Why are my dogs are fighting?
Fighting between dogs within a household can have several underlying motivations:
1. Fights may occur when a younger, larger, more agile dog challenges an older, confident dog in an attempt to alter the existing pattern of resource division. This is most likely to arise as the younger dog grows and matures or as the older dog ages or becomes more infirm. If the older dog acquiesces, things will be fine; however, if the older dog does not relinquish resources, fighting can persist. In addition, owners may not want the change and will intervene, which creates anxiety, may exacerbate the fighting and may inadvertently support and encourage the dog that is more suited to a deferential relationship.
2. A change in the household, routine, or family may lead to altered responses between the pets. This may result from underlying anxiety in one or both of the pets or an inability to adapt the change. In addition, once aggression arises between dogs, regardless of cause, the learning that has occurred may then affect further interactions between the dogs.
3. Fighting of a younger dog toward a dog that is aging or ill may be a function of the inability of the older dog to respond with appropriate postures and signaling when interacting with the younger dog. This may lead to a change in their predictable relationship. If a pet's responses, including aggression are due to an underlying disease process, the medical factors will need to first be addressed if a harmonious relationship is to be reestablished. Unfortunately many medical problems, especially those associated with aging, might not be able to be entirely resolved; in these cases, prevention rather than improvement might be all that can be expected. For example, dogs with medical conditions that lead to pain and irritability may become increasingly more aggressive when approached or handled. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction, sensory decline or disorders affecting mobility, might no longer be able to communicate effectively with other dogs both in the display of signals as well is in reading the signaling of others (through facial expressions, body postures and actions). While some dogs are quite tolerant and readily adapt to the changes in the way that the older (or ill) pet responses, many dogs become more anxious and unable to cope with the altered behavior of the older pet (see Senior Pet Behavior Problems and Senior Pet Cognitive Dysfunction).
4. When the social group changes such as the confident, assertive dog leaves or a new dog enters the home, the existing dogs try to restructure and predict their new social relationships. This can also occur between dogs raised together as they reach social maturity and attempt to restructure their relationship.
5. In some cases, aggression between the dogs may be redirected (i.e., when one or both dogs become highly aroused by an event or stimulus unrelated to the other dog, e.g., mail carrier's arrival, owner's departure, owner's homecoming), it may direct its aggression toward the other dog because it is nearby or accessible.
6. Fights can also occur due to underlying anxiety such as separation anxiety or noise sensitivities. If this is the case, unless the underlying disorder is identified and treated fighting may not resolve.
7. Fights are most likely to occur over access to resources that are considered important to one dog more than the other (resource-holding potential) (see Aggression – Possessive – Objects and Toys and Aggression – Possessive – Food Bowl). These might include food, resting places, territory, favored possessions or social interactions with the owners or another dog in the home. These fights occur most often between dogs of near equal ability and motivation and often, but not always, dogs of the same sex, and seem to be most severe between female dogs. High states of arousal and resources that are particularly appealing or novel may increase the chances of aggression. Fighting would most likely arise if both dogs have a high desire for the same resource, if the desire to retain the resource is stronger in the more subordinate dog (especially if he or she gets to the resource first), or if the owner supports the dog that is being challenged.
8. With age and maturity, some dogs with formerly harmonious relationships begin to display posturing and behavior that is inappropriate in a social context. In some cases it might be that the previously subordinate dog fights back in situations where it previously displayed appeasing and deferential posturing. Conversely, dog A, the more confident dog, may continue to attack, despite appropriate subordinate signaling from its housemate. On the other hand, dog A may not display any preliminary posturing (growl, snarl, stiffening) when challenged but proceeds directly to a full-out attack. In both scenarios, dog A is behaving inappropriately. These cases can be diagnostic dilemmas because allowing the pets to work things out or merely supporting the natural development of their relationship might lead to serious injury. In a free living situation these dogs would not continue to co-habitate, instead they would separate themselves sufficiently to avoid ongoing aggressive confrontation. People are rightly concerned when their dogs do not get along with each other but in reality we should be duly impressed anytime our random selection of canine personalities actually do mesh harmoniously.
9. It is likely and advantageous that dogs in a household would use canine communication and posturing to avoid aggressive interactions so that the fights would be mild and inhibited. Therefore, when there is fighting between dogs in a home, it is more likely to be caused by conflict over resources, fear, pain and irritability, redirected aggression, or sociopathic tendencies (in which one or more of the dogs have underdeveloped or insufficient social communication skills). In some cases, one of the dogs is behaving abnormally and a behavior consultation with a veterinary behaviorist is necessary to determine which dog is behaving most abnormally and the diagnosis, prognosis and whether medication may be needed.
Can SPIKE BITE be used for aggressive dogs?
Spike Bite is a great tool to use while socializing your pets. Do your pets fight while you are away? SpikeBite can be worn around the home all day, since the spikes are not exposed your pet will not get snagged furniture, and your other dogs will not accidentally injured while playing because substantial pressure is needed to expose the spikes.
Key Features & Facts
- one large back pads
- option to exclude spikes
- stab resistant material on all the vital areas
- uv reflective
- comes with a handle and D-ring
- does not come with neck protection
- great for dogs that live together
- safe to play in