Winter is a Siberian Husky who is great with people and with the other large dogs in his home. However, when out on a walk with his owner, a little unleashed terrier comes bouncing over, barking and putting up a fuss. Much to his owner's shock, Winter lunges at the little dog, teeth bared. Fortunately, Winter's owner stops him before any harm is done to the little dog.
Winter's sudden aggression to the little dog came as a surprise to his owners, as he gets along well with other dogs in his house. But, any dog who is confronted with another dog invading his personal space or territory and presents anti-social behavior, can react with aggressive behavior. Because Huskies are large dogs, they can present more of a danger to other dogs if they don't get along with them. Also, Huskies are one of those dog breeds that has a high prey drive. Perhaps because indigenous populations that use them as working dogs have not breed this tendency out of them, as it is useful for hunting and defending against other predators in regions where Husky dogs are commonly bred.
Because Huskies are well known for being highly socialized with people and living in packs, it is often not anticipated that they would show aggression toward other dogs. It is possible though, even the usually laid-back Husky may not get along with other dogs if they are not introduced properly, feel threatened, or if their prey drive is triggered.
Introducing dogs to your Husky on neutral territory, if possible, will help reduce territorial behavior from either your Husky or the other dog, which could quickly escalate. If you are training your Husky to get along with other dogs, finding other dogs that are well socialized to model appropriate behaviors is extremely useful. Introducing two unsocialized dogs leaves a lot of room for errors in body language and communication to occur. Also, using very high value treats to reinforce positive social behavior with other dogs will be important, as you need a reinforcement that is more salient than any drive to be aggressive with the other dog. As gradual introduction is often employed, having barriers or markers to help introduce dogs slowly will be helpful.
Sen has always been a very loving, attention seeking dog. He has always been good with other dogs and kids. We own his mother and father. Sen has never shown aggression towards other dogs until last week.My husband was walking him and ran into a neighbor and her small dog which Sen is familiar with. My husband and the neighbour were talking Sen was sitting beside my husband on his leash and his mom was on the other side of him on her leash. The neighbors dog was beside her on his leash. When out of no where Sen grab this dog by its neck and started shaking it like a rag doll. My husband finally got the dog free. We are just baffled as to why he out of the blue became aggressive. Any Ideas?
Hello Leanna, A number of things could have been going on. Between 1-2 is a common age for aggression to show up due to mental and sexual maturity. There may have been possessiveness of you or the other dog going on, possibly challenging stares before the attack, something about the dog's body language your dog didn't like, or even prey drive being triggered (although this is less likely, it is possible). Without seeing pup in person to read body language, or at least ask a lot more questions I can't say for sure what's going on. I would spend some time learning to read canine body language and pay attention to pup's body language when they see other dogs - small or big. Do you notice pup staring another dog down, reacting to dog's who are acting a certain way, or a certain size dog. This would be something most easily diagnosed by a training group who has access to multiple dogs - like the trainers dogs, to evaluate pup on leash (to keep all dogs safe) around a variety of dogs and see how pup responds. In the meantime I would be especially careful around small dogs. Not all trainers specialize in behavior issues, so if you look for a trainer, look for one who comes well recommended by their previous clients and specializes in behavior issues, and has access to other dogs, like a group of trainers with their own dogs they work with. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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trying to introduce him to our daughters new cockapoo puppy. He gets very aggressive towards new dogs . Will a muzzle help . How should they meet . Her dog is 13 weeks old
Hello Gareth, I would recommend a basket muzzle but pup needs to be desensitized to the muzzle ahead of time so that its not associated just with the new puppy. The muzzle alone won't decrease the aggression but it can help to keep puppy safe while you are finding out how they do around the new puppy. A leash is important too though since the larger dog could harm pup even without teeth. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s To introduce them, I recommend the Passing Approach method from the article linked below, then switching to the Walking Together method, increasing the distance between them a few feet again when you switch, to gradually desensitize them to each other on neutral territory. I would repeat these walks very often until they are both completely relaxed around each other, keeping them very separate at times other than the walk until then. Once they can handle that, I would work on commands like Place and crate training and only allow them to interact when there is a lot of supervision, structure like obedience commands, and precautions like leashes or muzzle. Reward tolerance and give clear instructions like both practicing staying on separate place beds in opposite ends of the room, being rewarded for ignoring each other or being calm, simply to desensitize them to one another. If you notice aggression and things aren't improving, things are getting worse, you don't feel you can keep puppy safe during this, or you feel overwhelmed, then I highly recommend hiring a professional private trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help with this in person due to it's potentially dangerous nature. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I've had Lexi for 4 years. She wasn't socialised and din't like affection when she was rescued. We made slow progress and she eventually started making friends at the dog park. She seems to either love or dislike a dog straight away. But there wasn't any growling anymore and she seemed relatively social. So we decided to adopt another rescue: Monty, and they seemed fine when they met. Just not overly friendly, but figured they'd warm up to each other. Lexi started getting quite protective of me and food, but she doesn't have a problem sharing anymore. She mostly just ignores Monty now. Monty is very friendly but not completely socialised either, but is a lot better with other dogs than Lexi. After sorting out the issues I could see like jealousy and food aggression, they're usually calm around each other and sometimes even cuddle but they just seem to randomly fight and I can't figure out why. It's also only maybe once every 3 weeks. Not sure what to do now to get them to stop fighting and hopefully get them to be friends
Hello ML, This might be an issue that would be worth having a trainer who specializes in behavior issues coming to your home to evaluate in person. You need someone who can read body language well - there is likely something subtle that proceeds the fights - like one dog staring down the other, getting tense when another approaches certain objects or people, like respecting wanting to be left alone - which might be communicated one dog to another with something as subtle as a stare, ears back, or stiffening. Dogs communicate through a lot of subtle body language and knowing how to read that body language, and they watch for it, can help you determine what's setting off the fights, so that you can address those things. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello. I have a male husky who is about 1 1/2 years old. He has a good amount of energy and is very playful as typical of the husky breed. However, whenever he meets other dogs, they don't seem to get along with him unless they're bigger breeds (German Shepherds, Pyrenees, etc) OR they effectively communicate what they like/don't like with barking or nipping. Is this an issue with my dog (aka aggression) or is this an issue with the socialization and temperament of certain dogs? Especially when we take him to the dog park, other owners are put off or often straight-up rude about his excitable play style and label him as too aggressive even though their dogs will want to play with him or at least don't show concerning fear/anger at their interactions. I have a feeling that the owners aren't used to seeing the jumping and play-nipping common to huskies so they think that he's being aggressive. He usually never initiates overt aggression towards other dogs and will only sometimes bare teeth or nip back in defense if a dog attacks him first. I've read a couple of forums where people have mentioned that dog parks aren't great, especially for huskies who are easily misinterpreted/misunderstood. So, is the solution to stop going to the dog park? How else can we make sure he's socializing enough?
If it makes a difference, he isn't neutered yet since we want him to reach healthy hormonal development, but I don't think this plays much of a factor since he isn't usually aggressive, just very playful and hyper.
Hello, What you are describing about your dog is what is generally referred to as rude behavior. It's not aggression, but it's also not listening to other dog's social cues and follow common doggie social behavior for how to interact. Dogs tend to have certain standards that they are supposed to all follow to be accepted by others. It's the difference in a dog letting another rest when they indicate they are tired, versus barking or nipping to try to initiate play when another lies down or walks away or stops. It's the difference in a dog approaching another calmly at first, allow both to sniff each other's bottom, and not jumping on one another until there has been a play bow, versus rushing up, sniffing a dog over and over again, not letting the other dog sniff their bottom, and jumping on them before there has been a play bow. Dogs essentially have a form of etiquette for how they interact socially too, and when a dog breaks those rules, less patient dogs may try to discipline the other dog's behavior or they just get angry and react with less control. With that said, it's not uncommon. Many young dogs are "rude" if they haven't had good canine models of calm behavior or gain most of their social skills from places like the dog park, since there are high levels of arousal at the dog park. Certain breeds are already much rougher in their play style - including Huskies, so they want to play more roughly too, and many dogs feel overwhelmed by that. What you are describing sounds like "rude" behavior and not aggression - it's not meant to be harmful, it's just not respecting other dog's subtle social cues - which often go undetected by us, like stares, stiffening, licking lips, ears back, turning, ect...that a respectful dog should pick up on and respond to before the other dog feels the need to use stronger signals like nips. Many dogs at the dog park also aren't socialized well, which is why instead of giving your dog warnings, and using discipline to teach your dog, they simply attack when triggered by the rude behavior - that's a socialization issue on their end meeting your dog's behavior. You are right that your pup does need socialization. I suggest finding a couple doggie buddies who are more your dog's speed and having your own play dates either at the dog park at times when things aren't busy there, or if someone has a fenced in yard, doing it there is even better. In your own yard you can also practice some obedience with the dogs together, which can help the dogs learn better impulse control and calmness around each other, so they can also learn to give better breaks to one another. A fantastic activity for a husky is finding a group that goes on Pack Walks or hikes with their dogs, practicing heel with the group of dogs. This allows the dogs to be in a calmer state of mind, have structured social interactions, and get good mental and physical exercise all at the same time. Clubs, meetup.com, and rescues are good places to find such a group, or create your own with friends. