Why Does My Dog Nip Other Dogs and How to Stop It

Why Does My Dog Nip Other Dogs and How to Stop It

If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs when you’re out and about, it can become embarrassing and even a bit scary.

You probably feel as though your dog will always behave in this way but with some training, they can definitely learn how to be better behaved around their fellow pooches!

Here’s our guide on why your dog may be nipping other dogs and what you can do to try to stop it in its tracks.

Potential Causes of Nipping Other Dogs

Finding out the reasons why it’s happening can make it a lot easier to tackle the problem.

There can be a few reasons why dogs are aggressive to each other so it’s important to have a good idea of what the underlying factors may be.

Some of the reasons why dogs may nips other dogs include:

  • Fear – Some dogs nip other dogs because they’re scared of them, particularly if they have had bad experiences with other dogs in the past and are now scared of other canines in general.
  • Redirected aggression – Sometimes, it won’t be other dogs that are the real problem but the fact that your dog is being prevented from interacting with them (for example, because of one of them being on their lead). This can then lead to them being aggressive towards the other dog because they are frustrated at the situation. They may also be aggressive to you or other people if you try to intervene.
  • Playing rough – If your dog likes to play a bit rough with other dogs, they may sometimes nip them as part of this.
  • Chase aggression – If your dog likes to chase other dogs, they may sometimes nip them during this, whether this is due to over excitement, trying to end or restart the ‘game’ or defending themselves against the other participant.
  • Physical factors – Aggressive behaviour such as nipping can sometimes be caused by physical issues such as illness and pain. If your dog’s aggression comes on suddenly, this could be some or all of the problem and can be tackled by treating the physical problem(s).
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How to Address Nipping Issues

A lot will depend on why your dog is acting in this way but specific types of training can be very helpful for discouraging them from nipping other dogs. For example:

  • Speak to your vet to rule out any underlying physical problems that could be causing or exaggerating aggressive behaviour such as nipping.
  • If fear is the main problem, socialisation training can help them to be calmer around other dogs.
  • If your dog tends to play rough with other dogs, you can look at retraining them to play nicely with soft toys (and yourself) before they go back to supervised play with dogs. This should teach them to be gentler and better behaved when they play.
  • For redirected aggression, try to teach them that their aggressive behaviour towards other dogs isn’t acceptable and won’t get the desired result e.g. getting them off the leash. Working on focusing their attention on you can also be beneficial as it helps to keep their focus away from distractions.
  • Contact a qualified veterinary behaviorist for advice and training.
  • In the short term, consider using a basket muzzle to prevent potential injury to other dogs.
  • Amanda Page

    I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, whenever I take him for walks, we have problems. He hates other dogs and other people sometimes even growls at us. My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!

    • huitrecouture

      Just correct him nicely without using high pitch voices and weak energy. Watch Cesar Millan The Dog Whisperer on television or youtube. He is acting that way because he feels you don’t have the leadership skills to take control of situations. And it all begins IN the house. HUMANS own the door, the kitchen, the choices…not the dog. He doesn’t get to go outside until he sits – or stands with all four feet on the floor – by the door calmly waiting for you to invite him out NEXT to you not in front of you. Dogs need to be following you not vice versa.

  • Mary Kathryn Dorr

    I have an old dog who has developed the tendency to be aggressive. She was not this way when she was younger, but was always the dominant female. Our newest male rescue has taken to nipping her in the face. She also is aggressive to him, especially when he rushes around the house at max speed. Should I use a mussel on both? When I put a mussel on the female, she stopped attacking him, but then he began nipping her. Help!