Aggression is one of the main reason dogs are rehomed or euthanized. Most people think that aggression is presented with agonistic behavior such as lunging, biting, growling or barking. But, it is much more complicated than that.
It can be influenced by the outcomes of previous encounters with certain individuals, dominance, personal distance, territory, size, age, hormonal status, and sex. Threatening canine behavior manifest in different ways. To notice it, you need to learn about different types of aggression that can affect your furry friend.
Aggressive dogs are usually just stressed out, and when they bite out of intense frustration or fear, a chemical reaction starts in their brain. Acting this way releases dopamine, which soothes the canine’s emotions and triggers its responses.
1. Possessive Dog Aggression
When the dog is showing aggression to affirm ownership of some things, it signals that the pooch is claiming the right to that item. If he is confronted by a rival, over a bone or other food, the canine will bare its teeth, growl, and stare at his target wanting to attack. To protect his possession, he will display threatening behavior.
A sub-type of this aggressive dog attitude is distance resource guarding. The pooch is monitoring the specific item from a distance, and he will display aggression to anyone who gets anywhere near it. If your mutt is injuring humans or other dogs, and if this behavior is increasing in intensity or frequency, you need to seek help from a behavior professional.
2. Barrier Frustration
Many dogs who love to play with other canines without having any boundaries, can display reactive attitude, growling, lunging, or barking, when on-leash. If your furry friend is enthusiastic or curious about passersby, or if he’s restricted from investigating new animals or people, he can develop barrier frustration. Combining that with the shock from an electric fence or leash corrections, there is a chance that your furry friend will become aggressive.
You must take some measures to prevent this kind of behavior. Establishing some boundaries and learning how to look after your new dog will help you to have a well-rounded dog.
3. Dominance aggression
The characteristics of a dominant pooch include defiance and arrogance. He feels capable of dealing with any situation and capable of defending himself. If his behavior is successful, he will become more and more aggressive.
A pet owner who can’t control his canine will transmit fear and anxiety to the pooch by changing his voice, and become tense and nervous. Depending on your behavior your dog can become more aggressive. To prevent this learn how to reduce stress and relax, and hire a professional to help you with your pooch behavior.
4. Fear-Motivated Aggression
The dogs that are fearful of their safety can become very aggressive if they think they are in danger. The treat from your mutt’s perspective can be imagined or real and also directed at inanimate objects such as cars, vacuum cleaners, or skateboards. The cause of this may be the result of the dog’s need to protect itself when he was alone in some stressful situation, or the lack of socialization in his first six months of life.
A fearful canine will try to warn visitors by attacking the victim from behind, growling, barking or nipping. All these forms of behavior can be solved by training, intense socialization, and having a strong leader that will give your pooch a sense of security.
5. Territorial Aggression
This type of behavior usually happens when visitors enter the pup’s area. In that situation, the dog needs to protect his space, home, bed, or food which can lead to the aggressive behavior. They may see other animals, delivery people, or neighbors as a threat.
In today’s society, this attitude is not acceptable. But, these issues, especially food aggression in dogs can be solved with strong leadership, training, and socialization that will prevent this type of behavior.
6. Idiopathic Aggression
This form of aggression is very unpredictable because the trigger is not understood or known. The word itself ‘’idiopathic’’ is determined as ''detonating or relating to any condition or disease for which cause is not known or that arises spontaneously''.
Because it includes severe and sudden outbursts with almost no warning, it can be very dangerous. Observe your dog and see what is making him nervous so that you can consult with the behavior professional.
7. Predatory Aggression
Almost every animal loves to hunt for food. You can notice these similar situations when bigger pooches are chasing smaller ones, wildlife, little animals or cats. But there are still some questions about this type of aggression that are not so easy to answer.
One of those questions is, why are the dogs behaving like that, when they don’t want to consume their prey? Sometimes there is no right answer. As a pet parent, you need to understand that for some dogs, it is very difficult to overcome this form of aggression. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian and find out what’s your next step.
8. Redirected Aggression
This type of behavior usually happens when a canine cannot express his dominance to the person, dog or object that causes him territorial notions, anger or fear. Try to imagine this situation: you have a visitor entering your property, and your dogs are in a secluded area and cannot reach the “intruder” (that’s how they see your visitor at the moment). Since they aren’t able to express their aggression towards your visitor, they will turn on each other.
Most people wouldn’t notice that this was displaced threatening behavior. This type of aggression is hazardous, and if you see your dog is acting like this, you need to take control of the situation.
9. Learned Aggression
This type of aggression happens in cases where armed or police forces use the dog for protection, so his aggression can be turned off or on by command. These pooches are also taught and bred to fight, so in the process, they also learn how to be more aggressive in some dangerous situations. Although these dogs are full of love and affection most of the time, in certain circumstances they could be very frightening – they can bite hard without warning.
If the dog thinks someone or something threatens him, he will strike. It is very demanding to learn the pup to attack and then withdraw on command. What’s essential in this case, is that the pooch needs to learn the difference between a burglar and a visitor, a playful canine or a pet fighting opponent, and the owner needs to understand to be responsible for his pup.
10. Controlled Aggression
This type of attitude presents as a learned behavior that the dog accepted through improper management and training by his owner. It is usually directed at those people with whom the mutt spends most of the time. Although it looks terrifying, this behavior can be treated with a proper plan.
But, many dog trainers make a mistake when treating this behavior, using aversive or punitive measures. The reason for that is lack of understanding and misdiagnosis of proper protocols for this kind of act.
In most cases the reason behind any of these different types of aggression in dogs is fear. It is unusual for a pooch to show signs of only one type because they often manifest two or three forms of aggression. Threatening dog behavior manifests as biting, barking, staring, posturing or growling for defensive or offensive purposes.
If your dog presents any signs of this behavior, you should always consult experienced, qualified behavior professional who will work with your veterinarian. With the practical skills and knowledge, they will obtain an accurate diagnosis and perform the best treatment.
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