Dog Suddenly Aggressive to Other Dogs in the House – Top 3 Reasons

Aggression is something that dog owners of multi-pet households may need to manage from time to time. Here are a few common reasons that may explain why a dog may suddenly become aggressive to other dogs in the house.

1. Aggressive dog is in pain

The dog that is suddenly showing aggression to other dogs in the house might be experiencing pain and discomfort. For example, the aggressor might be feeling pain in his rear-end and may sudden show aggressive behavior (e.g. growing, biting) if the other dogs approach him from behind. When inter-dog aggression occurs in the same household, one of the first things a dog owner should do is to rule out any medical conditions.

2. Aggressive dog is reaching maturity

A dog’s level of social skill and tolerance may change as he or she gets older. For example, some dogs may become less tolerant of other dogs once they reach maturity. For dogs, adulthood is typically defined as one to two years of age. These behavioral changes can happen quite abruptly. It’s not much different to the behaviors we associate with teenagers that go through puberty.

3. Food and resource-guarding aggression

Some dogs may suddenly become aggressive to other dogs in the house if they feel the need to ‘compete’ for valuable resources like food, toys, and treats. This behavior is referred to as resource-guarding. It’s quite common in multi-dog households. It can develop when one dog starts to ‘steal’ a valuable possession from another dog. The other dog will start to perceive such behaviors as a threat and go on the offensive if it happens again.

Stopping dog from being aggressive to other dogs in the house

This will depend on the cause of the aggression. As we mentioned earlier, first rule out any underlying health issues that may result in sudden aggression between dogs of the same household. Next, identify the source of the aggression (whether that be food, resource-guarding, or other factors) and use the appropriate training methods to reduce the aggressive behavior. Punishing, for example, is not the right method as it can make the situation worse.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

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