“My dog isn’t getting along with other dogs. What can I do?”

 By: Sara Hogle, DVM use sh

           Inter-dog aggression occurs when a dog is overly aggressive toward dogs in the same household and/or unfamiliar dogs. Inter-dog aggression occurs much more frequently between intact (not spayed or neutered) dogs and is generally more of a problem between dogs of the same gender. There are a number of reasons for aggression to occur between dogs including lack of or Boxing frenchielimited socialization especially when the dog was a puppy, a previous traumatic encounter with another dog, inappropriate training/interactions with the owner, wanting to protect territory/resources (food guarding) or social status (dominance), a painful condition (leading to guarding behavior), and very commonly, fear or lack of confidence. 
          Initially, inter-dog aggression may be addressed by avoiding situations that encourage aggressive behavior to occur. Behavior modification also plays a very important role in resolving inter-dog aggressive tendencies. For example, a dog may be trained to sit and relax during exposure to other unknown dogs or situations that historically elicited aggressive behavior and treats provided as a fearaggressionreward. It will also be beneficial to slowly condition the dog to not fear other unknown dogs, by gradually exposing the dog to other dogs in public and always keeping the safety of all dogs as a top priority. There are no medications that specifically address inter-dog aggression but given that fear and anxiety can play a major role in this behavioral problem, sometimes medications that help to address fear and anxiety can be helpful in managing the problem. 
            Finally, it is important to understand that behavioral modification techniques, limiting of risky behaviors and interactions, and medications if found helpful, need to be implemented for the life of the dog. Even if there is a prolonged period of time without an aggressive incident, the potential risk still remains.
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