How To Discipline A Dog After Fighting?
[All you need to know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

As dog owners, you may be tempted to scold and shout at your dog after an aggressive encounter with another dog. As experienced dog trainers, let us give you a heads up that this is the last thing you want to do. What you must strive for is inculcating a sense of discipline in your pet.

Training them to be disciplined means you control how they behave, and only the owner gets to be dominant around the pup and no one else. So the question to be asked is, “How to instill discipline after a fight has occurred?”

This is what we will be exactly discussing in this article. We will share with you expert insights on ways to identify if a dog fight is serious, the things to avoid during a fight, as well as socialization of dogs post the duel.

We have a lot of ground to cover. So, let’s get straight to it.

Ways To Tell If A Dog Fight Is Intense

Dogs are creatures of habit; they have an internal bodily timetable and require a good leader to exhibit proper behavior. Notice the scenario or conditions when a fight occurs. If it happens around mealtime often, your dog may be angry out of hunger. 

If you have two dogs, they may be fighting to get your attention and affection. As a pet parent, make it a point to give equal amounts of love and care to both your buddies. If one dog feels like you love the other dog more, a fight will arise on most occasions out of jealousy.

Another point to keep in mind is material belongings like dog toys. Leaving them on the ground can lead to possession struggles and injuries. Make it a point to take away the toys to an inaccessible place once the playtime is done.

Some fights are just for fun and pass the time. But there are others that can escalate quite fast. The latter will have elements of growling, snarling, biting, and wrestling with physical injuries written all over it.

Being a dog owner, it can be a troubling scene to witness with several questions popping up in your head, such as whether to intervene in a violent tussle or if the fight is real or just a playful wrestle, etc. 

If you are faced with such a challenging situation, here are a few pointers to consider:

  • Dogs’ mouths are closed, and they are giving each other warning growls.
  • Their ears are pinned back at a flat angle.
  • Bodies appear to be stiff and rigid, and the hairs on their backs are standing upright.
  • One dog may be trying to get away, i.e., a submissive mindset, with their tail tucked between the legs.
  • Dogs’ movement is fast and agitated instead of playful jumping and bouncing.

Similarly, you can also check for some indicators that show that the fight is not serious:

  • The dogs’ mouths are open and wide, with grins.
  • The front half of the dogs’ body is downward facing while the back part looks upwards.
  • Both dogs tend to bounce around each other in circles.
  • They keep coming near each other for more.

Check for these common indicators to assess the seriousness of a dog fight. In the following section, we will delve into the actions not to be performed post a serious canine tussle.

Things To Avoid After A Dog Fight

Dog fights can be traumatic for the owners as well as for the dogs themselves. It can be a scary and emotionally taxing event. The critical aspect to note here is that your emotions should not dominate your logical thinking. 

The dogs might have moved on from the fight onto the next thing that pops up in their head. You, too, should do the same. Get on with the other daily affairs and try to remain calm and peaceful instead of sticking to the state of panic.

Let’s look at some pointers that speak about things best not to do once the duel is over.

  • Once the dog fight has come to its end, keep calm and take a few deep breaths to steady your emotions. Dogs can easily sense your feelings. So try to keep your body language and mood in a positive manner.
  • Quickly assess the gravity of physical damage inflicted on your dog. Ensure to check your dog’s mouth for any internal bleeding. Also, thoroughly examine their fur. If your buddy is a furry baby, bruises may need a closer look to be identified.
  • If they are bleeding, wipe off the running blood with a clean cloth until it halts. We strongly recommend you never involve yourself in self-treatment or providing medication. Always rush to the vet and get the injury checked out.
  • Once you have tended to your buddy, do check the situation of the other dog if possible. Place both the dogs in a secure area with a safe distance between both the fighters until things calm down.
  • It may so happen that the injuries are major due to the outcome of the fight. Inform the veterinarian and let them decide whether to start a course of antibiotics to prevent the build-up of infections.
  • It is recommended to keep the dogs apart for at least 48 hours to get them back to themselves and remain calm. Take care to feed, walk, or train them in separate locations to avoid another spark of aggression.

