When Dogs Fight

Having dogs can be a rewarding a fulfilling experience, and can bring joy and lots of laughs into our lives. But when our beloved 4 legged friends get into a disagreement, it can leave all parties involved confused and potentially injured in the aftermath. It is essential to identify the cause of the fight to understand better your pack and how to prevent further injury in the future.

Which dogs are more likely to Fight?

Living with multiple dogs under the same roof, there is bound to be times that not all parties get along, identifying which members are more likely to get into a disagreement can be quite advantageous to prevention. Usually, dog fights happen between; two females, 64%, which are also more likely to lead to serious injury
the newest member, 70% the youngest member, 74% too close in status, also known as Dominance Status Aggression.

This is not to say that other members are not going to fight, so it is essential to evaluate your pack to determine who is at risk of fighting.

Reasons Dogs Fight

Way back when our canine companions all ran with the wolves, there was a social hierarchy that was used to keep all members in line and is still hard-wired into our furry friends of today. This flexible but relatively strong social structure allows the pack to function as one. One of the main reasons dogs fight is when we as the owners try to create a pack structure that does not make the most dominant dog alpha. This is a standard human response, we like to give the older more fragile dog more attention, or the best spot for example and this creates tension in the group and potentially can lead to a fight. Other reasons dogs fight include;
pain or illness of a member resource, guarding ( toys, food, best spot), dominance to gain attention from the owner or a medical issue

Now what?

It is important to know that this does not make you a bad pet owner, we see so many forms of social media with people having dogs that all get along and do so looking so cute. This can leave owners feeling inadequate, and frustrated when their pack situation is a struggle. It is impossible for all dogs, all the time to get along. Educating yourself is the best place to start, and a trip to your veterinarian can help determine if you are dealing with a medical issue or a behavioural issue.

Having dogs can genuinely be a life-improving decision, and dealing with disagreements between members is just another thing that comes along with pet ownership, the important thing to know is that it is not uncommon, and there are multiple options and resources out there to get your pack back on track.

Written by: Jessica Lovell, VT