A Brief Overview Of Aggression

25 02 2009

aggressive-dogLately, we have been getting TONS of questions about aggression issues.  These questions have led to some great articles on other topics, but it looks like aggression in general is a very broad and vague topic.  If you have questions about aggression, we have an excellent series about the different types, how they manifest, and how to treat or manage them.  You can find the articles that address aggression (both as part of the series and recent questions about it) here.

As a guide to help you decide whether your dog has some aggression issues, check out the questions below and keep track of how many apply to your canine family:

  • If someone is reaching to touch your dog’s head does he pull away, snap, or bite in response?
  • Does your dog attack other dogs in your home or on walks in your neighborhood?
  • Has your dog ever attacked you or any member of your family?
  • Are you or any family members afraid of your dog?
  • Without any provocation, has your dog ever attacked another person?
  • Without any provocation, has your dog ever attacked another animal?
  • When your dog is at the vet or groomers, does he growl, snap, bite, or lunge at their personnel or others animals?
  • When riding in a car, does your dog attempt to lunge or bite people outside the car?
  • Can you pet your dog while he is eating (food or treats) without him growling?
  • Can you take a toy or bone away from your dog without him growling?
  • Are you able to restrain your dog by his collar with your hand without him growling?
  • If you try to remove your dog from the couch or other desirable area, does he bite or growl?
  • Does your dog growl at children, if they attempt to play with him?
  • Is it difficult for you to control your dog if he even sees another dog?

    These questions address gauge the possibility of aggression in a dog.  Keep in mind that there are many types of aggression, and it is not specific to one breed, one gender, or one lifestyle.  Aggression is serious, and it should be addressed by a professional dog trainer or dog behaviorist to treat or manage any aggression present.

    One of the most important tips for raising a dog without aggression issues is to properly socialize them with other dogs, other humans, and other animals at the appropriate age.  I highly recommend obedience training for all dogs, but especially for a dog who is showing early signs of aggression.  Aggression DOES NOT just go away, and it DOES NOT get better with age.

    I have seen that dogs who are left alone for long periods of time, especially outside, are more prone to aggressive tendencies.  The interaction between a dogs and his family is very important, as this really molds his personality.  Families with children should be extra careful with dog ownership, especially with larger dogs.  Children should be taught to never tease, taunt, harass, scream or throw anything at a dog.  The reaction they receive will more than likely not be a pleasant one.

    There are absolutely no excuses for a  dog to be without discipline.  We are great and wonderful creatures (IMHO), and we make excellent companions, but some can be deadly under the right circumstances.

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