Has your dog ever acted aggressively toward people, other pets, or even his toys? Aggression in dogs is a behavioral problem that should be taken very seriously to prevent injuries to people and other animals, and our team at Brownswitch Pet Hospital can help.
Don’t wait until your dog bites someone to seek help for aggression. Contact us right away if you think your dog is displaying signs of aggression so we can rule out medical problems that could be causing your dog discomfort or pain, which can trigger aggression.
Recognizing the Signs of Aggression in Dogs
Body language says a lot, and when a dog displays the following behaviors, it means he feels threatened or anxious, and it’s better to steer clear.
- He’s making himself look intimidating by standing straight up, puffing up the fur on his back, and staring intently at what he perceives as a threat.
- He’s baring his teeth, growling, or barking.
- Alternatively, frightened dogs might crouch and avoid eye contact.
Common Triggers of Aggression in Dogs
Just like people, pets have moods, and sometimes the surrounding circumstances make it more likely that a dog will turn aggressive. Be aware of these common triggers:
- Pain or injury
- Halloween costumes or unusual attire
- Large crowds or loud noises
- Thunderstorms or fireworks
- Construction noises
- Strangers in or near the home (like contractors, painters, delivery people)
Properly socialized dogs are better equipped to adapt to new people and unfamiliar surroundings. Ideally, socialization should begin with a puppy as young as 7 weeks old, but it’s never too late to socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to new experiences, people, and other pets on a regular basis through daily walks, training classes, or doggie daycare. Always go at your dog’s pace, and never force him to socialize when he seems uncomfortable.
How to Train an Aggressive Dog
Positive, reward-based training can begin when puppies are just 8 weeks old and will prepare your pet with a foundation of good behavior. But it’s never too late. Older dogs can learn new tricks in the hands of a skilled trainer. The ASPCA recommends seeking aggressive dog training from professionals with the following credentials: Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB); Veterinary Behaviorist (Dip ACVB); or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT).
Daily Strategies for Dog Bite Prevention
- Keep your dog leashed when in public.
- Supervise your dog when he’s outside or near children.
- Teach children in your home the proper way to treat your dog.
- Always ask before petting a dog.
- Stay still and remain calm if you’re approached by a strange dog.
- Don’t approach a dog that is growling, barking, or running loose.
- Keep your dog up to date with routine veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations and other immunizations.
Please contact us for more tips about preventing dog bites or aggression in dogs. We’re here to help!