Why Some Dogs Don't Like Each Other



You can be as social as a person can be but there are instances when you just need to get away from people. And although you have quite a lot of friends, there are just some people who you dislike for some unknown reason. Not one single person likes everyone. The same is true for canines. Not all dogs like other dogs. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few dogs that just do not like other dogs. There are some dogs that react aggressively if they see another dog from a distance, there are also some dogs that are friendly to other dogs when they are up close, and there is the middle ground, which are dogs that like other dogs while hating others. But, how do these dogs choose who to like and who to dislike? It can be quite difficult to make sense of all this.

The Root of the Behavior

It is important to understand how socialization in dogs work so that, in turn, you can also understand why some dogs do not like other dogs. Canines communicate with one another in ways different than humans do. Dogs see something in the body language of other dogs or pick up olfactory clues that signal them if the other dog is to be liked or not. Dogs have a very powerful sense of smell. From a significant distance, they can sense smells and body cues which humans cannot. Aside from their heightened sense of smell, another reason why dogs may seem to dislike other dogs instantly can be from historical experience. For example, if your dog has been attacked by another dog, he might exhibit intense fear and aggression towards other dogs. Conversely, dogs may take a liking to other dogs that remind them of a certain well-liked canine friend. Your dog’s behavior towards other dogs may also be about you. Sometimes when dogs feel very protective of their humans in an almost possessive way, they might become aggressive to other dogs because they do not want their humans near the other dog. 

Is there a dependable way of identifying the root of your dog’s dislike towards other dogs? Well, there are various ways to find out. One of them is to put your dog on a loose leash but provide him enough space to move freely while making sure that the leash is short enough so you can easily control and restrain him. Walk your dog towards other dogs in neutral areas such as parks and be mindful of his behavior. If he starts being aggressive for no reason, there is a chance that he is only being protective of you. This is something very common among breeds which are considered guardians such as Rottweilers. Take note of some of the most common things that trigger your dog to reach badly such as being sniffed by the other dog and being approached by another dog.

Encouraging the Behavior

A dog being aggressive towards another dog is one of the most common problems of dog owners today. It is actually one of the greatest fears that dog owners have and if ignored, it will cause major issues for your dog in the long run. There is no single fool-proof way of dealing with your dog’s aggressive behavior. The solution is not exactly set in stone so you will have to dig deep and you may have to fix some things that stem from the early stages of your dog’s life and then work from there. With the right help, training, and therapy, you dog can get past this. 

It can be easy to quickly dismiss your dog but this is something you must avoid. Even the most ferocious and meanest dogs have been reformed so that they live out the rest of their years with a loving family. One of the things an aggressive dog needs is training. He needs to practice being around other canines so that he realizes that other dogs are not threats, they are not enemies and they are dogs just like him and that maybe they can become his friends. Your dog needs to be taught how to socialize with other canines and he will also have to be introduced in groups so that he can boost his confidence and adapt accordingly. The help of a dog trainer is valuable because they already know how to take charge of these situations and will arrange what is necessary for your dog to conquer these problems. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Fear is something that does not go away overnight. Although you are going to make huge strides forward, you might also have some setbacks. However, prevention is still better than cure so while your dog is still a tiny pup, begin training him with the help of a dog trainer. Always push for more discipline and ensure that you inform the trainer exactly what your problem is so that he or she can provide the most appropriate training.

Do not expect too much too soon from your dog. Treat and praise him well if he does well in training. With practice, your dog will improve and as he matures; he will become more confident and more comfortable with new experiences.


Aggression in dogs is not an unusual problem and the main reason for this issue is the lack of training or improper training. The good news is that there is still hope for your dog’s behavior. With dedication, time, patience, and the right resources, the end result will be worth it. You will be relieved to know that you don’t have to always worry when another dog passes by. 

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior

I have a 1.5 year old mini Australian Shepard. From the day we got him when he was 10 weeks we did our best to socialize him. We had a puppy trainer and he attended puppy classes twice a week. He loved playing with other pups and even some bigger dogs too. A few months ago, he started to snarl and bark at certain dogs. We had to stop taking him to the dog park and stop taking him to doggy day camp because of the behavior. We are not sure what changed and what causes this behavior. One minute, he is absolutely fine and seems to be having a fun time. The next minute, he is snarling and nipping.

Hello, so sorry to hear about your dog. I would continue to work with a trainer. Monitor him and see if there is anything that is triggering these rage fits. If you cannot find out what is causing them, it would be a good idea to have your vet check him out to make sure that there is nothing medically wrong with them. Sometime something as simple as an ear infection can cause them to be a little aggressive.
1 year, 1 month ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - My pet

My dog is almost 2years old. He has never been aggressive. Plays well at parks and at daycare. Never showed aggression until the other day. He didn’t like the other dog sitting next to me. My dog is part yellow lab and shepherd. Is it an age thing? Or was it an isolated incident? My dog is training to be a therapy dog. He’s so kind and loving to others, and other dogs. This was an unexpected behavior.

Im sorry to hear this has happened. We would consider a few things. Does he have an underlying lying medical issue such as an ear infection or sore tooth that is causing him pain and making him defensive? A vet check is best for a complete physical exam. Did the other dog do something like take his treat, act threatening, ignore his body language etc? Think back to what the trigger may have been. Consider consulting with a vet behaviourist who may be able to shed more light.
1 year, 1 month ago