How to Handle Your Dog's Aggressive Behavior
Mon, April 19, 2021

How to Handle Your Dog's Aggressive Behavior

When a dog regularly growls, snaps, or bites, there is a very good chance that they have a behavior problem / Photo by: Victoria Antonova via Shutterstock

 

Dogs behave according to their environment. They could be sweet and loyal if they feel that they are safe with the people around them, and they tend to be apprehensive and aggressive if they feel that someone or something is being a threat to them. This could be their defense mechanism to protect themselves from things that they sense could hurt them. 

For this reason, you should always be careful when petting a dog you see on the streets. Sure, they can be irresistible and cute, but these animals are unpredictable. They won’t know how to act around strangers. When a dog regularly growls, snaps, or bites, there is a very good chance that they have a behavior problem. 

Aggression, as defined by The Spruce Pets, a website that offers practical, real-life tips and training advice to help you care for your pet, “is one of the top reasons dog owners seek the help of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist.”

 

Identifying the Cause of Their Aggression

Handling an aggressive dog can be very difficult and frustrating, especially if your dog is already an adult. That is why it is important to train your dog when they are still a pup for them to be comfortable and calm when they interact with other dogs or when they meet new people. Aggression among dogs is usually manifested when they bark, lunge, growl, or bare their teeth. 

Aggressive behavior in dogs is connected with an attack or an impending attack. The usual warning signs are when the dog becomes still and rigid, growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, and nipping, or biting. Growling in dogs is common especially if someone approaches them while they are eating or chewing a bone. There are also some cases where dogs become aggressive around other animals or toward inanimate objects like wheels on vehicles or yard equipment. 

Our canine friend is also considered to be our family’s protector. Whenever a delivery man will come and knock on your door, your dog will assume its position and bark since they are conditioned to protect us from danger. For them, every stranger could be your enemy, and they will guard and protect your family since they consider themselves as a part of your pack. This could be considered as territorial aggression, where the dog defends its space or home from an intruder. 

On the other hand, possessive aggression is when the dog is clingy and possessive of their family and their territory. They will growl at anyone who will come near their possessions and when you pet other dogs. If they smell an unfamiliar scent on you, especially if you reek of cat scent, then they can also exhibit aggressive behavior like barking.

Aggressive behavior in dogs is connected with an attack or an impending attack. The usual warning signs are when the dog becomes still and rigid, growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, and nipping, or biting / Photo by: Parilov via Shutterstock

 

Familiarize Them With Other People

All people are different, and this goes the same with animals. In the eyes of a puppy, the different ages, shapes, and sizes of humans might be confusing. Hills Pet Nutrition, a company that produces and markets pet foods, suggested on their website that pet owners must make sure that their pet encounters as many people as possible at an early age. In that way, strangers will seem less strange and they’ll soon learn to become calmer and more trusting around other people. 

It is also important that your pet will be more familiarized with younger kids. There are a lot of children who cannot resist fussing over a puppy and although they mean no harm, this kind of behavior can be alarming and overwhelming for a dog. It’s a good idea to take your puppy for a walk near the local school. When children come and say hello, your dog will learn how to act around them. 

 

Handle Play Biting

Puppies are used to play with their brothers and sisters, and it is obvious that play-biting is their natural game. However, when they are settled into their new home, they will want to play-bite with you as well. To manage your pet’s excessive biting, you will need to divert their attention away from your hands with toys or treats. 

When petting a dog, it is best to start by stroking its hair first. When the dog wants to chew on your hand, make sure that you have their toys ready or something hard for it to bite on. It won’t be long before it learns that toys are a lot more fun to play with and chew than your fingers. 

Puppies are used to play with their brothers and sisters, and it is obvious that play-biting is their natural game. However, when they are settled into their new home, they will want to play-bite with you as well / Photo by: TKalinowski via Shutterstock

 

Talk to a Professional

My Puppy Story, a website that provides articles about dog issues, suggested that if you feel that your dog is not calming down at all, it must be best to contact a local vet or professional to deal with your dog’s behavior problems. Aggressive behavior in dogs must be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or disease that needs treatment.