If you own a dog, you can probably vouch that the most commonly asked question at every dog-park throughout the planet is “male or female?!”. It often supersedes more common greetings like ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’.
The reason is because many of us have male dogs who are more likely to fight other male dogs and females who are more likely to fight other females. But why? Why can’t all dogs be cool with each other like they are with people?…why can’t’ everyone just get along?
Many believe it has to do with dominance. That’s not completely true however. If the only reason was ‘dominance’, your male dog would want to dominate female dogs and vice versa. And that brings us to the reason.
First off, I am not a scientist or veterinarian. I am a professional dog trainer who has observed canine behavior for several decades isolating behavior patterns with successful;l results. I also have a deep enough knowledge of wolf/canine behavior in general to arrive at a logical conclusion.
So to understand the reason for same-sex violence amongst dogs, you need to understand one primal instinctive behavior embedded in all canines.
And that is that every new dog is a potential threat. Throughout history, every new canine that makes contact with the wolfpack is seen as a threat. A threat to their food, a threat to their territory and a threat to the leadership of the pack. Basically, a threat to their survival. This means that for many of today’s domesticated dogs, the instinct to challenge or fight a new dog is carved into the dog’s DNA.
So I know what you’re thinking-if that’s the case, then why don’t females fight with males and males fight with females? Why don’t all dogs just fight all dogs? Why are they so sexist about who they fight? Are they just gentlemen?…Actually, they kinda are.
And here lies the answer. The same way the instinctive reaction to fight dogs of the same sex is hard-wired into the DNA of many of today’s domesticated canines, is the same way the potential for mating is also carved into their primal behavior.
In other words-although the male realizes that the female is a potential threat, the prospect of mating with that female overrides the potential threat. So in layman’s terms, for a male dog, the instinctive chance of getting laid will almost always trump the perception of the female as a threat to its survival. And the precise inverse is true of females when they meet males. The hope of intercourse will outweigh physical or survival based threats from the opposite sex almost without fail.
This is true even if your male is neutered or your female is spayed. Some natural instincts are simply indestructible.
So what’s the solution? Stay tuned for future blogs where I attack dog-on-dog aggression.
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