ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Treat Conflict Induced Aggression in Dogs

Updated on January 21, 2011
Conflict aggression in dogs. clarita, morguefile.com
Conflict aggression in dogs. clarita, morguefile.com

At times, dog owners report that they own a dog with a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde sort of personality. Often, they complaint that their dog acts often quite sociable towards people and then out of nowhere, comes that unexpected growl, snarl or bite. From this behavior often stems the statement ''my dog just bit out of the blue''. Indeed, these dogs appear to be social and excited one moment, fearful or aggressive the next. But what triggers such substantial changes in mood? This form of aggression is not that uncommon and actually even has a name: it is called  ''Conflict Aggression'' and indeed conflict is at the base of such behavior problem.

Causes of Conflict Induced Aggression

Conflict aggression takes place when the dog is affected by two different and quite opposite states of mind. On one hand the dog is excited and eager to meet that new intriguing person, but on the other hand the dog is perhaps fearful of the way this person moves or talks. Some of the most common combination of states of mind are generally excitement mixed with anxiety, fear or aggression. Owners therefore are often confused by the dog's mixed behaviors since often he will approach the stranger on his own initiative and then out of nowhere will fearfully retreat or worse, exhibit aggressive behaviors.

This form of aggression is often reinforced with time as the dog gradually learns that each time he or she growls or snarls, the expected ''bad event'' does not take place. For instance, the dog is hyper and excited upon meeting a new person. Then this person reaches out quickly to pet the dog and the dog reacts by growling. Since the growling likely got him out of an uncomfortable situation and the imagined ''threatening situation'' did not not take place, the behavior is enforced and very likely repeated next time.

Management of Conflict Induced Aggression

A good approach would be to ensure the dog settles down and acts calmly before exposing him to stimuli known to cause a reaction. The dog should therefore be taught to heel or sit down calmly, before being exposed to the situation. Excitement therefore should be discouraged and the new person should not move suddenly or reach out too quickly. Desensitization (exposing the dog gradually and regularly to the situation, ultimately putting the dog up to success) and counterconditioning techniques (encouraging behaviors that are incompatible and therefore replace the previously learned behaviors). Harsh training methods should always be avoided in these cases.With time, the dog should learn that there is no real threat and will be more accepting of the situation.

The use of a head halter is often recommended to ensure good control when dealing with behavior problems including aggression. This will help quickly gain control of the dog who lunges or attempts to bite. A light correction may also be given with the head halter by gently pulling upward. Dogs are not viscous, schizophrenic or crazy, with consistency, patience and time, conflict induced aggression can be managed and the viscous excitement/aggressive cycle can be finally broken.

References

 

Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat, Volume 1

 By Gary M. Landsberg, Wayne L. Hunthausen, Lowell J. Ackerman

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      aggressive dog traiing 

      8 years ago

      Step one in aggressive dog training is recognizing the aggression problem. Aggressive dog behavior is a natural instinct in your pet, however it must be controlled, for your own safety and also the safety of your canine companion.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Wonderful hub and love that picture. I have never seen this in any dog I have ever owned expect my chow, when she got cancer and started to feel pain, so sometimes the root to the problem can go deep. Thumbs up

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)