ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Dogs & Dog Breeds

Dog Behavior: Why a Dog Behaviorist is the Best Option When Dealing with Fighting Dogs

Updated on May 8, 2013
Dogs Fighting
Dogs Fighting | Source

Professional Help is a Must not an Option

It is one of the most frantic reasons dog owners seek the help of dog trainers and dog behavior experts and often one of the most complicated issues to deal with. Often these owners are crying, hoping for a miracle solution that will magically turn their canine companions into two social butterflies. Many times, there is a hint of disbelief in their voices, as they explain how the two dogs used to get along nicely as puppies and now every thing has abruptly changed.

Fights among dogs are one of the top reasons why dog owners call the top dog experts in the field to help them out. Often, the dogs got along pretty well until they reach social maturity; a time when they mature and suddenly start competing over resources and hierarchy. According to dog trainer and owner of Peaceable Paw, Pat Miller "Social hierarchies do exist in groups of domesticated dogs and in many other species, including humans, and hierarchy can be fluid".

The fights may be between same-sex dogs, a younger dog suddenly attacking an elderly dog, two dogs ganging up on a third dog, or fights over resources, to just name a few triggers. Regardless of the causes, the triggers and the sex, breed, age of the dogs involved, it is fundamental to seek professional help. Let's take a look on why it is so important to seek professional help rather than hoping the dogs will work it on their own or get better as times goes. In most of the cases, fights will erupt again, and if things are not addressed, they may intensify significantly.


Why a Professional Evaluation is a Must

  • A Professional Goes to the Root of the Problem

It is only by observing the behaviors of both dogs known for engaging in fights that a professional could evaluate and identify what exactly triggers these fights. A careful assessment would also entail a thorough interview about how the family interacts with the dogs followed by careful observation of body language of both dogs and an evaluation of how they interact.

  • A Professional Can Evaluate the Severity of the Fights

The professional is the best person to assess if the fighting are only scuffles or if there is much more than that. Generally, the occasional scuffle with no major happenings is often seen in multi-dog households. Generally these scuffles are more drama than anything because dogs as good conflict solvers primarily engage in ritualized aggression. Ritualized aggression consists of mostly symbolic displays of threats to bite but without actually resorting to biting.

While some dogs may be very dramatic in their displays when they are fighting, several times they rarely do any damage to each other, but other times they will bite and break the skin and the fights can easily get nasty. But of course, any fight may start little and grow intensely quickly. However, many dogs step over the boundary of ritualized aggression if they feel the situation grants it. This is when the situation intensifies leading to owners growing concerned.

  • A Professional May Suggest Behavior Modification Programs

Upon evaluating the situation, a behavior expert will suggest the most appropriate behavior modification program. At times, this entails management, ie, keeping dogs separated around resources, respecting hierarchical structures and polishing the owner's skills in diffusing potential fights from erupting. At times, in severe cases, a behavior expert may suggest keeping both dogs always separated or re-homing one in a household where he/she is the only dog.

  • A Professional Can do Follow-ups

When you hire a dog behavior specialist, you work with him throughout the issue. Most often than not, this is not a one time visit. Often, follow up visits are done and these experts are always a phone call away if more help is needed.

Who are These Professionals?

There are dog behavior experts and dog behavior experts and virtually anybody can call themselves dog behavior experts nowadays. At times, dog trainers can be well versed in helping with dog behavior problems, but at times they're not really the experts in the field. It is important for a dog trainer to step aside and refer to a specialist if they feel the situation grants more expertise. For severe cases, a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist are better options. Of course, good research is a must so to make a good choice. * Note, unless the behavior professional has a doctorate level graduate degree, he/she shouldn't use the term "behaviorist" but should rather use the term "behavior consultant, behavior counselor or behavior specialist."

Learn why you should stay away from trainers/behavior experts promising guarantees that your dog's behavior will be magically fixed once and for all, by reading:

Can Dog Behavior Problems be Fixed Once and For All?

Disclaimer: Please consult with a dog behaviorist if your dog is displaying aggressive behaviors. Only a dog behaviorist may see and assess behaviors and offer the most appropriate behavior modification program tailored for your dog. Use extreme caution and make safety your top priority. By reading this article you accept this disclaimer and assume full responsibility for any of your actions or lack of.

Would you hire a professional to help your dogs?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alexadry profile image
      Author

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks a bunch for stopping by, Waggamania!

    • Waggamania profile image

      Waggamania 5 years ago from Craven Arms, Shropshire, UK

      To get the help of a professional in dealing with dog aggression is good, sound advice. And 'Fight' by Jean Donaldson is an excellent book recommendation, in my view. Really valuable article alexadry.

    • Cosmic Bus profile image

      Cosmic Bus 6 years ago from Maryland

      This is exactly what has happened within our group of three, our female Boxer mix reached 11 months and she and our RatChi had a very intense fight which required stitches for the RatChi. Scary to see, and I was in tears, thinking we may have to rehome the Boxer after a year of putting tons of love, commitment, time, and money into her. We called in our trainer for a house call and she was a big help in recognizing triggers such as doorways and food, we are still working on it, and she will return tomorrow for another visit. Voted up, great information as usual!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)