5 Reasons Why a Dog Attacks another Dog for No Reason
First off, there is always a reason for a dog attacking another dog or another person. It may just seem like there isn’t, especially when your dog rarely ever shows a worrying level of aggression. Here are some situations that may get your dogs to “attack” one another.
1. Your Dog is being Playful
Dogs, specifically puppies, may look like they are attacking another dog, when in reality, they are just trying to be playful. There are certain clues that may help you determine whether your dog is fighting or playing.
- Dogs may do a “play bow” before they play with one another. The bow consists of the dogs lowering their front legs and chest, and straightening their back legs.
- Your dogs may reveal their teeth but they aren’t growling aggressively as they do so. They may lightly nip at the other dog’s ears or nose.
- Dogs will take turn playing different roles when they play with one another. For example, one dog may first chase the other before they switch roles.
2. Same-Sex Aggression
Same-sex aggression may occur among dogs, especially if they have a lower tolerance of sharing the same resource with other same-sex dogs. One research study found that female dogs were more likely to get into an aggressive situation due to same-sex aggression.
3. Your Dog was Provoked
Your dog may have finally snapped after being provoked by the other dog for a prolonged period of time. This kind of situation may occur between puppies and older dogs. The puppy could have been trying to get the older dog’s attention for play time but the older dog might not have wanted any part of it.
Dogs may also feel provoked if they feel like the other dog is trespassing his territory. This is worrying because the dogs in your household should feel as if they are one pack, and not as individuals. We recommend consulting a professional trainer if you feel the fights are caused by territorial issues.
4. Your Dog is Jealous
When dogs share the same household, they’ll eventually figure out who is above the other in terms of their pack status. If the owner starts to give the lesser-status dog more attention than the dominant dog, it may cause the dominant dog to get jealous and attack the lower-status dog.
5. Traumatic Experience
This is more likely with dogs that have been rescued or adopted. Dogs may suddenly become overly aggressive against other dogs if they recall a past experience that involved a lot of neglect and abuse (e.g. dog was rescued from a dog fighting ring).
We strongly recommend you visit a professional trainer or a pet behaviorist if the inter-dog aggression continues to be a problem between your dogs. Dog aggression doesn’t just pose a threat for the dogs involved. It also poses a threat to other dogs and humans that interact with the aggressive dogs.
You should also identify and eliminate all the stressors that are causing your dog to become aggressive. For example, if the dogs are fighting due to the confusion over their pack status then it is important for the dog owner to respect the dominant/submissive status set between the dogs.