Aggressive Dog Behavior — Sudden Aggression In Dogs

Dog Aggression Towards Other Dogs and Puppy Dominance Aggression

Dog Aggression Towards Other Dogs and Aggressive German Shepherd
Photo by Josephine Amalie Paysen on Unsplash

I suppose people involved in aggressive dog behavior could go on and on about different types of aggression in dogs. I think though that most people with good knowledge of this subject would more or less agree with these four:

Dominance
Territorial
Fear
Prey

Left unchecked, these types of dog behavior can develop into a serious problem for the dog owner. Let me briefly explain each aggressive behavior and offer some general solutions.

Dominance:

This aggressive dog behavior can occur when a clear pack order has not been established for the dog. Dogs being pack animals will attempt to identify where they are in a group. It is important that your dog understands that all members of your family are above it in the pack.

If a dog is allowed to believe it is anywhere but the bottom of the pack, any family member it sees as lower can be at risk. This is especially dangerous if that family member is a child.

Solutions for Aggressive Dog Behavior-Dominance:

Focus your dog training on obedience. Dog obedience training is the most effective way to establish a clear pack order for any dog. Dog obedience training teaches him that you are the pack leader. Knowing you are the pack leader actually relieves the dog of stress because it gives them a black and white relationship with you. Dogs do not like gray areas.

Anyone in your family that is old enough should do obedience with your dog. If you have a young child it is important to watch for signs that your dog is trying to establish dominance over him or her. A common sign is when a dog stands over a child.

The average person may think this is cute but it is dangerous because the dog is communicating to the child that he or she is above him in pack order. Look for a small breed dog to stiffen up and look defiant along side a child. A pack leader should scold the dog for either of these behaviors.

Remember a small dog that might get an adult in the leg will get a child in the face.

If you are lucky enough to have found this information while you have a puppy that is still less than 6 months of age that’s great, you can take proper action to prevent dominant aggressive dog behavior.

If your dog is mature and you are experiencing dominant aggressive dog behavior, the following list may be where you made some mistakes with your dog.

Here is a list some DON’TS regarding dominant aggressive dog behavior:

1. Don’t allow your dog to sleep in your bed.

2. Don’t allow your dog to become possessive of anything.

3. Don’t feed your dog from the table. Pack leaders eat first.

4. Don’t let your dog force you to pet it while you are busy.

5. Don’t allow your dog to show any aggression to anyone.

If your dog does show aggression to anyone, make the dog understand that you control its world. Put your dog in another room or crate it.

Fear Aggression In Dogs
Fear Aggression In Dogs
Photo by Auréanne Mailhiot on Unsplash

Territorial:

This aggressive dog behavior term speaks for itself. A dog can attempt to establish his surroundings as his property. This could be a room in your house or the whole house. The front yard, back yard or wherever he spends a lot of time. Territorial aggression is mostly a danger to visitors of your home.

Solutions for Aggressive Dog Behavior-Territorial:

This goes hand in hand with dominance. Focus your dog training on obedience. Establish yourself as the pack leader through dog obedience training and make sure the dog understands it only possesses things when the pack leader allows.

Fear:

Fear is not a hard aggressive dog behavior to notice. The tail and ears will be down and they simply look nervous or shy. You may notice the hair up on their back and neck at times. A fearful, overly nervous dog is usually a result of poor breeding. A real bad experience with something or someone can also be a cause.

Solutions for Aggressive Dog Behavior-Fear:

You need to analyze what exactly your dog shows fear towards and focus you dog training there. For example, is it kids in the neighborhood, the mailman, people on bicycles or joggers. The list could be endless, but if you take note of whenever your dog shows fear, you should be able to get a good idea.

The goal of your dog training sessions would be to make these fearful situations more positive for your dog. The safest way is to use food.

Lets say your dog is afraid of kids in the neighborhood. You could set up a scenario where you encounter the kids while taking your dog for a walk (ONLEASH), only this time they are armed with your dogs favorite treat, and lots of them.

This is why I said food is the safest. Obviously you won’t let your dog within reach of the kids BUT they can easily toss him his treats from a short distance. Repeat this a few times a week and look for signs that your dog is starting to enjoy these encounters. This method can be applied with any other person your dog seems to be afraid of.

Now the bad news. If you put in an honest effort in your dog training to show your dog that his fears are baseless and he is still overly fearful you are getting low on options. A few would be buy a muzzle and a crate, place the dog in a home where there is less chance of him biting someone or have him put down.

Its just not fair for a dog or his potential victims to ignore this type of aggressive dog behavior.

Prey:

This simply is the desire of a dog to chase something and bite it. Be it a jogger going by your house or a child running while playing in your yard, it can be dangerous. Its a natural drive for dogs to have.

Solutions for Aggressive Dog Behavior-Prey:

Since this dog behavior is the act of running away from you to chase whatever it decides, you need to focus your dog training towards the “leave it” and “come” commands. “Leave it” training teaches your dog that he is not allowed to show interest in whatever you, his handler, decides. Birds, cats and rabbits would be a few examples in addition to people, as mentioned above.

A prong or electronic collar are a must for teaching “leave it”.

Teaching your dog to “come” or recall, gives you the ability to call your dog back to you when he starts to chase something. A dog will have to be really, really solid at this command, especially if he has already started to pursue something or someone when you are trying to recall him.

How long you must work on these will be depend on how high your dogs drive is. It may take some time and patience but if it is a child your dog decides to bolt on, it is well worth the extra work.

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