Recognizing and Preventing Aggression

I recently read an article where a dog attacked his owner because she placed a sweater on him. The author claimed the attack was unprovoked and came out of nowhere.  I have a problem with this claim.  It is rare that a dog attacks without warning.  Owners simply don’t recognize the warning signs, choose to ignore them or inadvertently reward the dog for bad behavior.

While it is difficult for people to believe, the first signs of dog aggression begin when the dog is a pup.  Puppies who shy away or hide from people are exhibiting behaviors that will likely lead to fear aggression.  Growling and barking at visitors or guarding food and toys are also red flags.

In order to avoid aggression issues, you need to prepare a healthy home environment before you even choose a dog. Researching different dog breeds, help families find a dog that is a good fit for their lifestyle. A perfect example is the Boxer.  While they are fantastic family dogs, they require a great deal of exercise and room to run. Denying adequate exercise to your dog, leads to doggie frustration and possibly aggressive behavior.

Aggression is not limited to large dogs or certain breeds. A five-pound dog can be as aggressive as a ninety-pound dog.  Other causes of aggression are due to a lack of structure and mental stimulation.   A dog who does not feel safe will also display aggressive behavior.

What makes a dog feel insecure?  Belonging to a human pack in which the human does not assume the leadership role. That dog feels that he must protect himself, the house, the family property and his other pack members.  This dog does not have anyone to look to for direction, nor does he trust that his owner will protect him. Therefore, the dog takes control.  His poor choices eventually affect him and his family members.

Dogs with humans who provide clear and consistent sets of rules, respect their owners. They trust that their human will make the correct choices for their pack.  This allows the dog to relax, which reduces the likelihood the dog will exhibit aggressive behavior.

If you welcomed a new dog into your home or are concerned by your dog’s behavior, contact Sublime K-9 Dog Trainers for help.  You can reach us by calling (631) 241-6482.