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How To Stop Aggressive Behavior In Dogs?

You are not alone if you have an aggressive dog on your hands, whether they display aggression frequently or just occasionally.

One of the most common reasons pet owners visit a behavioral specialist for their dogs is aggressive behavior.

There are steps you can do to lessen the occurrences of this undesirable behavior, even though you can't always cure it.

Continue reading "How To Stop Aggressive Behavior In Dogs?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) to learn more about how to stop dog aggression.

Reasons Your Dog is Getting Aggressive

Dogs can become aggressive for a variety of reasons. We’ll go over each one in more detail, but bear in mind that they almost always have an explanation for their behavior. Your task is to figure out the cause and either teach them how to stop doing it or steer clear of the triggers that make it happen.

Are Some Breeds More Aggressive?

Each breed of dog can become aggressive, it’s a fact. Dogs can inherit specific genes that incline them toward violence and can carry baggage from their pasts, much like people are born and raised to have certain dispositions. Unfortunately, this is especially true for rescue dogs whose pasts are uncertain.

There are some breeds that are naturally suspicious of unfamiliar creatures and people. Typically, these breeds are useful for shepherding livestock.

So, a poorly trained dog of this breed may have some “aggression” issues when they exhibit shepherding qualities without the need to handle cattle.

Certain breeds may go after squirrels or cats more readily than others because they have a stronger “prey drive” than other breeds. This may also be seen as instinctive aggression, albeit it may have been taught out of them as puppies.

Furthermore keep in mind that certain dogs may appear to be more aggressive because they are simply bigger and stronger than other dogs. A small poodle’s hostility might not seem as intense as that of, example, a mastiff, who can be hostile with a certain intensity.

Different Kinds of Dog Aggression

In any given circumstance, a dog may become aggressive for a variety of reasons. We’ll go over each one individually so you can determine if your dog exhibits a certain aggressive behavior.

  • Fear

Fear aggression manifests as a dog cowering in a corner or other location it deems secure. They frequently tuck their tail beneath. This dog is inclined to lash out when confronted.

  • Protective

This dog knows that someone in its “pack”—which could be another animal or a person—is likely to suffer harm, whether it is true or not. Because they are protective of the puppies, mother dogs exhibit this behavior particularly clearly.

  • Territorial

All dogs have the potential to be territorial, but some prefer to guard the area. Therefore this dog will chase after an intruder when it is seen.

  • Possessive

A dog that is possessive and aggressive guards its food, bones, chew toys, and other valuable possessions. Resource protection is another term for it.

  • Defensive

When a dog exhibits defensive aggression, it has already shown that it doesn’t want to be harassed. When none of these work, he switches to defense mode and typically bites. Fighting defensive dogs prefer to fly.

  • Social

When a dog who hasn’t been properly socialized with other dogs as a puppy exhibits aggressiveness when exposed to other dog groups, this is more indicative of a social “disorder” than anything else.

  • Frustration

When a leashed or fenced-in dog wants to do something but is unable to, it may become aggressively frustrated. When he expects to go for a walk with you but is impatient and barks or bites at you instead, it is an illustration of this.

  • Pain or Illness

When in pain, dogs may become aggressive to prevent you or another person from making the agony worse. This behavior may also be displayed by dogs who are sick and in discomfort. Random aggression in a dog could also be a symptom of cognitive brain dysfunction.

  • Redirected

This occurs when a person breaks up a dog fight or when a restrained dog snaps at you because it can’t obtain what it wants.

  • Sexual

Dogs that are sexually mature and eager for mating will become hostile toward their own kind. As a result, men will fight men over women, and vice versa. By neutering or spaying your dog, you can quickly and effectively treat this type of aggression.

  • Predatory

Different canines have different levels of “prey drive.” While some people might not object to a dog going after small creatures in this manner, it can regrettably turn lethal when a little child is involved.

What Does Dog Aggression Look Like?

