Do you have a dog that constantly growls at you, shows you his teeth or snaps at you? You may have an aggressive dog on your hands. Every day, many dogs exhibit aggressive tendencies. Although some aggression may be just for show, other dogs take it a bit further and seriously injure people or other dogs. Therefore, it is absolutely paramount that you understand the dynamics of dog aggression. In this article, we'll explain the causes of dog aggression and offer some tips for dealing with dog aggression as well.

First of all, we’ll discuss the various reasons why dogs may demonstrate aggressive tendencies. Although dog aggression may be caused by a single event, some aggressive behavior may be innate. Here are some tips to determine the cause of your dog’s aggression:

Agonistic aggression is exhibited when there is a personality conflict between two dogs. In this instance, the aggression might cause one or both dogs to act in an aggressive manner.

Barrier aggression is exhibited when a dog is confronted with a barrier, becomes frustrated, and is unable to escape. In response to the barrier, the dog exhibits aggressive behavior.

Competitive aggression is exhibited when dogs fight over social status. This is quite common with housemates as they attempt to discover which dog is "top dog."

Displaced aggression is exhibited when a dog is out of his comfort zone. This typically occurs in lost dogs found wandering the streets alone. They tend to show aggression out of fear.

Dominance aggression is exhibited when a dog believes that he is the leader of the pack. He tends to demonstrate aggression to keep the other members of the pack in submission, especially if he feels as if his dominance is being challenged.

Drug induced aggression is exhibited as a “side effect” of certain medications and tends to affect a dog's perceptions and may cause him to act in an aggressive manner. This type of aggression is typically is typically temporary and disappears once the medication is changed.

Fear induced aggression is exhibited when a dog is afraid. In response, he growls, snaps, demonstrates fear posture because he believes he is in a dangerous situation. this type of aggression is often found in abused dogs or those that are genetically prone toward aggression.

Improper socialization aggression is exhibited when dogs have not been properly socialized to get along well with other dogs. As such, when confronted with other dogs or people, they tend to become aggressive.

Intra sex aggression is exhibited when a female dog acts aggressively toward other females or when a male dog acts aggressively toward other male dogs.

Maternal protective aggression is exhibited when a mother dog acts to protect her puppies from harm.

Territorial aggression is exhibited when a dog acts aggressively in order to protect his toys, food or anything that he considers as his personal property.

Now that we have a better understanding of the different types of dog aggression, here are some tips when dealing with your aggressive dog:

1. If you believe your dog is aggressive, immediately take him to a veterinarian for a checkup to ensure that there are no medical causes of his aggressive behavior.

2. Consider hiring a trainer and begin obedience training right away. There are many trainers that are specifically equipped to handle aggressive dogs. Carefully select one that is experienced at handling aggressive dogs and have successfully taught owners how to deal with aggressive dogs in the past.

3. Do not encourage aggressive games like tug-of war, chasing your family members/ neighbors, or roughhousing with an aggressive dog. These types of games only intensify aggressive behavior.

4. Keep track of those things that might be contributing to his aggressive behavior and look for patterns of aggression.

5. Teach your dog that you are the ‘head dog” and that you are the leader of the pack. This can be done by doing the following:

a. Do not allow aggressive dogs to eat until you have given him the command to do so.

b. Ensure that your dog learns and follows the “leave it command.”

c. Do not let your dog go out of the door before you do.

d. Remove any toys that he considers as his personal property.

e. Prevent any disasters before they happen. For instance, do not take your dog out without putting on a leash.

In conclusion, there are many types of aggression that dogs exhibit. The key to dealing with dog aggression is to realize its potential causes and then taking proactive steps to effectively deal with this condition. By doing this, you can successfully deal with aggressive dog behavior and nip it in the bud before it becomes a major problem.

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