Is Your Dog Too Aggressive?

July 02, 2019

Is Your Dog Too Aggressive?

Snipping, biting, growling or snarling at you, other people or other dogs are all telltale signs that your dog may be too aggressive. There are many underlying factors as to why a dog may be aggressive. We can seek professional help from dog trainers to alleviate the issue but this doesn’t resolve the problem. Observe the reasons your dog may be overtly aggressive then find solutions to help relieve the issue. 

Types of aggression 

Territorial, protective, possessive, fear-based, defensive, social, pain-elicited, redirected, sex-related or predatory are all different forms of aggression your dog may be exhibiting.


Defending its space, home, food bowl, a member of its pack using aggressive force falls within the categories of territorial, protective, possessive and defensive aggression. When a dog tries to retreat first then attacks or attacks immediately instead of retreating these are often fear-based types of aggression. Social aggression is often part of determining a hierarchy most commonly among other dogs. 

Pain-elicited occurs when your dog is injured, wounded or experiencing physical distress. Sex-related happens typically between two males around female dogs when they are not spayed or neutered. Redirected happens when a dog attacks a human who is trying to break up a dog fight or a fight with another animal. Predatory aggression is when a dog becomes hostile towards other animals or even small children. 


Reasons for Aggression

Some breeds can be more naturally more aggressive than others. However, dogs that come from abusive homes, animal shelters and even households with many dogs living under one roof can cause aggression. Dogs being natural pack animals establish dominance and hierarchy within their pack. Some dogs are even trained by their owners to have more aggressive tendencies used for protection. If none of these sound like your dog, physical pain, emotional distress or an underlying medical issue can be underlying factors. 

How to Help Reduce Aggression? 

First things first. Note your dog's behavior and bring them to the vet to be sure it isn’t something more serious. If they have no serious medical condition, try behavioral therapy with a trainer. Working with a trainer is used for more than simply teaching them tricks. It is designed to reinforce new behaviors in your dog. Try combination therapy with natural supplements such as calming soft chews to reduce fear and anxiety. Dog multivitamins are another wise investment to be sure they are getting the nutrients they need. 

Avoid physical punishment if they are only growling. It may only reinforce their behavior of aggression. Plus, as much as we love our dogs, they can be dangerous! You do not want them redirecting their aggression towards another human being or animal. Socialize your dogs when they are young with other dogs, animals and humans. Use positive reinforcement with treats and rewards as you continually work to remedy your dog’s behavior. Even changing the tone of your voice when saying a low and sharp “NO! bad” and a high and pleasant “good boy / girl!” with a pat on the head can work wonders when changing their behaviors. You will have to be diligent in correcting this behavior as soon as possible. Even slight aggression like a growl, snarl or a nip should not be tolerated.

We love our furry friends but sometimes they do not act friendly. It is always good to know where the aggression may be coming from and then taking the proper steps necessary in better understanding how to change their aggressive behavior. 


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