Let’s start with some simple terminology
A dog fight is serious—
The dogs involved have serious intentions to hurt or kill the other dog.
A dog argument—
Much more common, and they look a lot like a dog fight. Often the dogs are up on their hind legs, and their teeth are smashing together. Plenty of noise, but it looks and sounds a lot worse than it actually is.
A dog pins another dog on the ground in an effort to control the other dog. It’s extremely rare that the dog who was pinned will be hurt. The desire is to subdue and control them, not to hurt them.
Running in hot—
The majority of scuffles between dogs happen because one or both of the dogs run into the social situation with too much energy and presence. They often go in with good intentions, however, one dog finds the other dogs to be toxic, and a scuffle will result.
Socialization is not a right, it’s a privilege.
I suggest some basic rules in Dog/Dog socialization:
The greeting is very important. Have your dog meet with humility. They should meet new dogs by greeting them from behind and then moving to the head/neck area to smell.
Dogs should never steal things from other dogs unless they have a long term relationship with them, and it’s been ok in the past. Dogs stealing from other dogs is the largest contributing factor to serious dog fights, many dogs each year die because owners do not heed this advice.
Do not allow humping or excessive barking. This can easily start a fight.
Always watch resources. (Bones, Sticks, Food, Treats, WATER, Toys, People)
These rules apply to your dog and other people’s dogs. So you will not only have to correct your dog for being a jerk, but block other people’s dogs if they are taking advantage of your dog. Never be afraid to leave the park if there is a dog present who is a jerk who is owned by an owner who just sits around and lets things happen without taking action.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone to leash their dog if it’s out of control or you can walk away from a park if people will not take your dog’s safety seriously.
Avoid allowing other off-leash dogs access to approach your dog when your dog is on a leash. One dog on, and one dog off is a recipe for conflict and frustration.
If your dog can’t go to the park without being a jerk, he/she has not earned that right. Take them to a fenced-in area to exercise them, and keep them around from other dogs until you can have them properly trained.
If you need help navigating the stormy seas of socializing your dog, give us a call.