People often forget that man’s best friend used to be a wild animal before it was domesticated, so many of the genes and instincts that dogs carried in the wild still remain in a dog’s psyche. Most people don’t become aware of that until their leashed dog meets another dog and has a violent encounter. With a little persistence and perseverance, you can train your dog not to attack others.
Correct unacceptable behavior immediately. Dogs instinctively try to establish their role of dominance when meeting another dog, and will be protective of their owners, territory and themselves. Nothing can be done to completely override genetics, but curb this activity by quickly intervening when your dog is aggressive towards another. A consistent, quick and firm “no” with each occurrence will let your dog know that his behavior is unwanted and will not be tolerated.
Recognize a dog’s body language. One of the steps in training is recognizing when a dog is showing signs of aggressive behavior. A dog that is showing aggressive body language will have an erect tail, a stiff body, erect ears and a lowered neck. She may growl and show her teeth. Correct this aggressive behavior as soon as you see it.
Slowly socialize your dog with others. The only way to train a dog to not attack other dogs is to socialize him properly. Start by introducing a strange dog at a distance that causes no reaction, ensuring the dogs know of each other’s presence. Praise the dog for not reacting. Over the next few weeks perform the same action, while decreasing the distance between the dogs slowly but steadily. Use a different dog each time, so your dog knows that it is not okay to attack any dog, whether he is used to it or not.
Use a leash or harness. Dogs are more likely to attack passing dogs when they are off a leash and around their owner or territory. Use a leash to help avoid run-ins with other dogs by restraining your dog. Avoid the threat of an attack by crossing the street when other dogs are walking on the same street, if you know the dog is not fully socialized.
Take the medical route. Curb the aggressiveness of male dogs through castration, which changes the dog’s smell and its testosterone level. This may stop fights with other dogs, as the dogs will feel less threatened, and the castrated male will be less aggressive. Hormone treatments are available from a veterinarian, if castration doesn’t work, or if it is a female dog.