Aggression in Dogs
Have you ever wondered why pet dogs bark at strangers and stray animals or why they attack out of the blue? Pet dogs rarely exhibit aggressive tendencies towards family members or other pets at home but when they become aggressive towards children, especially those in the family, you have got a new problem at hand – canine aggression – a serious behavioral problem.
What is canine aggression?
Aggression in dogs encompasses a gamut of behaviors, occurring for multiple reasons and in a variety of circumstances. For instance, protecting their offspring or guarding their territories or to maintain peace or negotiate social interactions.
Aggression in dogs usually starts with warnings and may culminate in an attack. Dogs may depict increasingly intense behaviors such as guttural bark, lunging forward to attack or charge, growl, showing teeth, snarling, snapping, muzzle punch, quick nip or bite. It is important to analyze, what triggers this aggression, so that you can curb aggression in your pet dog .
Types of Dog Aggression :-
Dog aggression can be classified as follows:-
- Territorial aggression – Dogs are social animals who are known to guard their territories from intruders. They bark and charge at people or other animals encroaching on their home turf.
- Protective aggression – In the wild, dog’s often live in groups or packs. If one member of the pack is in trouble, the rest charge to defend that individual. This is called protective aggression which is shown when one of the family members is in danger or when guarding a litter of puppies from strangers or when a human child is bought into the family.
- Possessive aggression – Pet dogs react aggressively when somebody comes too near their food bowls or approaches them when they are eating. Some dogs are protective about their chew bones, toys, resting spots, crates or beds.
- Fear aggression – Most dogs will take the flight or fight response in which they might adopt fearful postures or might attack if cornered or trapped.
- Defensive aggression – Similar to fear aggression, defensive aggression is also motivated by fear but instead of a dog beating a retreat, it exhibits a mixture of offensive and fearful postures.
- Frustration-elicited aggression – A dog when aroused or excited by something, but is held back from approaching it, displays aggression by turning around and biting at the leash or hand holding the collar. Over the years, they start associating restraint with feeling of aggression.
- Pain-elicited aggression – This type of dog aggression is observed when a pet parent fails to take adequate precautions or handles an injured pet incorrectly. The improper use of training equipment, while handling an injured pet, can cause the pet dog to bite, without any warning.
- Redirected aggression – Occurs when a dog redirects aggression from the trigger source to the interfering source. For instance, a dog may bite, if disturbed or pushed or grabbed during a dog fight.
- Sex-related aggression – This occurs when male dogs vie for the attention of females in heat and vice versa. This is less observed in pet dogs as they rarely have the opportunity to reproduce. This type of aggression is more prominent in intact males than in intact females and in dogs usually one to three years of age.
- Predatory aggression – This predatory behavior of chasing and grabbing fast moving objects, chasing running people, bicycles and cars is inherited as dogs are closely related to wolves and coyotes.
Dog Training for Aggressive Dogs :-
Training is the only way to perhaps calm an agitated dog and curb canine aggression. Aggressive dogs have the potential to bite and different dogs have different triggers that spark aggression in dogs. Some tips to train an aggressive dog.
- Selecting the right breed is very important. For instance, Rottweiler or Akita are not suitable for a mild owner or those who want tough, aggressive pet dogs; Dalmatians and flat-coated Retriever are not fit for sedentary lifestyles and Shetland Sheepdog and Chihuahua do not like rowdy, boisterous children.
- Never punish a dog for giving a warning. Punishing an aggressive dog intensifies fear and can cause it to become even more aggressive.
- Training, teaching and socialization should be encouraged in puppy stage rather than in adults.
- Implement a “time-out” method to discipline aggression in dogs.
- With counter conditioning and repetition, canine aggression can be reduced.
- Refrain from engaging in a tussle with your pet dogs, while playing with toys. This will only send wrong signals about aggression.
- Never allow a dog to achieve dominant status over any adult or child.
- If you cannot handle an aggressive dog, take the help of a professional behaviorist trainer or a veterinarian who will act in a responsible and in a prompt manner.
With proper love, attention and training, you will have a well-behaved canine that becomes part of a family. Consult our dog vets today for more on dog aggression, training method and tips on tackling dog aggression and get answers right away!