You have a severe behavior problem on your hands if your dog growls, snaps, or bites on a frequent basis. Aggression is one of the most common reasons that dog owners seek the help of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. Larger dogs and so-called “dangerous breeds” aren’t the only breeds prone to aggression; any breed can become aggressive under the correct circumstances.
What Does It Mean For A Dog To Be Aggressive?
The first thought that comes to mind when someone says their dog is aggressive is that they have a dog that bites, however aggression can refer to a variety of behaviors. Some dogs keep their hostility in check and never do anything more than growl once in a while, while others attack other dogs or even people.
Whatever indicators of aggression your dog exhibits, the most important thing is to figure out what causes it. There are a variety of reasons why a dog may become aggressive, and determining the root cause will make treatment easier and more effective.
Why Do Dogs Get Aggressive?
Any conduct associated with an attack or an impending assault on a dog is referred to as aggressive behavior. This includes growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, and nipping or biting.
Aggression does not need to be directed at a specific individual. When certain dogs come into contact with other animals (cats but not other dogs), or inanimate objects such as vehicle wheels or yard equipment, they can become aggressive.
Signs That Your Pup Needs Aggression Training:
How can you tell if a dog is so scared that he is being aggressive? Knowing the answers to such questions might help you anticipate and, perhaps, prevent violent behavior. The following are the most common indications of dog aggression:
- Snapping and growling
- A stiff body and a rapidly wagging tail
- Yawning or licking one’s lips
- Averting the eyes
- Fur that has been raised
- Tail tucking and cowering
- Observing the whites of one’s eyes
6 Types You Can Categorize Aggression Into:
- Possession/Food; This sort of behavior, also known as resource guarding, is concentrated on a dog’s fixation with specific objects. It doesn’t matter if the item in question is their favorite toy, their bed, or a bowl of food; the result is always the same. Possessive aggressive dogs will retaliate promptly if another human (or a pet) approaches their stuff.
- Fear; Fear is a potent motivator for dogs, just as it is for humans. When confronted with a frightening circumstance, an anxious dog can either flee or fight, with fear aggressive canines opting for the latter. Fear aggressiveness in dogs, unlike most other forms of canine aggression, has no warning indications.
- Collar; If your dog is generally pleasant and quiet, but lunges, barks, and tries to bite as soon as you put on their leash, it’s a clear sign they’re leash-aggressive. This form of aggressive behavior is commonly directed at other dogs and results from your dog feeling constrained and frustrated by their leash.
- Social Situations; In this situation, it’s all about instincts. Because dogs are sociable animals that live in packs, there is a tight hierarchy in the family, even if you aren’t aware of it. Other pets may have a lower status, therefore a dominant dog will occasionally “remind” them who is in charge by demonstrating hostile body language.
- Pain-Induced; Dogs are excellent at masking their discomfort, but if something is hurting them, they may begin growling or nipping. Although this may appear to be aggressive behavior, it is essentially a protective strategy. Injured dogs, for example, have been known to bite their owners while attempting to aid, therefore caution is advised while touching a dog in distress.
How Can You Stop The Aggression?
- Consult Your Vet:
Consult your veterinarian if your dog isn’t usually aggressive but suddenly becomes hostile.
Hypothyroidism, painful injuries, and neurological issues including encephalitis, epilepsy, and brain tumors are all examples of health disorders that can lead to aggression.To see if this is the situation with your dog, consult your veterinarian. Your dog’s behavior might change dramatically with treatment or medication.
- Involve a Professional:
It’s time to consult a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist if your vet has ruled out a medical issue. Because aggression is such a serious issue, you should not attempt to treat it on your own. A specialist can assist you in determining what is causing your dog’s aggression and developing a plan to address it.Request a referral from your veterinarian or contact the Association of Professional Dog Trainers to find a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
- Make a Strategy:
A behaviourist or trainer can assist you in determining the best strategy for dealing with your dog’s hostility. To teach your dog new actions, you will mostly have to use positive actions.Start by standing far away from someone your dog doesn’t know if your dog is moderately aggressive toward strangers. You should be a safe distance away from your dog to avoid growling or snapping. Then, as you gradually reduce the distance between your dog and the stranger, continue to employ positive reinforcement by rewarding with lots of food and praise.
- Preventing Punishment:
Punishing your dog for aggressive behavior almost always backfires and makes the situation worse.
A growling dog may feel compelled to defend itself by biting you if you hit, yell, or use another aversive method to deal with it.Your dog might bite someone else without notice because of the punishment. A dog that growls at children, for example, is expressing that he is uncomfortable with them around. If you penalize a dog for growling, the next time he feels uneasy, he may bite instead of warning you.
- Take into Consideration Medication:
In some cases, training alone is insufficient. Aggressive dogs may require medicine to help them manage their behavior. It’s critical to realize that a dog suffering from fear, tension, or anxiety is unable to learn new things. Consider medicine as a tool to assist your dog in getting over this fear. Many dogs require medicine only for some time. Consult your veterinarian for more information. When things get better, you can also introduce your dog to your baby.
It’s not easy to live with an aggressive dog, but it’s also not the end of the world. It is a behavioral issue that can be resolved with proper socialization and training, despite the fact that it can appear frightening at times. Your dog could be a fearful, poorly socialized puppy beneath the snarling and snapping. Any aggressive or frightened dog can improve if given the opportunity.
The answer might range from a simple modification in routine to working with a professional dog trainer, depending on the degree of your dog’s aggression issues. Whatever option you and your dog choose, keep in mind that the work will be well worth it!