commitment.”
I jumped on Facebook and joined a few Facebook groups in hopes that someone could help me out. I posted my story and it immediately started getting comments and feedback from the community!
One lady suggested an online dog training course that A LOT of the members had used and found great success with.
I had never heard of online dog training, but I was willing to try anything at this point.
She shared a link to the website this dog training course was on and curiosity got the best of me…
I figured I had nothing to lose but everything to gain, so I checked it out!
I was sent to the home page of the course where I was able to watch an introductory video, the video blew my mind! Everything the trainer was saying made perfect sense, you can watch the video here to see what I mean.
I tried one of the free tricks he teaches in the introductory video and it actually worked on Zeus!
Never Looking Back
I became a believer that very moment and immediately bought the course! Fast forward a few years I still couldn’t be any happier about my purchase to this day.
I immediately canceled the appointment I had with the other dog trainer place that was 30 minutes away!
For legal reasons I cannot show you everything in the course, you’ll have to go to the site and try it out for yourself. Fear not because I’ll still be covering what I learned and some awesome tips that worked on Zeus that you can try right away.
7 tips to PERMANENTLY fix your dog’s aggression.
The number one thing you always want to be doing no matter what when it comes to dog aggression is to listen to your dog!
Your dog will ALWAYS give you signs, the problem is that people just over look them or excuse them altogether. You cannot afford to do either of those when it comes to dog-on-dog aggression. Or any type of aggression for that matter!
Dogs act aggressively towards other dogs for many reasons
- They might be over-excited
- They might be over protective
- They might be extremely curious
- They might feel violated, because their space has been invaded
- They might feel afraid
- They might feel they need to dominate the other dog
Dog aggression is one of hardest dog behaviors to figure out because they are so many triggers including false ones! Like when you think your dog is being aggressive, but they are just super hyped up and being wild!
“Some dogs are very vocal and rough”.
It is very important that we understand what our dogs are truly feeling, and what they are trying to accomplish.
When Zeus meets new dogs, he is observed very thoroughly for any aggression tendencies along with the other dog. It is very important that you pay close attention to both dog’s actions the entire encounter.
At the very first sign of aggression, stress or irritation you should step in and interrupt the meeting before the situation escalates.
Like I said before dog aggression can be caused by a multitude of things, the list I provided was a very short synopsis of what can cause dog-on-dog aggression.
1. Remain Calm Around Your Dog
You might be aware of this or you might not, but dogs are very sensitive especially when it comes to positive and negative energy. Meaning that depending on what sort of mood you are in can determine what sort of mood your dog is in.
Remember that free trick I was talking about in the program? Well this is the one that I tried on Zeus!
I am generally a very high energy emotional person…
Dogs pick up on our emotions and whatever emotion we are projecting they will reflect it with even more intensity.
Sometimes we might not even be conscious of feeling this way, it could be something as simple as feeling nervous, stressed or depressed.
Your dog will notice and adjust their behavior accordingly!
I tried to make it my mission to be as calm and Zen like around Zeus as possible to see if he would improve and guess what… He did! It was amazing to see the difference it made with his overall demeanor. He wasn’t always raring to go, go, go full of energy.
Did you know…
So many people make the mistake of tensing up when their dog meets another dog for the first time. The fear of not knowing what their dog might do projects a very negative energy.
By feeling this way, they have opened the gate for their dog to pick up on the fear and to react to it the same way! Which is a sure-fire way to trigger aggression towards the other dog.
Stay calm, relax and breath! Keep your dog’s leash loose when they are meeting other dogs for the first time.
The last thing you want to be doing is adding extra emotions to the mix.
If your dog starts to show signs of aggression or lunges forward do not jerk them straight backwards. This will only encourage them to keep going after the other dog.
Instead redirect them by pulling the leash to the side while walking past the other dog.
2. Teach Your Dog Avoidance
They’re two types of dog owners and two types of dogs and they both fall into the exact same boat!
You have social dog owners that want their dog to meet every dog they see. Then you have owners that stay to themselves and keep on walking.
The same goes for dogs, you have dogs that mind their own business and keep walking and then you have dogs that want to meet every dog they see.
Which type of dog owner are you?
I am one of those dog owners that stay in their own lane and mind my own business. Generally, when I see another dog I do not feel an urge for my dog to meet them.
How To Teach Your Dog Avoidance
Do Not Make Eye Contact
The most effective way to accomplish this is to not make any eye contact what so ever! Which means no eye contact with your dog, the other dog or their owner…
This will passively teach your dog to not confront other dogs or people and to mind their own business. Simply keep your eyes forward and keep on walking, if you have trouble with eye contact wear a pair of sunglasses.
Do Not Crowd Your Dog
When a dog feels trapped, they panic! Which sometimes leads to aggression. Dogs do not have hands to push people or other dogs away, they have teeth.
Even if your dog is not aiming to bite the other dog, it is their way of saying “Hey back up”.
You can avoid this situation by making sure that your dog is not trapped between you and another dog. Always walk your dog on the opposite side of the incoming dog.
If at any point your dog still seems agitated just create space between them and the other dog.
Do Not Let Your Dog Obsess
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have seen this happen! This is a mistake that far too many dog owners make…
Have you ever seen a dog owner holding onto their dog for dear life? While their dog is fixated on another? I am sure you have…
Dog obsession is when a dog is obsessed with an object. Generally, this happens when a dog sees another dog or animal….