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi. I have a 1 1/2 year old male husky who has a good amount of energy and is very playful. I asked about his dog park experience in an earlier question, but I had an additional question about humping/mounting. I had mentioned that our husky has not been neutered yet since we want to wait until around 2 years of age to be safe in terms of his hormonal development. However, I'm unsure if this plays a part in his mounting behavior or not. With select dogs at the dog park, he will mount them likely in a show of dominance until they run out from under him and bark/nip or until I pull him off of the other dog. He doesn't do this to every dog and usually seems to find 1 or 2 dogs he does it to when we go. If the other dog communicates they don't like it, he'll usually lay off for a bit and might try again later if the other dog is still playful. Is this acceptable behavior in terms of dog interaction and cues? I know that most owners don't like to see this especially when it's happening to their own dog, but I've also read that mounting is often just part of doggie interaction and is not really linked to sexual intentions/whether or not they are fixed. Is there anything I should/can be doing in these instances besides apologizing/trying to explain that mounting is an aspect of dog interaction? Also, is mounting a serious issue linked to fixing or is it more of a problem because owners are uncomfortable with it/uneducated about it? Thanks!
Hello, This actually falls under the same rude behavior I mentioned in your last question. It certainly can be a sexual act if the other dogs are females, especially ones near heat, but often this is more about dominance or "taunting" a dog into playing - which is a rude way for a dog to try to pester another into giving them their attention. Because it's overt dominance or very rude in terms of dog social behavior, it can lead to fights since other dogs are likely to react to it. It is very common, but it still tends to be poor social behavior and can trigger fights, but it's not usually sexual most of the time. Neutering later will often decrease it just because that tends to decrease testosterone which relates to competitiveness between males (trying to hump another male to dominate) as well as sexual desire. You won't usually see it go away completely from neutering however. I suggest teaching the Out command, following my tips from your previous question on where to socialize, and redirecting pup out of the area where the other dog is when they are pestering another dog with humping and not respecting them wanting to be left alone. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our Siberian Husky, Gunner, is a neutered purebred, with papers to prove it. He came from a top breeder in AK. Breeder told my son he'd been thoroughly socialized with other non-Husky dogs & many people, while still a pup, stressing that was very-important to having a well-behaved household member. He loves all people & tries to love all other canines, but he's killed 2 dogs who attacked him, very-swiftly. One was a Chi who stupidly attacked a much-bigger dog. Gunner simply crushed it with one bite. The other was a beagle who charged & attacked him in the street when I was walking him. He grabbed the beagle's neck held him with his paws, & ripped the throat open in a split-second. Gunner is abnormally-large, 30"tall & 120 lb. He's in perfect health, enormously-strong. We feed him Dr. Marty's, Blue Buffalo, & raw fish & chicken guts. (No intestines!) We wonder why he grew so large, as his parents & littermates are normal-size. Our vet, who's also a trainer, said it's normal for a Husky to fight back lethally if another dog attacks, as they're the nearest relative to wolves, with corresponding bite power & killer instincts. His advice is for us to simply be careful about exposing Gunner to potentially-hostile dogs & to never leave him alone with a cat, as , of all dog breeds, Sibes are about the least-tolerant of cats. So, we just act accordingly, as he gets along fine with several other dogs in the 'hood. Also, he has a strong prey drive, which the vet said is normal for Sibes. Once he escaped from me & ran down an adult rabbit, while he was trailing our Flexi-Leash through brush & scrub, quicklt catching & killing the rabbit. He then carried it around, not knowing what to do with it. we just let him keep it til he tired of it, then disposed of it. We can't really complain about Gunner's behavior. He's a good companion, loves to play, especially "tug of war", is very quiet, well-housebroken, very clean, etc. I just have to remember his POTENTIAL. He's yanked me down a couple of times wanting to go after a rabbit or a squirrel(I weigh a good 235), goes his own way when being walked, & would run off if he got loose. I believe it's the same with any other dog-remember their capabilities, likes & dislikes, & as much as possible, let them be Huskies, Labradors, Beagles, or, if curs, whatever breed they resemble. (Some of the best dogs I've ever seen were curs !)