Some dogs are born with aggressive tendencies that are characteristic of their breeds. Others are encouraged or not discouraged to exhibit aggressive tendencies. It is important to train your dog as early as from puppyhood, that aggression is discouraged. If you realize that your dog has a tendency to snarl, growl, or bite, you may have an aggressive dog on your hands. It is sometimes difficult to tell if your dog’s aggression is dangerous as every canine has the potential to exhibit aggressive behavior when faced with threating or unfamiliar situations. There are some signs that a dog owner can look out for to differentiate between whether a canine is dangerously aggressive or just intimidated.
Some owners may not want to acknowledge that their dogs are aggressive. Some may even attribute aggression to a natural defense mechanism against a perceived threat. Others would like to think that the aggression will disappear eventually. It is best to take very seriously the alightest hint of aggressive behavior in your pet and act accordingly.
Signs of aggression
- The most noticeable warning signs include growling, snarling, snapping, biting, curling of lips, lunging, sharp barking and blocking standing in your path. If your dog faces you down, displaying a stiff gait and widening his eyes, it is a sign that he believes he is your alpha, and you need to assert your dominance over him before it is too late.
- Territorial behavior which is evinced by growling or snapping whenever you touch something your dog has marked as his. This also includes snapping or growling when you attempt to pet him.
- Over-possessive behavior– An aggressive dog will tend to exhibit over protective behavior over its owner, and will be hostile towards anyone that attempts to get close to him or her.
- Unprovoked attacks on other dogs and humans. This is especially dangerous, as most bite victims tend to be children under 10 years of age.
Steps to take
Upon observing any of these behavioral traits in your pet, it is definitely necessary for you to take immediate action. The first step should be a visit to the vet’s, so that your dog can receive a thorough check-up, which will determine if there is any physical reason for his aggression. A sick and confused, or hurt dog is likely to be irritable and hostile. If a physical reason for aggression is absent, you will need to take the necessary measures and take your dog to a professional trainer. As a side-note, some females are very protective when they are pregnant or nursing. This is an extremely common trait, known as maternal aggression, and does not need training if your dog does not normally exhibit aggression.
Aggressive dog training is usually the best and most recommended method of curbing a dog’s hostility. However, attempting to train your dog yourself can be dangerous. Aggressive dog training is best undertaken by an expert trainer. The best thing is early action. If your dog bites or attacks somebody, it becomes your responsibility as his owner. The more he becomes a danger to people and other pets around him, the less trainers will be willing to take him on. You may find that, not only is no one willing to train your aggressive dog, but he may eventually attack and injure someone badly enough that he has to be euthanized. Considering all the risks, you are better off recognizing the problem sooner than later and handing your pet over to an aggressive dog training professional.