Why do some dogs dislike other dogs?

Most dog owners who socialised their dogs regularly from a young age are blessed with friendly dogs who tend to interact and get along well with other dogs. However it is perfectly normal for even the friendliest dogs to take a dislike to a couple of other dogs. They can show this by being scared and running away from other dogs, simply refusing to play with other dogs, or even becoming aggressive at other dogs. But why? The truth is there are many other possible reasons:
  1. Not everyone is going to like everyone else! There are many reasons why your dog likes some dogs more than others. There could be something in the other dog’s body language, or perhaps even a smell, that your dog just doesn’t like.
  1. Your dog may have had a bad experience with a similar dog. For example, your dog may have been attacked once by a medium-sized white dog which makes it nervous around all similar sized white dogs.
  1. Your dog may be acting protective of you or other members of its perceived ‘pack’. If it perceives another dog is a potential threat, your dog could get aggressive quickly.
  1. Your dog may consider itself the alpha dog and be attempting to assert dominance over the other dog. This usually occurs between dogs of the same sex.
Even after reading and understanding these possible explanations, it may be difficult to know which one, if any, explain the issues your dog has with particular dogs. Try observing your dog in different situations to see if any clues come up. If you are still unsure and afraid the problem is getting dangerous, speak with your vet or a qualified behaviour specialist.


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