Can dogs be a bully?

dog bullying

Can dogs be a bully? Yes a dog can be a bully when it comes to dog to dog interactions. This doesn’t mean the dog is mean or aggressive. Most bullies are dogs that have some issues with their social skills. Dogs get all worked up and don’t know how to interact and cannot understand the other dogs body language that are indicating to stop or they need space. Most dogs that get bullied are ones that are usually fearful, timid and like their space.


What dogs tend to get bullied more?

Dogs that are timid and good-natured are easy targets for bullying. Keep in mind that we have to distinguish between what healthy play is or bullying at all times.

Here are some signals that a dog might be getting bullied?

Here are some signs to look out for to distinguish if a dog may be getting bullied:

  • Tail tucked between legs
  • Dog rolls over on its belly
  • Yawns, licks lips, tongue flicks
  • Being mounted repeatedly
  • Constantly trying to hide or run away
  • Panic barking while backing up (eg. rapid bark)
  • Always being chased and never does the chasing (demeanor shifting)
  • Dogs are stealing their food or toys
  • Sniffing to long is very rude in doggie world
  • Body slamming
  • Trying to constantly elicit play when other dog is not interested
  • Being in a dog’s face and being persistent when other dog is not inviting this
  • Any kind of intimidating behaviors (pushing, being pushy etc)

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What to do if you notice bullying?

We can teach the all dog involved by using lots of positive reinforcement for all good behaviors.Teach cues so you have more verbal compliance whenever needed especially when a dog is over aroused. Plan on giving the dog doing the bullying slow exposure to all dog interactions. Therefore socializing more and his social skills will get better.

Also teach the dog getting bullied more basic obedience to build more confidence. Socialize more around well behaved dogs that will also build confidence.

This takes time and if your dog is consistently getting bullied by the same dog remove your dog. It is not good for a dog to be getting bullied constantly! If you notice any dog not playing well with another dog getting always intervene and manage!

Bullying in dog parks and with multi dog to dog interactions is a common thing that often gets left unnoticed. In lots of these occasions many good dogs get ruined by this exposure and bad experience.

It is every owners responsibility to learn canine body language and what healthy play is and is not! It is important to understand positive doesn’t mean permissive and we can always intervene without causing fear or using force.

Follow us for more blogs on canine behavior. Always trust your gut and go slow! Always watch every dog’s body language for any signs of stress! It is our job to help set every dog and human interaction up for success! We never let a dog get bullied and hope they work it out! For more on when to intervene in doggie play groups.


Vinny Olito CPDT-Ka, CCDT

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