How to stop dog aggression against other dogs and socialise your pet.
I’m afraid there are no magic ways to fix dog to dog aggression or at least I still haven’t found them.
A fight poses a great risk to your and other people’s dogs and if you feel you cannot cope with the situation, I strongly encourage you to consult a professional trainer.
Whippets are not a typically aggressive breed but nevertheless they are still dogs, accessorized with potentially very harmful teeth and I'm afraid that not even whippets are completely exempt from dog to dog aggression.
Despite the fact that I know of many male whippets that happily live together, my own two males had many violently debated issues that ended at the vet’s office and their disagreements were finally settled only with their neutering.
My female whippet Lola has a baffling animosity against German shepherds that gets mitigated only in the presence of puppies of the breed.
Often aggressiveness towards other dogs is caused by fear and desensitizing your whippet to the presence of other dogs is the best way to avoid troubles.
Here are a few suggestions about what you can do to help your dog relax in the presence of other canines.
- First of all make sure to avoid any injury to your or others’ dogs. Keep you dog on leash until the problem is under control.
- Start socializing your dog at a young age. Good manners learned when still a puppy will help your adult dog have an easy social life.
- If your dog barks at other dogs during your walks, desensitize him by exposing him gradually to gentle and good natured dogs.
- At the beginning of this training, keep him far from unfamiliar dogs. How far? Far enough to avoid an aggressive reaction. Don’t give your pooch any occasion of misbehaving.
- When walking on the lead, as soon as another dog appears, distract your whippet with something pleasant like a favorite toy, an unusual noise or a treat.
- Only with the progressing of the training and when you see improvement in your dog’s behavior, you can slowly increase the exposure to other canines.
- Help your dog associate the presence of other dogs to something pleasant and fun.
- Exercise your dog. Pent up energy can be a powerful trigger to dog to dog aggression. Tired dogs are more relaxed and willing to cooperate!
Here are some common practices well know to do more harm than good in curbing dog to dog aggression.
- Vigorously tugging on the leash.
- Shouting at the dog with an imperious voice.
- Hitting your dog. This will make your dog think that you go insane when there are other canines in sight and he will do his best (bark and threaten) to keep them away.
- Getting nervous at the sight of another dog and communicating your feelings to your whippet by tightening the leash, grabbing him or acting anxiously.
If you are a visual learner, here is an excellent video by Doggy Dan to help you with dog aggression against other dogs.