Dogs, like humans, sometimes simply just don’t like each other. While usually friendly and social, dogs can also be prone to aggression, especially toward other dogs.
Unsocialized, badly-trained dogs are often a hazard to other dogs and even humans. If your dog has bitten or attacked another dog, you must find the reason behind the aggression. Happily, it does not mean that your dog will be put down.
In this blog post, we’ll look at all the reasons why dogs attack, the situations where the dog is at risk of being put down, and what to do about fighting dogs.
Table of Contents
When Might A Dog Be Put Down?
Typically, dogs are not put down after an attack unless the situation is proven in court as extreme. Here are situations that can lead to the euthanization of a dog:
1. Aggressive Dog
When a dog is deemed dangerous after attacking another dog then it might be euthanized. This happens when it is proven that the owner knew their dog is aggressive and allowed it to attack another dog.
This situation is referred to as extreme negligence, and if it is proven, the owner is in big trouble and might be subject to hefty fines or even jail time.
2. Dog Bites Humans
Another situation where a dog can be put down after an attack is if it is proven in a court of law that it has bitten a human being on two separate occasions. This does not necessarily apply to biting other dogs.
Local laws also play a role in whether a dog is put down or not. In addition, the dog owner’s ability to defend themselves when charges are brought up in court will determine whether or not the dog that attacked another is put down.
3. Severity Of The Attack
The severity of an attack is also considered before a dog is put down. For instance, if a dog just snapped at another and only left a few scrapes it is unlikely to be put down for the offense.
However, if the attacking dog ended up killing the other dog then the punishment could be severe and may go to the extent of euthanasia.
Why Do Dogs Attack Other Dogs?
Before figuring out how to deal with your aggressive pooch, you’ll need to find out the underlying reasons behind the attack. Dogs attack other dogs for a few reasons.
1. To establish dominance
Dogs can get extremely territorial, especially with intact males. Their instinct when they see other dogs is to establish themselves as the alpha and enjoy the benefits that come with it. In the wild, alphas enjoy privileges like getting to eat first.
While this is unlikely to be the case for most domesticated dogs, their need to establish dominance remains.
Don’t be surprised if your dog is all cute and cuddly around you and the family yet get aggressive when they spot another dog. Fortunately, this can easily be solved by training and socialization.
2. Jealousy and inability to socialize
Just like human beings, dogs can get jealous too. This typically happens when your dog is new and is still learning its environment and getting to know you.
When you bring your new dog home when you already have another dog, a fight may ensue. Again, dogs can be trained to get along with other dogs.
If you intend to bring a new pup home, make sure to introduce them in a neutral environment outdoors first before allowing the newcomer into your resident dog’s space.
While it is unfair to blame the breed, some breeds are known to be more aggressive and prone to dominant behavior.
The three top breeds responsible for the majority of bites on humans are the Pitbull Terrier, Rottweiler, and surprisingly, the Chihuahua!
4. Expressing emotion
Dogs have moods too, and your dog could just be in a doozy of a mood when he ran into the other dog. Other feelings like fear, hunger, tiredness, and pain could have also triggered your dog to attack another for seemingly no reason.
In addition, loneliness and canine depression are also common issues that are associated with an increased likelihood of your dog attacking others.
Signs Your Dog Is About To Attack
Learning their body language will teach you much about your dog’s behavior and you’ll get to spot signs of an impending attack.
1. Growling and baring teeth
Of course, the easiest way to spot an upcoming attack is when your dog is vocalizing the threat. When your dog starts growling at another dog and even baring its teeth at the dog, this should be a clear sign that they are likely to attack and you should deal with the situation immediately.
2. Raised hackles
This is another clear sign that your dog is getting ready to attack. Raised fur is limited to only the neck and back if the reason behind it is aggression. This is easily visible and is a clear indication that violence is likely to ensue.
Before dogs attack, they make eye contact and glare at the dog they are about to attack. If you notice this, break the eye contact by going in the opposite direction for example.
If you are unable to notice any of these signs and your dog attacks another dog, you can safely diffuse the situation by staying calm. If you lose your cool, it will only make the situation worse. Keep your tone calm but assertive when you tell your dog to stop and it may deescalate the situation.
You can also lift your dog’s hind legs but only do so if it is safe for you. Getting in the middle of two fighting dogs could end very badly for you!
What To Do After Your Dog Attacks Another ?
After a relatively mild dog fight, things usually calm down between the dogs and they simply carry on with life, but it can leave those who witnessed it quite shaken. The first thing you should do once the fight stops is to check on each dog.
Sometimes the fight involved mostly snarling and snapping with very little physical contact while other times there could be serious damage inflicted on both dogs.
Serious injuries can immediately be noticed but some wounds take time to bleed so your dog may seem fine immediately after the fight but 15 minutes later, it may have bled enough to stain its fur and become visible.
Adrenaline flowing from the fight may also hide the pain in your dog but with time it may start to show signs of pain like limping.
The next thing you need to do is exchange contacts and insurance information. If your dog has injured the dog it attacked, you are liable to pay for all veterinary charges that ensue from the attack.
It is also important to exchange contacts because as mentioned, a dog may seem fine after the fight but show symptoms of injury later. If you have the other person’s contact, you’ll be able to take responsibility for what your rascal of a dog did.
Finally, all dogs that have been in the attack can be taken to the vet to prevent disease transmission and obtain any necessary treatment for any injuries sustained from the fight.
If your dog was the aggressor, you should enroll it in obedience training to prevent future incidences. Some may even require a muzzle when in public places to protect other dogs and even people from sustaining injuries during an attack.
You are also liable to legal action should the attacked dog’s owner deem it fit to sue you in court. In such instances, it would be best to consult a lawyer.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Aggression With Other Dogs?
The best way to prevent a dog attack is to have a professional train your dog. Most basic dog training involves obedience training and aggression management that will greatly reduce the chances that your dog will ever attack another.
Another great way to prevent dog attacks is by sufficiently socializing your dog. However, if you have an aggressive dog, you might not be able to let your dog play off-leash.
Frequent places where your dog can interact with other dogs so it can get used to seeing other dogs and animals. It also helps to reward them when they play well with others. You might want to think about muzzling your dog though!
Dog breeds that are naturally aggressive or rescue dogs that are still in training should always be leashed and where necessary, wear a muzzle in public. This will prevent any serious injury from occurring in case the dog attacks.
Little skirmishes are natural among dogs, and many times, the fight is all terrifying snarling and snapping but no injury results.
If the attack doesn’t result in any injury, it is unlikely that your dog will be put down. However, if your dog is constantly aggressive towards other dogs, you need to consult a canine behaviorist to nip the problem in the bud immediately. In the meantime, your dog should be wearing a muzzle!