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Why Is My Dog Aggressive?

Dogs are not normally aggressive, they are usually taught to be by their owner’s lack of education in training dogs or by being abused. Aggression in dogs is shown in several ways:

  • Barking
  • Growling
  • Staring
  • Mounting
  • Biting, in extreme cases

There is always a cause for a dog’s aggression, and hopefully there is a cure for it.  The best cure, of course is to prevent it in the first place. A dogs instinctive desire to dominate is the main reason for a dog’s aggression.

Dogs have a natural instinct to try to be the leader of the family, which to him is his pack. Aggression during training sessions must be dealt with immediately, he is challenging your authority to teach him, and if not corrected immediately, may lead to serious problems later.  This is of particular concern for large and powerful dogs.

If as a puppy, your dog growls and then gets what he wants, he is learning that aggression works. The next time, his aggression will be worse.

Dogs need to be taught when very young that aggression is not acceptable. Dogs also need interaction with people and other dogs, and if they are not provided with this, they more likely to behave aggressively when the meet new people or other dogs.

If a dog is beaten or abused, he will learn to protect himself every time a hand is raised in his vicinity. Anything that is painful to a dog can teach him to be aggressive.  Punishement should never be used as a training tool.

All aggressive dogs will show some signs of aggression.  Although they may not show all of the signs of aggression, some  signs to watch our for are:

  • Laid back ears, tail tucked between the legs
  • Crouching while trying to avoid eye contact
  • Standing stiff and erect, this is a dog who is dominantly aggressive or territorial
  • Direct aggressive stare, with ears and tail held straight up

With a fearfully aggressive dog, you should initiate a course of gradual socialization and exposure to people and dogs.

Gradual is the key word here, never try to push your dog into socialization.

With a territorial or dominantly aggressive dog, obedience training will teach him that you are in charge.  Never loose your temper during trains as an aggressive dog will take advantage of you at this point.

Most dogs will show aggression at some point, and it must be dealt with promptly and properly.  Always correct aggression every time it occurs.

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