What is a misconception about dogs and aggression? That dogs are always aggressive! While it may be true that some breeds are more “aggressive” than others, the fact is that most dogs are passive, quiet, and non-threatening. It’s when a dog feels threatened that he becomes aggressive. And it’s true. Some dogs are so fearful that they will bite even their owners who are trying to protect them. If you are having an aggressive dog, read on to uncover how to stop him from being aggressive.
Anxiety and fear are the leading causes of aggressive behaviors in dogs, particularly if they had a scary past. A dog that has been abused before will be in fears of a specific object, person, or another animal.
In addition, he will also exhibit aggressive behavior when he feels that his space or property is being compromised and many factors (including fear, dominance, territory, and defense) can be at play when a dog becomes aggressive towards his owner or other pets. Things such as collars, ropes, or muzzles can also be contributing factors.
More severe aggressive behaviors include mouthing, snarling, and biting. These are serious, but can be controlled with early intervention. Early socializing your dog with other dogs and people is important, as adult dogs often reflect the behavior of his younger days.
If your dog was removed from his mother when he was very young, this may prevent him from socializing with others. It is interesting that even in puppies, with their mother around, there is also a tendency for them to shy away from contact. Obviously, it is vital to recognize the signs of a fearful or aggressive dog, so that you can overcome him with love, a little more socialization, and a little more patience.
If your dog is not spayed or neutered, this may be another contributor to his aggressiveness and you should handled him with extra care. Spaying or neutering a dog will reduce or eliminate some, but not all, aggressive behaviors.
An aggressive dog wants to be the alpha dog, and will insist on marking his territory; this includes your home. He may be responding to stress – caused by surprise, a tense atmosphere, or a threatening situation. A dog will also display submissive behavior, such as a head tilt or down, as he tries to let you know he isn’t feeling threatened enough to warrant a physical reaction.
If you have a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety, your dog may lash out at you or at anyone else in the home when he is left alone. This can be dangerous, both for the person being attacked and for the dog.
Fear based aggression is often a response to being scared or attacked, and can include snarling, biting, aggressive barking and baring teeth. A dog that has grown to be fearful of certain situations, or any individual, will also feel nervous if there is a threat – whether it’s human or otherwise.
It does not really matter why he is afraid; the presence of a threat makes the nervous dog defensive. This type of aggressive behavior that comes from fear, can be tough to conquer.
Another situation that may cause dog aggression is – if your dog is threatened by another species of animal, such as an angry cat (if you do keep another pet at home). Dogs can have very strong territorial instincts, so this can be a difficult situation. If the situation continues to escalate, the dog may just plain attack.
If this happens, the best thing to do is to take the dog into another room and keep him away from the other animal. You should then slowly try to back off. At this point, be careful not to look into the eyes of the dog as he may see this as a challenge.
Some dogs, as they get older, will not be as tractable as they once were. This means they may develop arthritis, which makes them more prone to be aggressive. If you have a dog that is growling at you, it may be due to pain caused by arthritis, just like when people get older. Your dog is simply trying to let you know it’s hurting. Whatever the case may be, avoid aggressive behavior towards your dog, as that will only make it worse.
If you punish him for growling, he will learn to use growling as a form of aggression, and you will have a real problem on your hands.
Sometimes, a dog will attack people without provocation, especially if those people are “strangers” to him or he isn’t too comfortable with them. This is why it’s important to learn how to prevent aggressive dog behavior. Follow these tips to deter a potential bite.
A dog will display aggressive behavior for a number of reasons and of course, the breed of the dog plays a role. Remember, all breeds are going to have their own personalities. As you can guess, some dogs are more aggressive than others. Remember also that if you have a mixed breed dog, he will have some other “special” characteristics that you need to be mindful of. Always keep this in mind when you are considering taking on a new dog , as you will want to make sure you choose the best breed for you.
Eliminating aggression requires you to be patient, constant and consistent. Training techniques such positive reinforcement, praise and rewards had been proven to work very well for training dogs to be obedient. As soon as your dog starts to show any signs of aggression, you should divert his attention by saying a firm “No” loudly. This should get your dog’s attention and make him stop what he is doing.