Why would a dog that has never shown aggression get overly aggressive with a puppy?

asked 2018-12-10 02:13:15 -0600

I have a two year old neutered male Cardigan Corgi that has never shown any aggression to dogs or people. He was well socialized as a pup and I take him lots of places, including a dog park. He's been the beloved star of the dog park -- until today. Not only has he never shown aggression at the park, he's only rarely "talked back" to other dogs getting too rough with him.
He does get very wound up to go the park, primary to chase tennis balls. (He is now much more excited about the opportunity to play ball than play with other dogs.) Today for some reason he got aggressive with a four month old golden retriever pup to the point of breaking skin. It started with playing that escalated to dominating whenever she got too close to him and ended when he drove her off with some bites to the top of her head, enough to produce specks of blood. He stopped when I yelled and came when called. It really felt like his frenzy over playing ball boiled over, but I've never seen him act like that before, although he does seem to be getting more and more protective of the ball. Any insights? He is such a reliably good natured guy -- this has just thrown me for a loop and I'm reluctant to take him anywhere until I better understand what's going on. I will be taking him to the vet this week to be checked over.

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete


Moat aggressive dogs in my experience give puppies a pass, meaning they wont hurt them as they are not a threat. guess is things just got a little too out of hand just like when ppl have conflicts. I wouldnt be concerned the puppy is just being put in its place. Your corgi is too small to hurt bad.

Eric P.'s profile image Eric P.  ( 2019-01-30 06:18:10 -0600 ) edit

2 Answers

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted
answered 2019-04-03 11:58:25 -0600

Some medical conditions can cause dogs to become aggressive. If a dog that has never shown any sign of aggression suddenly begins growling, snapping, or biting, it may be caused by a disease or illness. Pain is an especially common cause of aggression in dogs

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2018-12-12 23:34:56 -0600

There's a lot you're missing that the dogs are communicating. Dogs use a series of behaviors to communicate feeling/intent with each other, and exhibit calming signals to de-stress interactions. Check out Rurid Turgas on the internet for more information. This brief Youtube video is also helpful: https://youtu.be/A_7dl4c-IrM

edit flag offensive delete link more


Thanks for responding! I watched the video and I have a question. I've seen those sorts of interactions with my dog at the dog park. Is it possible the pup was escalating tension between them? She was not acting submissive like my dog did as a pup and still does with certain dogs.

Nancy J.'s profile image Nancy J.  ( 2018-12-17 20:01:06 -0600 ) edit

It's possible, but it could have been the pup was ignoring the language your dog was communicating, in its desire to play. That said, it's ultimately your responsibility for your dog's actions. Sometime that means avoiding situations..like dog parks..where the risk of a situation increases.

Cindy & Stephen G.'s profile image Cindy & Stephen G.  ( 2018-12-18 17:42:47 -0600 ) edit

100% agree about dog parks, at least for now. I've made the rookie mistake of assuming an excited dog is a happy dog, and I was indulging his super-enthusiasm for the dog park and ball play there. I'm going to be working with a trainer on recall. He's usually good about it, but not when he's ramped.

Nancy J.'s profile image Nancy J.  ( 2018-12-18 17:52:23 -0600 ) edit

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account. This space is reserved only for answers. If you would like to engage in a discussion, please instead post a comment under the question or an answer that you would like to discuss

Add Answer