Dealing with dog aggression or anxiety can be very frustrating and tiring. There is typically a reason for the aggression and you need to know what it is.
When owning a dog, you should be aware that you may have to deal with aggression or anxiety problems in the future. Knowing the cause of the aggression can help you to deal with the problem and properly treat the behavior issue.
There are different types of aggression and various causes for the aggression and anxiety. If you are getting an adult dog, you should try to find out the background history of the dog in case any aggression problems arise.
Types of Dog Aggression
There are 3 different kinds of aggressive behavior in dogs. These behaviors are dominance aggression, fearful aggression, and territorial aggression. Knowing the difference between the 3 types of aggression can be a key factor in changing these behavioral problems.
Symptoms of Aggression in Dogs
- Signs of dominance aggression are: acts aggressively when being stared at, dislikes being pushed off of furniture, showing aggression if a person reaches over his head, and becoming angry when verbally corrected.
- Dogs that have fearful aggression will bark, or growl when something upsets them. Other signs include: biting, tucking the tail, excess salivation, and the fur on their back standing erect.
- Dogs with territorial aggression may snarl, bark, or lunge at people they don’t know coming onto their territory. This can include your house, the yard, or someone walking on the sidewalk.
Causes of Aggression and Anxiety
- In the canine social system, the hierarchy in the pack is dependent upon sex, age, performance, and skill. Dogs who exhibit signs of dominance aggression are trying to gain control or power of their pack; their human family is part of their pack.
- Fearful aggression is typically seen in age or abused dogs. Fearful aggression is when a dog acts inappropriately due to the feeling that he is being cornered, or intruded on.
- Territorial is also known as protective aggression. This is when a dog exhibits inappropriate behavior because it is attempting to protect places, people, or other animals in the home.
If the dog is suffering from pain, or sickness this may also cause aggression.
Treatment for Dog Aggression
Passive behavior modification can be used to show the dog that he will not be rewarded for aggressive behavior. Simply walk away when the dog begins to show aggression. Prevent any sort of struggle for control between you and the dog, and show him praise and reward when he exhibits good behavior.
Treatment for fear aggression involves reducing the dog’s fear. If the dog is upset and acting aggressively do not reach for the dog. Call him to you and tell him to sit. Once he is relaxed, praise and rewards him for the relaxed behavior. Anti-anxiety medications may be helpful in treating aggressive behavior.
When a dog barks, or lunges, give him a stern “No” and move him away from the situation until he can calm down and relax. Tell him to sit and stay without any added attention.
Prevention of Aggressive Dog Behavior
Treatment for dominance aggression can be as simple as avoiding a situation that may upset the dog. Do not stare the dog in the eye, do not play aggressively with the dog, and only play with dog toys. If the dog exhibits food aggression, feed the dog in a separate room with the door closed.
If the dog is acting aggressively do not attempt to reassure the dog as he will see this as a positive thing.
Be careful not to make sudden movements that may startle the dog and be sure to let others that come into your home not to stare at the dog or reach for him quickly.
Be sure that the dog is behind a secure door when a stranger is around, and post “Beware of Dog”, or “Dog on Premises” signs on your home so that others will know to approach with caution.
Never use physical punishment when attempting to modify your dog’s behavior.