I had a call today from a distraught lady who told me her three-year old boxer dog had suddenly become aggressive. He’d attacked another dog in the park and his owner had threatened legal action.
“Do you have any other dogs?” I enquired.
“Yes, we have a young west highland terrier.”
“How do they get along?”
“Oh, they play really well together.”
I asked her what she meant by ‘play’. I knew but I wanted her to tell me.
“They run around the garden and err…jump on each other.”
And there was the answer staring her in the face. Her once well-behaved boxer learned how to fight the moment she introduced another dog. Instead of teaching her youngster not to interfere with her older dog she encouraged them to ‘play’ together but pack animals don’t ‘play’ they practice fighting.
If you don’t believe me watch a litter of puppies and see how they search for the best point of leverage to flip another pup over or how much pressure they need apply with their teeth to gain an advantage. Owners call it ‘play’ but it isn’t, it’s fighting.
If you own more than one dog it’s very important to teach appropriate behaviour. Jumping on another dog, ‘play’ biting and wrestling should never be tolerated.
I teach all my dogs to be relaxed and calm but never to interfere with another dog.
That’s the way to have a happy sociable pack.