Have you ever thought about getting two dogs and how cool it would be for them to become best buds and do all sorts and types of clumsy and cute things together, like all the videos you see on social media?
We have to admit that it is super cute and just melts our hearts, and can turn any rough day upside-down. But wait, what if getting two dogs is a bad idea? If so, how could it be a bad idea?
Well, imagine if you are caught in a dog fight, where both of your pet dogs are going at it, and you’re afraid of what to do.
One wrong move could result in you getting seriously hurt because the dogs will not stop as the anger and adrenaline overpowers their judgment, and things can escalate very easily in heated situations.
So, what would the right step be in this situation, and what is the right way to stop dogs from fighting?
This article aims to inform you about this topic, how and just why dogs might fight, and the possible ways to break those fights.
We will also discover if there are any psychological or medical reasons behind this pent-up aggression. So, without further ado, let’s find out what causes dogs to fight.
There can be many reasons two dogs can start fighting, even those dogs who used to get along for a while and are now friends who turned into foes. There can be a reason why a new dog joining the family requires a little bit of time to adjust to the new environment and the house itself.
That includes all the family members living in the house and the new objects, surfaces and things to interact with in the house as well.
If you have a pet at home, a new pet will also require some time to get used to them. A known fact for dog fights to start is because of an increase of stress in the dog’s life.
Listed below are a few reasons why dogs might start fighting out of nowhere:
To Establish dominance and hierarchy
It is a way of nature, where you can say animals are of the mindset they are born with, where male dogs and female dogs have a hierarchy, which can begin to exist in our homes, too, if we have dogs that are of the same sex.
One way to counter this problem is getting both dogs neutered because that will reduce their frustration and anxiety by tenfolds. There are more chances of non-neutered dogs fighting than those of neutered dogs.
Being protective of their owner (Guarding their owners):
Dogs are one of the most loyal pets one can have, and it is a very common saying that a dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs can become protective of many things which the dog holds very close to its heart. Among those things, perhaps the dog’s owner is the biggest one.
We are their most prized possession, and they become deeply attached when they perform activities with their owners, such as playing, going on walks, feeding, giving them attention, and even when we give them treats.
So, naturally, dogs tend to become very defensive and protective of their owners, and if the dog feels that a new dog, who may be an intruder and intends to hurt their owner, which may not be a real possibility even, the dog will tend to attack the other dog, and a dog fight can break loose.
Being protective of other resources:
Just like their owners and masters, dogs can very naturally get defensive and protective of other things as well, which can include their favorite treats their bones that they like to chew on, and even their food, not to mention their toys too.
Dogs can get worked up if they see another dog sharing their things. You might have noticed this when you just put food in your dog’s bowl, and your dog begins to growl at you if you get too close.
The same applies to another dog; if the dog gets too close to the dog with the toys, the bone, or even during feeding time, it is inevitable that the dog will fight.
A detriment in the health of one of the dogs:
If a dog becomes ill or has become old, the healthier and more active dog will become more prone to attacking the weak and ill dog.
Another way this could happen is when one dog becomes grown and mature, and this mature and strong dog will challenge the other dog again, to establish superiority and dominance. Things can get really nasty if you don’t break the fight up.
A change in routine or a change in Location
This is perhaps the most explainable and understandable thing that happens to dogs. Let’s give an example of a beloved family member who is leaving the house, let’s say, for college, and the dog is deeply attached to that family member.
When that person leaves, this will cause a lot of stress to the dog, which will build up into anger and frustration.
There’s another factor that can agitate a dog, and that is if one of the family members gets a job with a completely different time and work hours, this will cause the dog stress to because that is a change in the day-to-day routine the dog might have been having for years on end, at times.
We might be able to adjust and change according to our schedules, but dogs have a hard time with this, and increased stress means there are more chances of dog fights to happen.
A change in the dog’s friend circle of its social group:
If a new dog enters the house, or even if a dog leaves the house, a time window is needed for the changes. This time window allows the dog to adapt to all the changes around the house.
