Question: What would cause my dog to get into a fight with another dog when he's never done that before? I took my dog over to a friend's to play with her dogs like I have done many times. We never had any problems in the past. My friend’s dog had a deer leg and my dog wanted it and attacked the other dog. The other dogs that were also there joined in! Why would they do this when in the past they were always fine? They were all socialized from an early age, have been with other dogs before and have been treated with tons of love and affection. Have our dogs turned bad?
Dogs live in the moment and at that moment the other dog had a bone and it became a dominance struggle as to which one was actually going to get the bone. Once a fight starts between dogs it is very hard to break it up because the levels of excitement are extremely high. The deer leg should have been taken away well before all of the dogs got together. If any of those dogs believed they were alpha it makes things that much worse. This is preventable by you yourself becoming 100% pack leader over your own dogs then learning the signs and stopping it from happening right BEFORE it happens—right when you see the first "look" from one of the dogs, and before the dog reacts, you give a correction to the offending dog. I recommend you tune into the Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel. If you do not get that channel there are DVDs for sale on Amazon.com. Watching the show will help you pick up on a dog’s body language and understand what it means. My own dogs, as good as they are, got into a fight over a dead animal once. They both wanted it and I missed my sign that a fight was going to break out. My fault for not seeing it coming.
Because the dogs got into a fight over a bone does not mean they are "bad" or "dangerous" dogs. The humans around them need to learn how to read the dogs, how to be 100% leader and know the signs that something might happen. (For example, taking that bone away.) Dogs need leadership before they need love and affection. I suggest you start pack-walking all the dogs at one time to reinforce humans are alpha over them. All dogs must be heeling on the walks. At the bottom of that page there are many links to other helpful articles.