Dog aggression might appear differently depending on the individual. While some people like playing roughshod over dogs, others may view this conduct as aggressive. Play aggression is natural and healthy as long as the dog does not inflict harm and submits when instructed to stop, whereas real aggression is more severe and can cause injury.

The following are canine aggression warning signs:

  • Rigid stillness
  • Guttural, threatening bark
  • Grabbing with the mouth to assert control over a person
  • Growling
  • Baring teeth
  • Snapping
  • “Muzzle punch,” when a dog jabs with its nose
  • Biting or nipping that causes bruising or open wounds
  • Chasing
  • Seeing the whites of your dog’s eyes

Can an Aggressive Dog Be Cured?

When a puppy exhibits aggressive behaviors, extensive training and socialization efforts can be made to “treat” the violent behavior. In this respect, puppies are seen to be more “malleable” than adult dogs, making it simpler to discipline them when they behave badly.

An older violent dog might not be able to be treated, particularly if the hostility is severe and the dog is unpredictable in how it behaves. When you identify the specific source of your dog’s aggression, you can work to minimize those triggers in order to reduce your dog’s hostility.

Dog owners should never believe that a dog who was once aggressive is now “cured,” as this is highly improbable and the dog could inflict major harm if left untreated. Throughout the remainder of your dog’s life, you will need to be on guard and keep an eye out for potential aggression.

How to Stop Dog Aggression

These procedures can be used by anyone who has a dog exhibiting aggressive behavior in an effort to resolve issues. Sometimes, elderly dogs benefit from behavior modification training and may only require little medical attention.

Pay attention to signs of aggression

Review the various canine aggressions once more. Finding one kind can help you understand why your dog behaved the way it did.

Simply make a note of what occurred, where it occurred, who was present, and what else was happening at the time. Almost always, the dog’s conduct is a response to a deeper problem. The first step in treating the dog’s behavior is to diagnose it.

Who Was the Aggression’s Originator or Recipient?

The individuals or animals engaged in the occurrence are the most crucial aspect to consider when identifying aggression impacts.

Typically, a stranger or a certain group of humans, such as men, women, or children, will make a dog aggressive. Keep an eye out for individuals your dog frequently displays aggression toward.

Cooperate with experts

It’s time to collaborate with the veterinarian and/or behavioral experts once you have learned the cues and the “person” (if any) behind the hostility.

To help your dog behave more normally, these experts can assist you with the underlying issues, treatment, or training (or all three).

Plan ahead

Create a strategy with your team on how you will deal with the hostile behavior. Everyone needs to agree on how they will handle the aggressiveness whenever it occurs, including the family members. If family members attempt to apply behavioral modification on the dog in a different way, the dog will become confused.

You also need to have a plan in place for unexpected circumstances. For instance, how will you take your dog on walks with you in an urban setting when they are approached by the guys he usually displays anger toward?

Don’t Punish

Aggression should never be met with more hostility. When an aggressive dog is slapped, yelled at, or otherwise disciplined, he will likely either try to attack you or become resentful of you as a result. Negatively correcting your dog could also cause it to direct aggressiveness in another direction.

Working through a behavior plan with your veterinarian or behavioral specialist will help you avoid these detrimental consequences of negative punishment.


Dogs frequently only need to release some energy to keep their minds in good shape. When dogs are given the appropriate amount of exercise, they may not have the energy to be hostile toward other people or objects. They are more at ease and able to concentrate on the positive aspects of life.

Your Dog Needs a Good Leader

As wolves were domesticated, canines no longer needed other dogs to create a pack; instead, they started to form packs with people and their families.

As we are their dog owners, dogs now rely on us for direction and care in all areas of life. Your assistance is needed to get your dog to stop acting aggressively. They look to you to act as their leader since you are essentially their pack.

We sincerely hope that you now have some suggestions from “How To Stop Aggressive Behavior In Dogs?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) on how to go about doing this. Later on, your loved ones, neighbors, and dog (with its improved behavior) will thank you.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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