Dog fights are a common scene in Singapore and many have the worry that their beloved dogs get caught in one. Usually a dog fight will not result in serious injury if addressed early. This article will teach you common signs of dogs that may lead to a fight and ways to prevent it.
Signs Leading to Fight
Tail is straight up or angle made between body and tail is less than 180 degrees. The tail can be stiff or wagging slowly. This can be a sign that the dog is asking for a fight.
Fixated glance is another way of telling whether the meeting will result in a fight. Some dogs mean no harm and are just excited but over excitement can result in a fight so it is best to monitor when a dog gives a fixated stare at another dog.
Lunging can be another way of initiating a fight. Although some breeds such as golden retriever tend to lunge out of excitement and not attack, some dogs lunge with a different intention.
Straightened or erected ears. This is a small warning that usually will result before lunging. The dog will be on full alert and will choose fight, flight or submission. If it is protective of you, it will bite anything that comes near you, including other dogs.
Tense interaction when the dogs are smelling each other, eyes dilate. This says a lot that a fight might break out, that can be caused by another dog not behaving how your dog wants it to be (example a hyperactive dog meets a calm dog and is not considered aggression).
Hair on back of dog stand and tail is held very high.
Preventing a Fight
Disclaimer: These practices should not be tried on your own or if it is, it will be at your own risk. Purely Adoptions will not be responsible for any damages or accidents caused. You can contact purely adoptions or I to help out regarding training of aggression in dogs. My email can be found at the end of the article.
Move your dog’s collar to the highest i.e. nearest to the head when you know a fight might occur. This gives you maximum control over your dog. Do not apply any tension on the leash. Always ensure a short leash. A tense leash will let your dog know you are tense and will want to protect you.
Correct your dog when your dog first notices the other dog with fixated eyes or straightened ears by tugging on the leash in a sideway motion. Create enough tension to distract your dog but not too hard that it hurts the dog. Then, complete the whole ritual of instilling calmness by letting it sit. Sitting of dogs encourages calmness and we want it to relate whatever it sees to calm. After which, relax the tension on the leash.
For dogs that like treats, you can try redirecting the attention of the dog to look at you instead. Wave the treat near the nose of the dog and let the dog follow the scent to look at you. Once it does so, immediately reward it. Do not reward the dog when it is looking at the other dog. You may encourage fixation.
To introduce a dog to another dog, avoid walking the dogs towards each other while facing. Walk them side by side for a distance with a human in between the dogs till they are relaxed (not looking at each other and focusing on the walk). Then, while continuing to walk, let the dogs walk directly beside each other. When it is okay for the dogs to meet, introduce the rear end of one dog to another dog for them to smell and vice versa.
If a dog takes a play bow, the interaction would most likely be fine unless the other dog interprets it wrongly or is protective of their owner. In such cases, the interaction will need to be monitored closely as one's play can be seen as another's fight.
If a fight ensues
Even if a fight breaks out, or if your dog is being attacked, check your dog for injuries. However, do not hug or comfort it while you check your dog as it might encourage it to be fearful of dog fights which can further result in it having fear of other dogs in the future. This happened to a few dogs that I know of.
In conclusion, you should give a calm energy as dogs know when you are nervous and will feel the need to protect you from whatever it perceives as a threat. Do not feel frustrated as you will only make the situation worse since dogs are sensitive to how you feel. They should feel relaxed when near another dog and the vibe you give off matters.
My email is email@example.com. Feel free to contact me for help regarding training or techniques or tips as discussed in this article for your dog.
Wishing owners all the best with their dogs!
Xavian Mar with Vera