Dog aggression can become a real problem if it is not controlled and if you don’t know how to overcome the problem. Understanding where it comes from is the most important step in dealing with your dog and helping it become more peaceful and joyful. Namely, dogs usually become aggressive when they are frustrated or when they want to claim dominance.
When it comes to frustration, as Cesar Millan explains, it usually comes from a lack of exercise, while claiming dominance is a result of a lack of calm-assertive leadership.
Any dog breed can become aggressive and cause problems, but a bigger dog such as a pit bull can cause more damage than, for instance, a Chihuahua. When powerful breeds live in a house with people who love them, but don’t understand what their dog needs and thus don’t fulfill the dog’s wishes, it may end up in disaster.
As Cesar Millan suggests, “you need to become the dog’s pack leader and establish rules, boundaries, and limitations”. One thing is certain – taking care of a dog is a great responsibility.
The cause of your dog’s aggression may vary:
1. Your dog could have some medical problems, such as hypothyroidism, a thyroid disease which causes mood swings and occasionally depression and aggression.
2. If your dog has had a head injury, it is possible that a part of its brain is damaged and is causing the aggression.
3. Some dogs also become very aggressive due to developing tumors or experiencing pain of some kind, while some are simply genetically predisposed for aggression.
1. However, these causes of aggression can be dealt with.
You need to take your dog to the veterinarian and determine whether there is a medical condition that needs to be treated. In case there is a disease, you will have the tools to start working on the problem through medical treatment, and soon you will have your loving and unaggressive dog back. If you’ve taken your dog to the vet and there seems to be nothing medically wrong with it, you should explore other potential causes of aggression.
2. Fear-motivated aggression
Dogs that are afraid for their safety are very likely to become aggressive and act on it towards humans or other dogs. Sometimes the threat they feel is realistic, and sometimes it is imagined, but the dog perceives it as real and takes it seriously.
In such cases when the threat isn’t real, a person that’s trying to take something from the dog’s proximity could get bitten as the dog might perceive it as an attack. If you’ve adopted a dog and it shows fear-motivated aggression, it is possible that it was abused by its previous family and it fears that you or someone else who gets close to them could abuse it as well.
The best way to deal with this is with kindness and care. Try to show your dog that you’re not afraid of it and that you mean it no harm. Offer it your hand and if it approaches you, pet it gently. Don’t let other people near the dog until it becomes stabile.
3. Protective or territorial aggression
Protective aggression commonly happens when your dog becomes a mother. If someone tries to take her puppies away from her, she will most definitely become aggressive. Well, what mother wouldn’t?
The same could happen if someone tries to attack you (or it appears that way) and your dog feels the need to defend you. In such cases, the dog starts feeling as a protector. If you don’t want your dog to start attacking people, you should become the dominant one and command it to obey when you say ‘NO’ or ‘STOP’.
When it comes to territorial aggression, dogs feel the need to defend their territory and they will bark and growl at anyone who tries to invade their space. In this case, you should either give your dog a separate place of its own, or teach it to share with humans and other dogs.
Although, a dog barking when a stranger tries to break your door in the middle of the night is a pretty useful warning sign.