What is Aggression in Dogs and How to Handle It

Aggression in dogs means that a dog is overly aggressive towards dogs in the same household or unfamiliar dogs or even people. It is quite common in dogs.

The common symptoms of aggression in dogs include:

staring
lip lifting
snapping
crouching
growling
biting
standing tall
lunging towards another dog
blocking the other dog’s entrance into a room 

The Causes of aggression in dogs

Past experiences

Past experiences can cause aggression in dogs. For example, a dog does not have the experience of socializing with other dogs, or it has had a conflict with another dog. Also, when the dog got abused formerly, he also tends to be aggressive.

Mood changes

Dogs exhibit dog aggression because they are afraid, over-excited, or wanting to protect territory, owners and social status.

What should I do?

Although there is no real cure for inter-dog aggression, behavioral modification can help treat dog aggression.

Stopping dog aggression: avoiding and ignoring another dog

You should not afraid of and stare at another dog. Dogs are very sensitive to human's feeling and will pick up on your emotions and reflects them. You should avert your eyes from the dog, ignore him, move along and keep walking at a natural pace. Sometimes dog treats cannot get his attention and avoid another dog since another dog is too close. You can also move our dog behind a barrier or try blocking the dog’s view with our body to block another dog.

Training for aggressive dogs: Creating Neutral Experiences

You can create as many neutral dog-to-dog meeting experiences to build your dog’s confidence. You should positively interrupt your dog after a very short duration such as 2-3 seconds and keep encounters short while greeting or meeting another dog. It can prevent him from obsessing on another dog or object. In this way, your dog will not get over-excited and aggressive and lose control of himself. Also, he will learn that he should avoid rather than confront when seeing other dogs.

Training for aggressive dogs: Desensitization

Desensitizing your dog to other dogs is a good method to treat dog aggression. This method is training your dog to be not afraid of other dogs by gradually exposing it to other dogs in public. You can ask your dog to sit and relax on verbal cues when seeing another dog. Then, you can offer small food treats as rewards when he is calm and willing to give you his attention when you ask for it.

This article is written by Dr. Jack Roberts.

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