If a confident alpha dog passes away, the hierarchy can change, which can be why the dogs are fighting. That is mainly because the dogs will want to establish a new hierarchy, with them being the alpha and leader among the other dogs.
Overstimulation of a dog can redirection:
Dogs are very lovable creatures, but they can become overstimulated at times, and they can even misbehave or disregard the commands of their owners at times.
But, if a dog is nearby, an attack is likely to occur because the dog can become overstimulated by an action going on near it, and this stimulus will result in the dog attacking the other dog.
This can even happen when unknown people come around the house, like the mailman or the postman, who can get attacked the same way.
There could be underlying anxiety:
Humans aren’t the only creatures that suffer from anxiety; dogs have it too. They can even have an anxiety disorder or even stress. Once this stress level is crossed, the dog can attack another closeby dog.
If a dog is sensitive to noise, he can get anxiety from a particular noise, such as the ice cream truck, which will result in the dog becoming overstimulated and it can cause the dog to attack.
Dogs can even develop separation anxiety if their owners are out of town for a while or even if an owner passes away. That’s how bad their anxiety can get at times.
Socialization of a dog that isn’t proper:
It is very likely that an anti-social dog, or a dog that isn’t socialized properly, can become aggressive and attack other dogs when it is outside the house.
This can be because the dog cannot read the other dog’s body language, or the dog can even misread the body language and attack out of fear. The dog can interpret the other dog’s body language for aggression, even if the other dog is very playful and friendly.
There could be an escalation during playtime:
It is possible that the dog becomes overstimulated when playing with another dog. This will cause the dog to become overly excited, which will result in the play getting rough, which can frustrate the other dog and end up in a huge and ugly dog fight.
Spaces that are closed:
Dogs can become aggressive or overstimulated when they are in places that are tight or are enclosed. You might have experienced this if you are playing chase with your dog, and the dog becomes overly aggressive when you corner them somewhere.
This can even occur during a car ride when the dog becomes overstimulated and can begin attacking or fighting the other dog.
There could be social aggression:
This factor is not linked to any external stimulus or factor, it is not related to the dominance of the hierarchy of dogs either. It simply has to do with the fact that the dogs are aggressive socially, and both dogs will go at it; no dog will defer to the other dog.
It could be a reaction to the shock collar:
If you think that the shock collar you put around the neck of your dog is an effective way to train and curtail vile behavior is a good idea, then you are wrong.
The dog becomes increasingly stressed every time you shock it, which can result in the dog fighting another nearby dog.
The dog is in a lot of pain, and once you couple that with stress, that will not lead to a nice ending. This is very likely to happen if you shock your dog when you are out in public; this will result in your dog attacking any dog that is nearby. Even if that dog minds its own business.
There could be underlying medical reasons:
If a dog is hurt or is in pain, it could attack out of the sheer pain it is going through. A dog that might get too close to the injured or hurt the dog could feel the hurt dog’s wrath in the form of an attack.
There can even be a possibility of change in the dog’s thyroid levels, which is why he could suddenly act strange and aggressive.
Many signs can indicate that a dog is about to enter fight or flight mode. You can judge best, having known your dog, and you can tell just by the body language of the dog that it is not happy about something that is happening.
No particular sign indicates that the dog may fight, but if that happens, you will need to act fast and break the fight or even change directions to stop the escalation of the fight.
There are a few body language signs you can look out for; these indicate that the dog is stressed and upset about something and you need to do something quick to change what happens in the next couple of moments.
The signs are as follows:
- The dog can begin growling, which is one of the biggest signs that the dog will attack at any given moment,
- The dog will start to show its teeth, which is sending a clear message that the dog will not be afraid to bite if the situation arises,
- The ears of the dog will become pointed and alert as the dog will start focusing on the object or the threat that is causing it to stress,
- The dog will raise its hackles, this is another sign of sheer frustration, and a pending attack could be the outcome,
- The dog’s body will become stiff, and you can visibly note the posture of the dog changing as well,
- The dog will begin to mount and stare at the thing that is causing it to stress, and you might need to change the path or directions to prevent further escalation.