We have so far discussed what not to do after a fight between dogs. Let’s look at how to socialize them after the cool-off period. This is a crucial step and needs to be done with care and patience.

Steps To Reintroduce Dogs After A Serious Fight

Ebbing the flow of aggression between two dogs that live together can be a mind-numbing task indeed. Remaining calm and collected in your resolve makes the difference between peace and further violence.

Based on our team of expert dog trainers’ guidelines and experience, we have listed some steps you can implement to make sure that the reintroduction is smooth and seamless for both parties involved.

  • Never aim for a compromise meeting on the battlefield itself. Bring both the dogs in a neutral location, in a collared and leashed state. Seek help from a second person to manage the other dog. If you notice any aggressive reaction from either of them, increase the distance between them immediately. 
  • Slowly start walking along a path with the dog. After ensuring that the other dog and the helper are at least 25-30 feet far away, signal them to walk along the same path. Repeat this process until both the dogs are side-to-side. In case of any acts of anger, stop bringing the dogs closer right away. 
  • When both of them start walking together without any issues, halt and allow them a few seconds to interact. This is a sign of tensions getting released. 
  • Repeat the previous steps a few times and if there are no further acts of aggression. Your job is done, and you guys can safely return home. 
  • When you are back home, let the dogs interact more, provided they are still on leash. Repeat this a few times without human supervision always in place. This will be necessary in case things go haywire. If it turns out well, move on to the next step. 
  • When the comfort levels are high, and if you are 100% confident of their interactions, you can think of unleashing them, provided there is someone to intervene. If there is no supervision, it is always safer to separate the dogs.

Some Additional Pointers

Based on our experiences at the dog training center, canines can still get along after an aggressive duel. Gradual and consistent training to back off when there is an urge to fight can prove extremely useful.

It also helps if you strictly follow a timetable for their daily activities. Having meals on time, walks or physical exercises at regular intervals, etc., can lead to good behavior among dogs. Cement this positive behavior using reinforcement techniques. Reward them their favorite treats and talk to them using comforting words. Nothing gives trained dogs more satisfaction than pleasing their masters. 

Equality is a virtue that dogs take with paramount importance. If you have two or more puppies at home, make it a point to give them equal amounts of food, toys, affection, and so on. Dissatisfaction and jealousy can escalate anger in no time. This scenario is the last thing you want to witness as a loving dog parent.

One of the huskies in our training center used to give out a moan seeing trainers pat and play with her twin. Just like humans, canines also are capable of showcasing some weird behaviors. We suggest you act vigilantly and learn from your furry friend’s body language and gestures to avoid unwanted fights and clashes.

Excessive episodes of aggression are not something to be ignored. It demands immediate medical attention. Therapy can be a great option to calm down temperamental pups. We have seen numerous successful cases of improvements in dog behavior after a few weeks of therapy sessions. 

In addition, peer socialization from a young age can also help regulate anger build up as they grow into the adult phase. Knowing well to interact with other dogs makes things easier for your dog and you, the owner.

Wrapping Things Up

Can dogs get along after a dirty fight? In most cases, the answer is yes. Provided you follow a disciplined approach to gain order and command over your dog(s) after serious fights. Never deal violence with more of the same. That will only lead to a worse outcome, which you do not want.

Separate the two doggies and assess the damage caused. Always consult your trusted vet for treating injuries, as self-treatment can prove to be fatal for your buddy. In case you are having problems while training your dog post an intense duel, never hesitate to seek the guidance of a seasoned dog trainer. They will provide you with a training regimen customized to your dogs.

Reintroduction is a tricky step that needs to be handled carefully with utmost patience. As we discussed in this article, make sure to follow each step with diligence. And be sensible enough to take a step back in case the dogs still have a tendency to attack each other. 

We sincerely hope you could receive some valuable tips and insights from our experts’ perspective on this topic. Do follow these steps with discipline and rigor for best outcomes.