Unfortunately, bullying among dogs occasionally occurs when several four-legged friends meet – for example, in the dog park or a playgroup. If your dog is a victim of bullying, it’s essential to protect them, so they don’t develop anxiety or behavioral problems. You can find out how best to intervene here.
Play can quickly turn into bullying among dogs when a four-legged friend ignores your pet’s signals to quit. As part of the group dynamic, other dogs can join the bully, and together they suppress and bully their “victim.” Often it is then: “They’ll work it out among themselves” or “Well, he has to go through with it, he should learn to defend himself!” – but that’s not true.
Why you shouldn’t condone dog bullying
When it comes to fights for rank, which are part of natural dog behavior, it is advisable to stay out of the way as a human and only intervene if the dog fight escalates. However, bullying among dogs has nothing to do with finding out who is stronger or who owns the territory. Instead, it is already clear who is inferior to whom, yet the stronger does not let go of the weaker. Your dog may then try to get out of the situation and look to you for protection. Then don’t send him back to the other animals because that will send him the wrong signal.
If you don’t protect him, your dog will learn that he cannot rely on you. If he finds himself in a bullying situation again, he may run away in fear or react aggressively to peers who resemble his bullies because he thinks the attack is the best form of defense. It is also possible that his fear develops into an anxiety disorder or his aggressive behavior spreads to other areas. After that, only an experienced animal psychologist or problem dog therapist can help.
Protecting your dog from bullies: tips
It is best to intervene immediately if you notice that your dog’s play partners seem overexcited and excited. Your four-legged friend shows by calming signals or other defensive reactions that he is no longer interested in the game. Then you may be lucky enough to prevent bullying among dogs. Therefore, it is essential only to let four-legged friends play with each other under the supervision and keep a close eye on them. If one of the dogs starts bullying your pet, ask the other dog owner to put their bully on a leash. Also, if you’re worried about your dog and think the other dog owner wasn’t paying enough attention, try to remain calm and friendly.
Please take your dog out of the play situation and on a leash unless he runs to you of his own accord so that you protect him. It is essential that you stay calm the whole time and don’t spread any rush. Otherwise, your pet will think they have every reason to be scared when even their favorite human gets nervous. Leave the scene and go for a relaxed walk. A quiet route where you don’t meet so many other dogs. It is advisable to find more suitable playmates for your four-legged friend in the future. After all, playing is part of regular dog social behavior, but it should be fun for everyone. The size, strength, temperament, age, and sex of the animals should be as similar as possible to prevent imbalances and bullying among dogs.