Warning Signs of Potentially Dangerous and Aggressive Dogs
Many times dogs owners are faced with behaviors from their canine friends that are a bit far from what would be expected from ''man's best friend''. Such behavior issues are often ignored or excused with phrases such as ''he will grow out of it'', ''it's just a phase'' or ''he just does it only every now and then''. Sugar coating such issues however, does not help at all, rather in many cases, unwanted behaviors are more likely than not, to escalate and exacerbate if left untreated.
It is very important first of all, to have a veterinarian rule out any physical conditions especially if the unwanted behavior appears to be out of the norm and suddenly. