Understanding Dog Aggression

Aggression in dogs is a very serious behavior problem and should be dealt with right from the start.  Common signs of dog aggression include growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping and biting.

What most people do not understand is that while this kind of behavior is unacceptable to humans, it is quite natural for dogs to be aggressive.  Where dogs are concerned, there is always a good reason for aggressive behavior, the only problem is that their owners fail to acknowledge it.

Dog aggression can be reduced or even prevented as long as you, the owner, are willing to understand the factors that influence your dog's behavior.  A good rule is to treat any signs of aggression as they surface, rather than deal with aggression when it has become an issue. It is always easier that way.  It is also easier when you understand how important your role is and how your own behavior may contribute to the development of aggression problems in your dog.


Types of Dog Aggression

There are several types of dog aggression: Defensive or fear-based aggression, dominance aggression, possessive and territorial aggression, intra-sexual (male-to-male or female-to-female) or parental.  A dog may show more than one type of aggression.


What You Can Do When Your Dog Is Aggressive

When trying to deal with your dog's aggressive behavior, one of the first steps is to make sure there are no medical problems you are not aware of.  There is a chance that a health problem is responsible for your dog's aggressive behavior.  So, check with your veterinarian before you rule this one out.

Whatever you do, take precautions.  Keeping everyone safe is your main concern.  Since you are responsible for your dog's behavior, it would be a good idea to confine her, leash her or restrict your dog’s activities until you have found a way to deal with the problem.  If you feel that you can not control your dog or if you're afraid that your dog may bite someone then it's better that she wears a muzzle.  Remember, these are only temporary measures until you can get professional dog training help.

If you can identify the situations that cause most of your dog's aggressive behavior then you should avoid them at least for the time being.  Exposing your dog to situations where she is more likely to show aggression will work against you.

You can spay or neuter your dog.  Hormones are known to contribute to aggressive tendencies in intact dogs so it's more likely for them to show some kind of aggressive behavior.

Aggressive Dog Treatment

Get professional help.  An aggression problem will not go away by itself.  Treatment is best handled by a professional dog trainer who has a lot of experience working with aggressive dogs.  You wouldn't want to hire any dog trainer who is poorly qualified or anyone who uses excessive force and punishment in order to correct an aggressive dog.

Punishment won’t help, in fact, it will make the problem worse.  In most cases, the use of punishment will either challenge your dog's dominant position or make her more fearful, and therefore more aggressive.  It will help escalate the aggressive behavior and is more likely to result in a bite or a severe attack.

Most aggressive dogs can be retrained under the right circumstances.  However, before you start a program to correct an aggressive dog, you must realize that there is a chance your dog may never be trustworthy around other people or children and may bite if provoked. Consult veterinarians or animal behaviorists for their opinions about whether your dog can be rehabilitated or should be put down.


Professional dog trainers answer your questions about dealing with your dog's aggression problems:

Insights On Fixing Dog Dominance Aggression problems By Adam G. Katz

Dominant Jack Russell Terrier And Alpha Status By Adam G. Katz

Aggressive Beagle By Daniel Stevens

Dog Intra-Sexual Aggression (female to female) By Daniel Stevens

Abused Miniature Schnauzer Fear Aggression By Daniel Stevens

Dog Aggression and Genetics… By Adam G. Katz

Border Terrier Displaying Dominance Over Other Dogs And Owner By Daniel Stevens

Dog Neutering Against Aggression By Daniel Stevens

Dog Aggression Protecting Owner By Daniel Stevens

Dog Fear Aggression Against Family Member By Daniel Stevens


Helpful Tips & Tricks:

Spitting In Your Dog’s Food To Build Dominance - Revisited By Adam G. Katz


We will constantly add more free articles, tips and case studies on dog aggressive behavior so be sure to check back often. We support only the best resources to help you solve problems with your dog.



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