This is a very clear signal that aggression could be brewing up inside your dog!
You should never allow your dog to stay fixated on something for more than 20 seconds. It is a very bad behavior that you should not condone.
Do whatever you can to reclaim your dog’s attention! Treats, toys and commands work wonders in these situations.
If you do not have any of those at your disposal then move your dog as far away from the distraction as you can!
Do not challenge the other dog! This is a good way to get bitten or to start a dog fight. Just move your dog along and ignore the other dog, if you need to go a different route then do so. Do NOT stare the other dog down or confront them in any way.
3. Create Space or Block The Other Dog
There are countless ways to create space, such as moving across the road or into a drive way so that the other dog can pass.
In extreme cases you can move your dog behind barriers, such as walls, bushes, trees, cars etc.… Your main goal is to get your dog’s eyes off the other dog.
Personally, I prefer the walk by method, that is where you just keep walking without stopping. This gives your dog zero time to obsess or feel crowded.
Do not turn around and walk the opposite way…
- This is a bad idea because you might meet another dog walking the way you just came from. This can lead to you being boxed in and your dog feeling like they are trapped.
- This is a bad idea because you now have the other dog following you… This will lead to your dog constantly looking back and or pulling you backwards to get to the other dog.
4. Socialize Your Dog
By passing by other dogs all day every day you will eventually create a scenario where your dog just ignores other dogs all together because they know nothing interesting happens.
We still want our dogs to be dogs “just nice dogs!” Which means we want to be creating as many neutral dog-to-dog events as we possibly can.
These neutral dog greetings are an extremely effective way to build your dog’s confidence and through repetition, they will eventually learn how to behave correctly around other dogs.
If at any time during a meeting your dog becomes agitated simply intervene and create space.
Over time they will learn to be calm around other dogs and play nicely instead of feeling the need to be aggressive.
These neutral experiences were exactly what Zeus needed!
5. Be The Pack Leader
As a dog owner you are the protector not your dog! YOU should always be the pack leader!
Your dog looks to you for guidance and safety.
When dogs feel threatened they become aggressive. If you are a strong leader, your dog will never feel this way.
I recommend keeping your dog away from people and dogs with negative energy! If you are able to sense negative energy, so can your dog…
The best way to go about this is to greet them with a quick “hi” and keep moving.
If you have someone that wants to stop you completely simply tell them your dog does not do good with strangers and tell them, you have to be on your way.
6. Introducing A New Dog To An Aggressive Dog
Dogs do not have the best track record of being patient, so it is best for everyone to keep greetings short and sweet.
This is especially important when meeting new dogs for the first time.
How do you keep greetings short?
Allow the two to meet, sniff each other etc.… Wait no longer than 5 minutes. I recommend keeping greetings in the range of about 2 – 3 minutes “the quicker the better”.
If your dog doesn’t want to budge from the spot, then you have waited far too long! You may have interrupt your dog and reclaim his attention before moving along.
Get out before they start to obsess over the other dog. Always reward your dog with a treat or praise for a job well done!
7. Dog Aggression Signs
This is one of the most important tips when it comes to dog aggression. You MUST be able to read your dog’s body language.
Your dog will ALWAYS have a look, stance or demeanor about them especially when they are agitated, stressed, scared or in a highly aggressive state.
Some dogs will give off very visual signs such as standing up hair, ears, and tail. Others might strut around, where others might not make direct eye contact but choose to look at another dog sideways.
It is up to you to determine what your dog’s body language means.
If you are unsure about a dog greeting, just wave and keep moving. It is better to be safe than sorry.
How Fast Does It Take For Dog-on-Dog Aggression Training To Work?
You shouldn’t expect to cure your dog’s aggression over night or in a week’s time. Dog aggression training takes time, dedication and hard work.
The more you practice with your dog the better he will be with other dogs. It is up to you to teach your dog how to behave around other dogs.
As the weeks go by, your dog will become accustomed to the new rules and experiences. They will mature, gain confidence and be ridden of their dog-to-dog aggression tendencies.
Make sure to always praise your dog for a job well done, especially when they freely engage in avoidance maneuvers around other dogs.
What If Your Dogs Aggression Doesn’t Stop?
If you have attempted to follow the suggested tips and still have dog-on-dog aggression issues, then it’s time to pull in professional help.
That doesn’t mean you need to go out and find a local dog trainer and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars.
I was able to fully train Zeus with very little issues, everything went so smoothly all thinks to the online dog trainer.
Zeus now gets along with the neighbor’s dog just fine, half the time he wonders around the back yard without even paying attention to him.
They still like to get their fence running in, and sometimes we will arrange for them to play together and they have not had any issues.
Now I have a well-behaved German Shepard that is calm and friendly with other dogs.
Hopefully the training tips I covered in the article were enough to get you started on solving your dog’s behavioral issues.
If you feel like you need further guidance, with clear step by step instructions I would highly suggest checking out.
Doggy Dan has everything you will need and more to solve your dog’s aggression problem.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment!
Have a great day and good luck!
Your dog should enjoy their training, and so should you! So, no matter how you decide to train your dog, make sure they are having a positive experience!
“Dog aggression is very dangerous, the last thing you want is for your dog to harm another dog or someone else. Don’t wait until it’s too late… not only could you face fines, but your dog could be put down.”