Dog Aggression is a serious dog behavior issue, but can be stopped once you understand the cause of aggression in your dog.
Looking at it through the eyes of your dog, they would always tell you that there is a good explanation for the aggressive behavior which is causing so much stress and is so potentially dangerous.
Your neighbor, Giuseppe, may want to run up and say hi to your dog with all good intentions, but your dog may think that Giuseppe is acting in a threatening manner, and therefore displays defensive aggressive behavior as protection.
Causes of Dog Aggression
Your dog’s family history is an important factor in determining the source of dog aggression. Some dogs have a greater propensity for dog aggression than others. For example, a pit bull may be a more dog aggressive than a poodle.
Your dog’s upbringing, his socialization or lack thereof, can be another significant cause of aggressive behavior. This should be a major reason for every dog owner to properly socialize their dog as early as possible, preferably starting in puppy hood. Improper socialization is also evidenced in dogs that are abused or pampered when disobedient.
Types of Dog Aggression
Dominant-Aggression– This type of behavior is evident when your dog’s status within the pack (your household) or the community (other dogs and/or people) is threatened.
Fear Aggression: This type of behavior is evident when your dog become frightened and believes that his physical safety is at risk.
Protection Aggression– This type of behavior is evident when your dog believes that he must protect something or someone. This type of aggressive behavior may also be manifested as Territorial or Possession Aggression, when your dog displays aggressive behavior to prevent danger to someone or something that he controls or owns. Similar in nature, they vary primarily by the factual setting where they are occur.
Redirection Aggression– remember Giuseppe the neighbor who wanted to say hi in our first example? Well, suppose that another neighbor comes over and is unfriendly toward your dog. He might throw a rock at him. Your dog gets riled up, his anger starts to boil.
The rock throwing neighbor hops the fence and leaves. Guess what might happen? Yup, Giuseppe might be on the receiving end of growling or in the worse case scenario, a bite.
Here’s 4 Ways to Stop Dog Aggression
You must understand that dog aggression is a serious and dangerous situation. While it can be corrected and stopped from being a problem, the first step that you must take is to protect your family. Your dog must be under vigilant supervision when around people. Don’t take your aggressive dog for a walk without a muzzle. Don’t let your aggressive dog loose to roam the neighborhood or the dog park.
Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup. Dog aggression can be caused by a medical problem which is affecting your dog’s behavior due to a chemical imbalance, irritability, fever or other causes. If this is the cause, your veterinarian can provide a treatment protocol to heal the medical condition and in the process lessen or eliminate the aggression in your dog.
Spay/ Neuter– Dog Aggression is less evident in female dogs that have been spayed and male dogs that have been neutered. If you are making an appointment at the vet for a checkup, this might be a good time to get this safe and beneficial procedure performed.
Not only will you make progress toward the elimination of dog aggression but you will also be doing something to help your dog live a long and healthy life. Dogs that have been spayed /neutered have less incidence of certain cancers and this is a great reason to have the procedure.
And, of course, controlling the surplus population of unwanted puppies and dogs that are often euthanized at dog shelters is another wonderful bonus.
See a professional dog trainer who has experience with resolving dog aggression issues. Different dog trainers will have different approaches. Ask the trainer about his philosophy of handling behavior issues and make sure that you are comfortable with his approach. Our preference is for dog trainers that have training as dog behavioralists.
Keep your dog away from situations that are likely to provoke aggression. This may mean no playing in the yard or walks in the neighborhood until a dog trainer has helped you resolve this unwanted behavior. If he exhibits signs of aggression when he is in your car, you should avoid taking him into the car.
By isolating from the place where his territoriality reigns, you will not have to deal with this type of behavior until the root cause is identified and corrected.
When dealing with dog aggression it is critical that you remember this important rule. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, STRIKE OR PUNISH YOUR DOG. Your actions will only intensify the problem you are trying to resolve and in the case of physical punishment, is also inhumane and unlawful.
Your dog needs your help. He will reward you with loyalty, love and companionship for the rest of his life.