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that fights don’t break out, and as they say, prevention is better than cure. Stopping a fight from happening in the first place is way better than having to stop a fight that has started. You could even end up getting hurt in trying to stop that fight.
A dog will always remember when it has been attacked, making getting along with the attacker almost impossible. There are a few ways to prevent this from happening, and we have listed them in detail below.
They are as follows:
Managing the environment the dog is in:
This is a very important aspect because if you are feeding both the dogs in close vicinity or even if you are feeding them together, you can begin by feeding them separately.
Give them separate bones, and not just one, because that can become a bone of contention and can cause both the dogs to start fighting over it, because they are protective of their personal belongings.
Getting help from a professional is highly advised if the dog attacks other people or dogs while guarding a person. A fight between dogs can be very scary and dangerous, especially if people are nearby.
Start limiting the rough play:
If your dogs are playing together and having a good time, let them. But if you notice that the play is getting rough, or there’s a chance that it will build up to a fight, then you will have to stop it immediately.
If you see one dog mounting on the other dog or pinning the dog to the ground, stop that at once.
Even if you notice games of chase getting rough, stop that too. You will have to train your dogs to come to you when you call them. A recall that will make them come to you no matter what is absolutely crucial.
Let the dogs cool down before you let them go and play again. A tired dog is a stressed dog, and a stressed dog is a dog that will fight.
So, redirect the dogs to do something else, which can include individual different activities, that will cool the heated situation down. Dogs have different energy levels and playing styles, so if one is starting to get too rough with the other, you know what to do.
Giving each dog its own respective space:
Dogs can disagree about things just like humans do, but unlike humans, dog disagreements can often turn into ugly dog fights. That is why it is very important that you give each dog its own and respective space. This will do both dogs a world of good, as they will avoid direct interactions, thereby reducing any chances of fights.
Encourage calm behavior amongst the dogs:
If you notice that a dog is calm in a potentially upsetting and stressful situation, then praise and reward that dog.
It will encourage the dog to be more peaceful in stressful situations, and you will have to work with each dog individually at first. You can start working with both of them once they understand what the task at hand is.
Choosing dogs of the opposite sex:
Many people recommend getting dogs of the opposite gender, and it is true to some extent because a female and a male dog will get along more than two dogs of the same sex, be it male or female.
There are a few factors, such as the social capacity as well as the genetics of the dog that come into play, but it won’t be a deal breaker.
Allowing the dogs downtime:
Dogs need to rest and relax at times, just like you do. So, remember that and don’t expect them to be jumpy and ready whenever it is convenient for you. Give them as much time as you can, don’t let their separation anxiety get the best of them.
Give the dogs some obedience training:
Training your dogs is one of the most important things you will have to do. A dog that is trained is a dog that is more confident and more obedient, which means the dog will know what sort of behavior is expected of him.
This will also curb potential fights and conflicts, as your dog will come to you when you call it, and will obey your every command.
Just like exercise is important for humans, it is important just the same for dogs as well. You will prevent fights this way because this will channel the dog’s energy which can cause him to fight, into something more productive, like a long walk or even a game of fetch.
Mental exercise is important, too; that’s why dog tricks are important and recommended.
Walking the dogs separately:
If the dogs are fighting, then it is probably not a good idea to walk them together. The dogs can become overexcited or even frightened and stressed by new sounds or sights that they might see.
This stress will convert into aggression which they will take out on one another. So, walking them separately is better than walking them together.
Never leave the dogs together when they are unattended:
If your dogs are likely to fight, then it is never a good idea to leave them alone because you will already know what the outcome of that will be.
Even if the dogs have never had a fight, or if you have brought a new dog home, then never leave them alone. You know, as they say, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Indulge in activities that are fun to do together:
You will help the dogs develop good opinions about one another when you engage them in fun and safe activities. You can take them on walks together, with the help of a friend. Walking them parallel to each other at a safe distance is something you can begin with.
