It can be upsetting when we see our canine friends disagree with each other especially puppies. Dog and puppy aggression can be dangerous not just for themselves but also for others around them. We would love that our puppy doesn’t hate other dogs.
Even though dogs and puppies argue most of the time, they are not evil, and neither are you. Some aggression could be related to status aggression like how new puppies become slightly aggressive to older dogs in the house. This is because the puppy feels like he is going up the ranks in your home.
Inter-dog aggression usually occurs in males at around one to three years old. Having them neutered decreases the occurrence of male-male aggression. Female to female aggression usually occurs at one to three years old of age also but spaying these dogs would only make the aggression worse.
This type of aggression can cause severe injuries in your dog. Male to female aggression is usually initiated by female dogs and can also cause traumatic injuries.
How to recognize aggressive behavior
Puppies communicate with each other, so is humans. Us owners, needs to interpret and learn the signals they use to commune with each other. Dogs and puppies start to challenge each other with staring, shoving each other’s shoulders, fighting over food, etc. Some dogs also tend to snarl, bark, or growl and aim for a bite.
Top dogs or dogs with “status” tend to avoid these “meaningless little fights” for them but they could cause serious injuries if they attacked another dog.
Signals by means of various postures and gestures triggers this type of aggression. Some of these signals include direct eye contact and staring, tense body while walking, pawing the back of another dog, and many more.
Usually, aggression ends if a dog will just surrender and accept the subordination by means of lowering postures. But aggression continues if the threatened dog responded with another threatening gesture, which could end up in a serious fight.
One of the mentioned types of aggression is status-related aggression. In a series of puppies, one may feel like he’s the underdog and wants to rise up immediately on the ranks. He tends to get pushy and may show aggression to other puppies to prove his place.
Dog owners may see this as puppy jealousy and sometimes, sibling rivalry. Even little dogs tend to do this. The thing is, little dogs don’t worry about their size, since they don’t know that they’re little.
Playfighting is common even though they have some underlying tendencies for aggression. Dogs and puppies like these fight without causing hurt to each other. Their arguments may include open mouth biting, neck wrestling, and often chasing around.
Just be careful as this could be a precursor to any serious fight and you would want to observe them at first. This rarely happens though since most puppies would just love to settle on their ranks after some playful fighting.
How aggression progresses and turns dangerous
Owners tend to punish their dog for doing something wrong. This is bad, and it is improper training even for puppies. Punishments cause aggression to worsen instead of fixing it.
Increased aggression can make your dogs inflict injuries to each other when they fight, and this could be monitored seriously. Dogs should be separated whenever these serious fights started occurring.
Also, giving support to the wrong dog may also increase aggression. Most of the time, inequality in dogs’ statuses should be settled properly by the dogs themselves. Preventing them to work this out will cause the tension between these dogs to increase, and thus results to puppy and dog aggression.
Hindering the dog with the highest status from putting the new dog in place would only worsen the matter. Although there is the potentiality of injuries, sometimes light dog and puppy aggression is being intentionally displayed by the top dog to prove his place among others. This fixes the status of the other dogs in place and accepting their own status levels will reduce the fights in dogs.
Some dogs, if prevented by owners to settles their disputes, fight when their owner is out of the room or not in sight. This is a very tricky circumstance, as you can imagine your dog keeps their secret fights from you.
If this gets serious, you might notice appearances of light wounds in the ears, legs, and sometimes neck. This type of aggression may require the help of a veterinarian or a professional trainer to manage.
Prevention and treatment of aggression
Based on the situations above, you may already have an idea on how to prevent and how to respond to dog and puppy aggression. You might want to support the dog with the highest status. Most of the time, the top dog is the one who is older.
You might see the level of confidence on these dogs. Also, they usually eat first during feeding time and displays a degree of independence from the owner and other dogs. Even still, they are usually the first in line when you are giving out treats, first line to be petted, and sleeps in your bed too!
This privilege could be seen by other dogs and represent the quality of treatment given to top dogs. If you have split your dogs, the other underdogs would not be able to see this preferential treatment and fights may still continue.
Dogs and puppies are quite smart and can observe the body language of their owners and even other dogs. After a play fight or a simple dog argument with slight aggression, they would know who ‘won’ and usually stops after that.
But after a single fight, there are usually succeeding fights which should be checked if it progresses into a serious one. Do not give medications to your dogs especially if the cause of fights are their statuses. Giving medicines that help them calm could just be temporary. This does not solve the underlying issue of the dog about their status.
Observe your dog for aggression cues and social cues to other dogs. Perhaps the best solution is for the owner to fully understand and realize the gravity of dog and puppy aggression. Putting up countermeasures to provide peace in your dog kingdom will be easy once you as an owner have ample knowledge on dog aggression.