Dog aggression is something that we literally deal with on a daily basis at our facility in Northern Virginia. If you go to our YouTube channel, you can see countless dog aggression before and after videos.
Just like with our blog on people aggression, we do not base your dog’s severity based off of the number of incidents, but we based it off of the severity of the incidents.
If your dog has been in “a lot of dog fights” or “attacked a lot of other dogs” (as we hear on a daily basis), we always ask about the SEVERITY. Severity of the “attack” is all that really matters, in our opinion.
If your dog has been in “a lot of fights” or “attacked a lot of dogs,” I would ask:
-Did at least two of the dogs have to go to the vet due to damage?
-Did the vet bills of 1 or more dogs total over $1000.00 in damage done by your dog?
If your answer is “no” to both, I would generally say that you do not have a “dog aggressive” dog. Your dog may be a dick, but I wouldn’t say that he or she is necessarily aggressive. What people do not realize is that is VERY easy for your dog to do damage (punctures) to another person or a dog; therefore, if they are “getting into fights,” but they are NOT doing damage, this is generally by the CHOICE of your dog. They could have easily done damage if that was their intention. So, your dog is showing great restraint and bite inhibition.
Also, it may not necessarily have been YOUR dog’s fault. Maybe another dog challenged him, postured up on him (etc) and you just didn’t notice this, and your dog reacted.
So, I would say that your dog is generally safe with other dogs, he just may not get a long with all dogs he meets. Here’s a big secret that many people do not realize, “YOUR DOG MAY NOT LOVE OR GET ALONG WITH EVERY DOG THEY MEET!”
Let me say that again, “Your dog will probably not like every dog it meets.” Shocking, right? Why is that true? You socialized them a lot when they were young, you do on-going socialization with them, etc. Let me put it to you differently, were you raised well, did you have a lot of friends growing up aka were you well socialized growing up? If you answered, “Yes,” then should it be safe to assume that YOU like every single person you meet? Ah hah! There you have it! It’s really that simple.
So, to get back to the main point, your dog’s dog aggression. From a training perspective, if your dog has not: 1) put two dogs in the vet or 2) given vet bills over $1000.00, we would say that your dog is definitely workable and can be taught to be better behaved and proper interaction.
If your dog HAS met two of these standards, I would generally say that your dog would not be safe around other dogs, regardless of training. We can still give you CONTROL over your dog with other dogs in their presence. Meaning, we can generally take your highly reactive dog who is going out of his way to attack another, and give you a dog that will stay in a heel, sit, down, place (etc) while another dog walks by without reacting. With that said, I still wouldn’t ever TRUST them with another dog, you just have control over them with other dogs around.
So, this is a good measuring tool to see if your dog’s dog aggression is fixable or just manageable. I would also strong encourage reading my blog, “Dog Aggressive Dog Training.”
Off Leash K9 Training