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Training Agressive Dogs - Tips On Aggressive Behavior
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Training Agressive Dogs - Tips on Aggressive Behavior

It is important that dog owners recognize the signs and understand what is needed for training aggressive dogs. Dog aggression is considered a bad behavior that can lead to serious consequences including physical harm to people as well as other animals.

As a dog owner, I have learned this the hard way with my first real aggressive dog Bunny who was a Dobie mix. At the time I did not understand the hierarchy of the pack so to me poor Bunny just had social issues. The fact is she did have social issues but not the human kind. I had two very large dogs and not a clue as to what dog aggression was (my other dog Bubba was a sheppard mix). It's no wonder I was bit trying to break up a fight over food!

Out of the approximately 4.5 million dog bites each year, it is estimated that for every 6 bites, one of those bites will require medical attention. Hospitalization for dog bites occured more with children under 5 and the elderly over 65 and in 2010 there were 34 deaths related to aggressive dog attacks. It is estimated that over half of all dog bites occur on the dog owner's property and a large majority of the people own the dog who bit them.

Some causes of dog agression may include a lack of training or socializing, fear, abuse, trauma or territorial bounderies being crossed. Some breeds like the pit bull are specifically trained for aggressiveness. If your dog appears he is not feeling good there could be an underlying medical condition causing his aggression.

Common examples of dog aggression are biting, snapping, growling, baring teeth, lunging,and mounting.

Dogs can start showing signs of aggression as early as 6 months old. If you have a puppy showing signs of aggression and not just puppy playfulness hold him gently in place on the floor for a minute as a correction. This will also demonstrate your position as the alpha in your pack. In most cases proper training can have a positve outcome for aggressive dogs that allows them to live a balanced and healthy life.

There are some specific types of aggression to watch out for that will help you understand why your dog is showing aggressive behavior and help you determine what type of training is needed.

Dominance Aggression

This occurs when a dog is feeling challenged. It is more common to see this around the family environment where a dog is establishing his position with his "pack". If a dog feels his position in the pack is threatened, he may growl or show some sign of aggression. For example, if your dog is laying in a chair or on the sofa and you ask him to move you are challenging him. He may growl or snap because you are threatening his status in the pack.

Fear Agression

If a dog believes he is going to be hurt he will react to protect himself. For a dog that has been abused a simple pat on the head could be perceived as a physical threat and he may become aggressive to protect himself. In this case the dog will try to retreat from the threat but will bite as a defensive measure. My dog Rufus is a Rottie-Sheppard stray who I took in when he was about a year old. He had obvious signs of being abused. When I first brought him home he cowered, whinned and would growl if i touched his legs or hugged him. These are very obvious signs of fear aggression.

Territorial or Protective Aggression

When an unfamilar person or animal approaches a dogs home or territory he may show signs of anxiety such as barking, gowling or lunging. He senses danger and is trying to protect not only his territory but also his family or "pack". This can extend to the area he "marks" on his walks, the car he is riding in, a campsite or a picnic area to list just a few examples. Protective aggresive behavior can also include when a dog is protecting his meal, a treat, toys or other articles that are important to him.

Other types of dog aggression include;

Punishment -- When a dog is excessivley punished or abused and they have had enough.

Maternal -- A mother protecting her young from any potential threat or danger

Pain -- If a dog is not feeling good and he wants to be left alone.

Predatory -- A good example is chasing cars, people or things in motion

Redirected -- If you interupt an aggressive dog and his aggression is redirected to you

Dog -- Dog on Dog aggresion occurs when dogs are fighting for dominance or territory.

For Any Dog Aggression

Never punish your dog physically or otherwise if it is diplaying aggressive behavior. The punishment can actually make the aggressive behavior worse. Seek professional dog training advise that you can practice at home and help your dog to become a healthy balanced family member. Dog aggression is a behavior that can be trained and controlled.

Street Talk

Nicely written Carol...I was really surprised by the number of dog bites that happen each year. Thanks!

  about 9 years ago

Great article, all points cover and we all dog owners should take notice to the aggression of dogs to handle them the proper way. Thank you

  about 9 years ago
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