Why is my dog aggressive?

If there is one thing that can be very scary, its to realize your dog is aggressive. It is important to understand a dog’s body language and signs of aggression before things get out of hand. Aggression is hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior toward an individual, human or animal.

First, one needs to understand the signs of an aggressive dog and it’s behavior. Here are warning signs of aggression.

  • Hair standing up on the dog’s back
  • Baring teeth and growling
  • Intense eye contact
  • Tense body
  • Ferocious barking

While these aren’t the only signs of aggression, they are things to look out for in your dog. If your dog displays any of these behaviors on a regular basis with other dogs, other people, and more outside of the home, always remember to avoid triggers of this aggression.

Dogs become aggressive due to many factors. Depending on the dog, the reason for aggression may vary. Some dogs may be aggressive with other dogs due to lack of socialization and familiarity with them. Others may have had a bad experience with certain situations. Your dog may be fearful . When understanding a dogs behavior, one has to take all factors into consideration. Whatever the case may be for your dog, there are ways to ease up that aggressive behavior!

Avoid the Trigger

There are times where reactivity is mistaken as aggression. Reactivity means that the dog is triggered by certain stimuli or situations.

Avoiding the trigger isn’t a solution, but it will help keep your dog calm. If you find the exact trigger makes your dog react, often found by trial and error, you can simply make sure that your dog doesn’t come face to face with that trigger often!

You can also train your reactive dog to look at you when the trigger is nearby. Try working with a trainer to try behavior modification techniques that can prevent escalation to aggression.

Socialization and Exposure

Socialization and Exposure for your dog may eliminate some aggressive behaviors. Slow exposure to triggers and learning to associate those triggers with a positive experience will slowly allow your dog to improve. Here are good tips on how to introduce new dogs and people!

Recognize that your dog views your home as their safe space and territory, and they may view newcomers as trespassers. Introduce new people on neutral grounds, for example; a local park.

Remember that your dog has bonded with you for many years. How they may react towards you will not always be the same with newcomers.

Make your newcomer aware of the dog’s behavior and signs of aggression so that they can be cautious.

Be cautious and recognize the signs of aggression before anyone is harmed.

Never leave the newcomer and your dog alone without supervision!!! Even if it seems like the two are getting along well, it will take maintaining a peaceful relationship for several weeks before leaving them alone together.

If this method doesn’t work, seeing a canine behavior specialist is recommended.

Jasmine Curry

I’m an early high school graduate & currently attending college courses on Dog Training and Veterinarian Practices. I have 2 years of pet sitting and house sitting experience, as well as daily check ins. My main code of conduct is care. Care is important for handling pets and I’ve personally seen how some dogs are treated during boarding. I would love the ability to meet your pets, take care of them, and have fun with them!! I will always go the extra mile for your pets and their care.