It will help them bond together and create a sense of bonding amongst them to participate in things that can be done together.
Blocking the outside view:
There is a possibility that some dogs may fight when they are looking outside the window, and that can cause them to go over the threshold and make them either too stressed or overstimulated, which can become the reason for their fighting. Blocking the noises that come from outside, or even the view entirely, is a good idea.
Be calm when you are in the presence of the dog:
Dogs are very intelligent creatures and they can sense your body language and even your scent as well. Being calm in highly stressful situations is a good idea because the dogs will learn from you and they will become calm.
The advice here would be not to use a high-pitched voice because it will cause the dogs to become overstimulated, and that can result in the break out of a fight.
Using holistic aids that will relieve stress:
Using devices to calm dogs is a great idea; you can use the Adaptil, which is a spray and even comes in a plug-in type. It copies the dog’s mother and releases a chemical that has a soothing effect on the dog.
You can even use the Rescue Remedy, which is a flower-based essence that can be added to the water bowl of the dog, and this causes the dog to relax and de-stress. You can even play a CD called Through a Dog’s Ear, which also has a calming and soothing effect on the dogs.
A trip to the vet:
If you notice that despite all these efforts and troubles, the dogs still aren’t getting along, you can take them to the vet for a physical examination.
There the vet will find out what the probable cause can be, if it is physical, which could include blood work or even a thyroid panel as well.
If by chance, a fight breaks out between two dogs, and you don’t know what to do, then don’t worry. We have researched and gathered all the possible things to do, so you don’t have to. It varies from dog to dog, but you can break up a fight in one of the following ways:
Using a water hose or a water bucket:
Just like a high-pressure water hose is used to disperse people that are rioting or fighting, the same can be done with dogs.
But here, you will need to use a low-pressure pipe or even a bucket of water. This will cause the dogs to break up the fight before it escalates into something much more worse.
Making a loud noise:
This is a great tactic you can use; here, you can make a loud noise that will distract the dogs from fighting. You can clap two pans together; you can even blow a whistle, or ring the doorbell.
Keeping an air horn is a good idea, or even slamming the door is great. This will surely break up the fight because the dogs will become distracted.
Intervening in the fight:
If two people are present on the scene, it is probably a good idea to break up the fight physically. Ask one person to grab hold of one dog while you grab hold of the other.
Make sure to separate them, keep them as far from each other as possible, and keep them far for a while until things cool down. Make sure to keep an eye on them once you let them free, to stop a fight if it is to happen again.
Use something to separate them:
You can use objects to separate them, objects such as a chair or a lid of a trash can, or even a broom. Literally, anything that will help separate them and break up the fight.
You will have to remain calm:
Remaining calm as the owner in a fight is one of the most important things because if you become loud or stressed, that might overstimulate the dogs, which can make the fight ugly.
Clearing the fight scene:
This is a good idea because if the dogs are evacuated from the fight scene, they can become distracted and they can change that stress into something useful and productive.
After the fight:
It is important to separate the dogs, keep them apart for as long as possible, and distract them. So, when they come back into contact, they forget that they left things off in a heated manner.
FAQs | How To Stop Dogs From Fighting?
Why do my dogs keep fighting?
There could be many reasons your dogs are fighting, dogs can also be stressed like us humans. When they are stressed, they channel that by way of fighting.
They attack other dogs and that is one of the reasons they fight. You will have to trace the source of their stress and change it.
There are a lot of ways you can stop dog fights, such as objects you can use to make loud noises that will distract the dogs; the objects include ringing the doorbell or using the pans to make a loud noise.
You can even hose them down with water to break a fight. Just use a tactic that won’t agitate the dogs further or a way that won’t hurt them.
Conclusion | How To Stop Dogs From Fighting?
Having multiple dogs can be tricky, but it is not impossible. You will need to train them properly to obtain the best behavior, and alongside that, reducing their stress is also very important.
You will need to reward them for their good behavior and punish them for their bad behavior. We hope this article taught you all you need to know and might have taught you valuable ways to break up a fight if ever need be.