A dog biting another dog is a common occurrence. We see it in the park, on social media and, in worst case scenarios, we see “Dog bites dog!” on the news. Therefore, it’s natural to want to make sure your dog is never bitten by another dog. And vice versa. There is a solution. To find it, we need to ask the right question.
What is the right question? Let’s find out…
Dog bites dog – ask yourself why?
Asking how to stop a dog biting another dog is a good question, but it only deals with the behaviour. The real question is why a dog bites another dog. This deals with the underlying reason for the behaviour at its deepest level.
Children growing up with pets experience many benefits, including the unconditional love of their furry family member. Therefore, you may find your dog is gentle and kind to your family, just not to other dogs. As a result, figuring out why is the first step.
Let’s explore why dogs bite other dogs…
Dogs bite other dogs – understanding why
Dogs are a lot like people. For example, a dog who experiences trauma may react defensively in situations that remind him/her of the initial incident. If your dog has been hurt by another dog, they may react defensively with dogs after that.
In addition, dogs need to be socialised with other dogs early on in life. The best time to learn basic social skills with other dogs is as young as six to 14 weeks old.
Without these essential skills, your pup may struggle to understand another dog’s body language. As a result, he/she may behave defensively toward them. Defensive behaviour in a dog can mean growling and of course, biting.
If your pooch is still a puppy, read these 4 puppy training tips.
Dog aggressive dog – steps to take
Infamous dog whisperer Cesar Milan says it’s not the dog, it’s the human behind the dog. He says it’s how we raise the dog that’s important. Dogs are essentially trusting. Therefore, when faced with a situation where they don’t trust the other dog, they may react aggressively.
Building this trust requires training. There are many online dog training videos. However, Cesar recommends seeking professional assistance. The sooner your pup gets coached, for example at a puppy school with other young dogs, the quicker the danger of dog bites can be alleviated.
Here are some types of specialist avenues that deal with dog behavioural problems:
- Dog behaviourist
- Obedience class
- Professional dog trainer
Speak to your vet about a recommendation near you.
Your role in reducing the risk
Aside from enlisting a professional, you can take some simple steps to build your pup’s trust and limit stress.
- Ensuring your dog well trained and socialised
- Keeping them on a lead
- Learning the signs your dog shows when they’re getting anxious
- Watching closely when they’re around other dogs, never venturing too far from them
- When they’re getting anxious, removing them from the situation before it escalates
Breaking up a dog fight
No matter how much love there is between you and your fur kid, you shouldn’t get in the middle of a dog fight. A dog has a single-minded focus during a fight and the chances are you’ll get bitten, even by your own pup. During a dog fight biting is reflexive, so no hard feelings but it can be dangerous.
Let’s look at what you can do to safely break up a dog fight:
- Sound: a dog hears twice as loudly as we do, so break their attention from fighting by making a noise. Use whatever’s on hand (e.g. shake your keys, bang pot lids together, shout loudly but not angrily).
- Water: dogs can be distracted from their fight by the spray of a hosepipe or bucket of water. Lots of water is good. Carry a full spray bottle or a squirty water bottle if you’re out on walks and trips to the park.
- Barrier: toss a blanket/jumper/similar over the fighting dogs, to confuse their senses. They’ll then need to take stock of what’s going on – this could stop them fighting. If you have a big sheet of plastic or wood, use it as a shield by wedging it between the fighting canines if you think it’s safe to do so. Basically, whatever you can find close by that’s not your hand or body, like a garbage bin lid or long stick (be careful of eyes).
If your dog gets bitten by another dog
If your dog has been bitten by someone else’s dog, get the other person’s name and contact details. Find out if their dog has had their vaccinations. Check if your pup has been hurt on his ears and especially if he has punctures on his neck or body. These will need to be treated right away to prevent infection.
Remember, puncture wounds, soft tissue damage and internal damage can be hard to see. Therefore, a vet should make this assessment to set your mind at ease.
Please do take note of this – PD Insurance recently had a claim whereby the insured dog was bitten at puppy school and the parents didn’t realise for some time. The dog had long hair and it wasn’t until he had seriously trouble walking that the parents consulted a vet. Unfortunately the infection was so bad by then the pup’s leg had to be amputated.
Signs to lookout for
- Blood – this can help to identify a puncture which is otherwise not visible
- Pumping blood – means an artery or large vein has been damaged and you should see a vet right away
- Rapid/shallow breathing – this could mean the injury is serious and your dog needs immediate vet attention. This can be caused by shock, or your dog may have a puncture wound in his chest
- Pale gums – this can be a sign of shock but could also indicate internal bleeding
- Lack of energy – your dog may also show signs of feeling weak or even lose consciousness
Dogs who are bitten by other dogs can become fearful of their canine counterparts. Once your dog has healed physically, consider their mental wellbeing. A bitten pup can benefit from spending time with a dog behaviourist. This will speed up their ability to re-socialise with canine buddies.
It’s a doggy world out there
In the case of a dog bite, it’s important you have dog insurance. As a result, you can seek the right medical attention for pup when it’s most needed. Pet insurance could mean the difference between keeping or losing your fur kid.
The last thing you want to have to consider at a time of need is the cost of surgery or the vet visit and treatment costs
If your dog has bitten someone else’s dog, your insurance will be essential to cover the damage. Third party liability is part of all PD insurance pet plans. This offers you protection in case your pet causes damage to other people or their pets or property.