Dog to dog aggression question


Well-Known Member
1 May 2007
I'm hoping someone in here will be able to give me some insight on this.......? I have 2 dogs - a completely pointless working pointer who is now a bit senile at 15 yrs old but has never really had more than 2 brain cells to rub together, and a feisty, self opinionated little hitler of a lakeland terrier who's 5 yrs old now.

The terrier has always needed a policeman's helmet on - he's always on the lokout for something that's not right, and if he deems it to be anything even remotely out of order he'll go in and sort it out with force......for example - if the pointer is 'misbehaving' in his eyes by not going out or coming in the door fast enough he'll have a go at her - which she accepts because she's by nature completely submissive.

The thing is I accept that he's not had enough dog on dog socialising. He's a super dog with people - very friendly, very intelligent and fun to be with. He's just a real no go with other dogs because he always seems to be on guard ready to take it on himself to correct their misbehaviour (in his eyes). I've always thought it was just him, but in the last few months my husband has been taking him out a lot - walking and mountain biking. He tells me that there are some dogs that he meets that just attack our terrier without provocation. I've always thought that our dog starts things, but I'm told that that's no longer the case - that he seems to bring out the worst in pretty much every dog he meets. My husband tells me that today he met a very well behaved setter. Our terrier is always on the lead (unreliable recall) and that he hadn't even seen the setter. The setter had been called to heel and made to sit by its owner whilst my husband and our 2 dogs went past. From quite a distance away and without warning or provocation the setter suddenly ran at our terrier and knocked him to the ground really having a go, snarling and snapping. Suprisingly the terrier didn't do anything back.

The setter owner was mortified and apologised profusely saying the dog had never done anything like that before. There was no harm done, so no worries, but my husband says that there are many dogs on that walk that 'hate' our terrier and go for him without provocation and the owners all say that he's the only dog they meet that provokes that reaction.

Do certain dogs attract bad feeling from other dogs? Is there anything I can do to change this?

When I picked him up from the breeder as a puppy I was told (after I had paid and he was in the crate in the car) that the whole litter had to be separated or they would have fought to the death...normally there would have been a pecking order established, but in this litter not one of them would give any ground........

Advise please from all you dog gurus........!?!


I'm Dill Dandon
15 January 2008
The shadows, apparently.
Couple of points - from a not-guru :p

He is a terrier and they often have a natural inbuilt 'fight' especially working lines

The doorway? Entry and exit points are often a source of conflict when there are multiple dogs in the household - establish a pecking order or simply don't allow dogs to enter and exit the room whenever they feel like it. Ask for a sit, and look at you, and don't go through the door until you say so.

The setter - was made to sit. Mexican Standoff, tension builds as another dog approaches, moving freely, while he was made to stay still - best to keep all dogs moving along smartly.

What way is your dog marked? Is he docked? These things can have a bearing too in terms of how other dogs 'read' them.

Also bear in mind that dogs give off vibes we cannot even perceive.

My young dog has been attacked several times. He is black and fluffy, I don't know if this has any bearing :p he ignores it and gets on with his life. He is a feisty little thing himself but never fights back.

In a pack, there is often a dog like yours! The lawmaker!

Rose Folly

Well-Known Member
29 June 2010
North East Somerset
A few things I've observed from dog training classes (I've owned dogs all my life but while experienced am no expert on dog behaviour).

We're at dog training class because my dog (a foxhound x Dalmatian - probably) has issues with dogs on leads. He is actually a coward, but goes into aggressive mode to cover this. Because I'm so aware that he has attitude, I've started observing all the other dogs very closesly as well.

1. Dogs, for some reason, do not seem to like black dogs. There's a most sweet-tempered flat-coat retreiver who wouldn't say boo to a goose. When he goes out to do his bit one dog or another will always have a lunge at him

2. there's a boxer, again a very gentle, but playful fellow. All the other dogs, mine included are horrid to him. Our trainer explained it is partly because of dogs' interpretation of other dogs' faces - i.e. flattened noses and bulbous eyes are not a true dog to them

3. Dogs on leads do bring out the worst in othere dogs, and can behave far worse than when running loose. If I have to pass an oncoming walker I just press briskly on, as Cave Canem says, but with the dog on the side of me that is farthest from the oncoming dog. This says to him "Don't worry, not your problem, I'm in charge". (This may not be easy for your husband when he is running or mountain biking).

4. Get the dogs to meet as many people and dogs as you possibly can arrange. Our village have been very tolerant of our boy's behavious (he was, like all have been, a rescue dog from the local Dogs' Home). As the penny has very slowly dropped that I will stop and talk to nice people, who are then nice to him, and that their dogs don't kill him (though he has richly derseved it at times) he has become more affable.

Don't despiar; these things can be sorted out. A nice trainer would be a help - someone objective who will maybe come and see your dog in situ with his issues, and to whose classes you could go.

Alec Swan

Well-Known Member
20 October 2009
He`s a Lakie! Perfectly normal,likes to keep the entire Parish in order,and beyond if possible.Love `em.:D
There's always that to it!! ;) I have a love/hate relationship with terriers, with a preference for the latter!! Wilful bloody things, which is their attraction, in part!! :D

To the original question, yes there are certain dogs who attract aggressive behaviour from others, and people too!

It seems surprising to me, how all so many dogs will recognise their own kind. My sheep dogs seem to accept others of their kind, former GSDs have done the same, and the most aloof of lurchers will willingly approach greyhounds and other coursing dogs, while flatly refusing to lower themselves to the standard of talking to the unclean!!



Well-Known Member
2 February 2011
Wildest Somerset
I dont see your dog as being true dog aggressive just a feisty little terrier with attitude.

As to why he is being attacked by other normal placid dogs Ive no idea, is he neutered?. I would say he would benefit from a good behavourist who could pin point what is happening, there is body language going on which is being picked up by other dogs but only someone really experienced can tell you why this is happening.


Well-Known Member
13 October 2009
There are some dogs which always seemed to get picked on - there was a JRT in my local town and it had been blinded - due to dogs attacking it. It would be walking with its owner and dogs would just appear to attack.

My friend has a lovely choc lab bitch but she must have "eat me" stamped somewhere on her. She is a friendly easy going dog and has been attacked on numerous occassions. Dogs actively seem to seek her out.

My middle staff can get defensive with big strange dogs - he was badly attacked by a large black dog when only 4 months old. But at the yard, when he has to meet new dogs if we can all go down the fields together they all come back best of friends.