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How To Stop Aggressive Behavior In Dogs

You have a severe behavioral problem on your hands if your dog growls, snaps, or bites on a frequent basis. One of the most common reasons dog owners seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist is aggression. Larger dogs and so-called “dangerous breeds” aren’t the only breeds prone to aggression; any breed can become aggressive under the correct circumstances. Although aggression cannot be eliminated overnight, you may take efforts to reduce aggressive behavior and assist your dog remain calm.
Dog looking out the window

Why Do Dogs Behave Aggressively?

Any conduct associated with an attack or an impending assault by a dog is referred to as aggressive behavior. Examples of aggressive behavior are growling, snarling, baring teeth etc. In order to stop this behavior, you must first determine what generates your dog’s aggressiveness. When someone approaches aggressive dogs while they’re eating or chewing a bone, for example, some dogs growl. Aggression does not have to be directed towards a specific person. Some dogs become violent when they are near other animals, but only certain animals (cats but not other dogs), or inanimate items such as vehicle wheels or yard equipment.

Golden retriever

The important thing to remember is that you can’t come up with a plan to change your dog’s behavior until you understand why it’s happening. The most typical types are:

  1. Territorial Aggression: The dog defends its territory or your home against what it perceives to be an invader.

  2. Protective Aggression: The dog defends other dogs or members from another animal or people. Dogs are also fiercely protective of their puppies, and anyone who approaches them may get them aggressive and hostile.

  3. Possessive Aggression: Food, chew toys, bones, or any other valuable item can become possessively guarded by the dog. This essentially means they are trying to guard their resources.

  4. Fear Aggression: Faced with a frightening circumstance, the dog may become afraid and want to flee, but when trapped, it attacks.

  5. Social Aggression: In social circumstances, the dog behaves violently against other dogs. Aggression can occur in dogs who have not been properly socialized with other dogs or people.


Signs That Your Dog May Become Aggressive

Aggressive behavior can be picked up by any dog, and it’s crucial to take note of a pattern of warning signs, such as:

  1. Growling and snapping
  2. Lip licking and yawning
  3. Raised fur
  4. Cowering and tail tucking
  5. A rigid body and quickly wagging tail.

 

How To Stop Aggression In Your Dogs

Track when your dog becomes violent and the conditions that led to it. This will play a significant role in selecting your future course of action. It is critical to address the root source of the hostility. The attitude might just be a symptom of a deeper issue. There are a few things you can do to help your dog stay calm and handle the animosity.

Dog jumping on the lawn
  1. See your Veterinarian: Dogs who aren’t ordinarily aggressive but suddenly become violent could be suffering from an underlying medical condition. Hypothyroidism, severe injuries, and neurological issues such as encephalitis, epilepsy, and brain tumors are all possible causes of aggression. Consult your veterinarian to see if this is the situation with your pet. Treatment or medicine can have a significant impact.

  2. Call in a professional: It’s time to consult a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist if your vet has ruled out a medical issue. You should not attempt to treat aggression on your own because it is such a serious issue. A specialist can assist you in determining what is causing your dog’s aggression and developing a plan to address it.

  3. Create a plan: A behaviorist or trainer can assist you in determining the best strategy for dealing with your dog’s hostility. To teach your dog new actions, you’ll almost always employ positive reinforcement. For example, start by standing far away from someone your dog doesn’t know if your dog is mildly aggressive toward strangers. In the ideal world, your dog will learn that strangers equal goodies, and its hostility will decrease. This method can also be used to acclimate your dog to a variety of other circumstances.

  4. Avoid punishment: Punishing your dog for aggressive behavior almost always backfires and makes the situation worse. If you hit, yell, or use another aversive way to deal with a growling dog, the dog may feel compelled to defend itself by biting you. Your dog may bite someone else without notice as a result of the punishment. A dog that growls at children, for example, is expressing his discomfort at their presence. If you punish a dog for growling, the next time he feels uneasy, he may bite instead of warning you.

  5. Consider 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 for assisting your dog in overcoming this phobia. Many dogs will only require medicine for a short period of time. Consult your veterinarian about your choices.

  6. Handle Unavoidable Situations: Finally, think about whether your lifestyle permits you to stick to a schedule. If you have a dog that is violent toward children and you have children, it is often hard to prevent the situation that causes the violence. In this instance, finding a new home for your dog with just adults may be the best option for you and your dog.


Even if a dog has been well-behaved for years, it’s impossible to foresee when all of the right variables may come together to spark their hostility. Aggression is a tactic that can be used by dogs who have a history of utilizing it to cope with stressful situations. Owners of dogs should always exercise caution and assume that their pets are aggressive.

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