Play vs. Aggression


Well-Known Member
Obviously big aggressive signs I can spot. But sometimes I can't really spot the growing aggression from other dogs until Bella hides behind my legs.

One example is that there are two different owners of a pack of huskies. One owner's dogs talk a lot at a low growl/howl. They will sniff Bella and chase her a bit but they've never done anything mean. I believe the owner when she says the growl is just communication. The other owner of huskies, however, says the same thing but his dogs have a different growl that sounds much more menacing. Those dogs have ganged up and knocked Bella over several times, so I now avoid them.

So I've learned over time now that some owners seem not to really understand their dogs, so is there a way for me to? I think Bella and I have been lucky so far in that I've broken things up so she's never gotten really hurt...but I don't want to be lucky, I want to be sure.

Also, can Bella adopt aggressive tendencies from aggressive dogs at the park?

Forgive me if these questions seem silly....first time dog owner musings.


New Member
Okay... Well first of all with the huskies the first pack it sounds like they were just communicating. My husky does this when people come in our yard he'll sit on the steps and give what is called a hello howl, and not a warning growl(Some people are affraid of this but I reassure them that it is his way of saying HI.

Secondly here are a few signs to watch for staring directly at other animals,raised hackles, pulling against the leash to get to the other animal, a stiff tail held up forward, as well as the obvious growling, snarling and biting. Also watch for signs of excitment(whining or crying) as it could quickly turn into aggression.

Now here is a list of things to do if a dog fight does occur:
1.) Make a loud noise perferably banging on a garbage can.
2.) Pour water on the fighting dogs.
3.) Get your dog to a safe area after the fight, calm him down and check for injuries.

Jean Cote

Staff member
I recommend that you read or watch 'Calming Signals' by Turid Rugaas. Great information on how dogs communicate with each other. It will help you understand more clearly what is happening when your dogs play together, or when you are around a dog.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the feedback. I'll definitely watch for those signs on the dogs next time we're at the park.

On your recommendation, I've looked up Turid's website...sounds like exactly what I need!

So to build on your advice, I'll provide the link to the website for anyone else. :)


Experienced Member
i also strongly recommend turid's book calming signals has edition that comes with a dvd. yes ur dog can adopt aggressive things from the other dogs, he can also become very fearful or traumatized.

for the same reason i don't go to dog parks. there are too many irresponsible owners there that do not have control over their dogs and allow many horrible things to happen when they aren't watching. many use the dog park as exercise and go pop open a book and ignore the dogs.

the right candidate for a dog park is one that is well exercised and socialized. he should be in control and watched the entire time. i suggest if you really like going to do things with your dog like a group walk while you are there and engage your dog and the others he greets and plays with. work on a really solid recall and call him often and randomly before it's time to go so coming is not the end of the fun but a great food reinforced thing he does without thinking.

and yes husky's do growl to talk but if your dog doesn't understand that it may be very scary.