Dog aggression is a major concern for owners. It is one of the top reasons dog owners seek help from professional dog trainers and animal behaviorists. Any dog breed is prone to aggression under the right circumstances.
It is impossible to expect to cure dog aggression overnight, however, there are steps dog owners can take to help their dog to remain calm while curbing the aggression.
Aggressive behavior in dogs is identified by any behavior a dog exhibits that is connected with an attack or an impending attack. This is through growling, sudden stillness or rigid behavior, baring teeth, biting and lunging. The first step in curbing dog aggression is identifying what is causing your dog’s aggression. Some dogs are aggressive towards people while others show aggression towards other dogs or towards inanimate objects. In other cases, dogs are bred for traits that can be a factor that actively promotes aggressive behavior. Guard dogs, for instance, are bred to protect property and people. These are natural instincts for a dog, however, owners should provide proper training to ensure that these types of dogs display aggression in appropriate situations only.
TYPES OF DOG AGGRESSION
Fear aggression: This is the most common type of dog aggression. Fear aggression occurs when a dog is fearful and tries to retreat from the object of its fears but then resorts to attacking when cornered.
Territorial aggression: Occurs when a dog defends its space or home from what it deems to be an intruder.
Possessive aggression: Also known as resource guarding, is when a dog protects its food, toys and any object of value to it.
Defensive aggression: Is similar to fear aggression, in this case, the dog attacks in defense and does not consider retreating first.
Social aggression: Dogs that are not trained to be social with other dogs or people may exhibit aggression. Other times the dog reacts aggressively to other dogs as a form of determining a hierarchy.
Protective aggression: Also known as maternal aggression is when a dog becomes hostile towards anyone or anything that is deemed a threat to the members of the dog’s pack or to its puppies.
Frustration-aggression: Otherwise known as barrier/restriction aggression is when a dog behaves aggressively when it is restricted by a leash or barred by a fenced yard.
Redirected aggression: When a dog is restricted from reaching the target of its hostility it might become aggressive to its owner or other people and dogs.
Pain aggression: When a dog is injured and in pain, it may show aggression because of fear and intense pain.
Predatory aggression: The dog behaves aggressively when displaying predatory behavior. Its instincts kick in while chasing wildlife, this may become dangerous if the dog is playing chase with a child, the dog may resort to biting.
When a dog behaves aggressively it is important to note down the circumstances surrounding the dog’s behavior. Call in a professional at once, the information you provide will assist the vet or dog behaviorist to make a complete diagnosis and to administer proper treatment. Dogs that aren’t normally aggressive might have underlying medical problems. Consult a vet to determine whether this is the case with your dog. Treatment and medication may result in big improvements in your dog’s behavior.
If your vet has ruled out a medical problem, it is time to call in an animal behaviorist or professional dog trainer. A professional can help to identify the causes of your dog’s aggression and will help to create an effective plan to manage your dog’s aggression.
Punishing your dog for aggressive behavior will only worsen the situation. If you respond to an aggressive dog by hitting or any aversive methods, the dog might defend itself by biting you, or other people nearby.
Dog owners should learn how to avoid situations that encourage aggressive behavior in their dogs. Knowing the signs of aggression in dogs will help dog owners to help curb the problem before it spirals out of control. Consulting animal behaviorists and visiting the vet are essential when dealing with dog aggression, a little retraining might help to mellow out your dog.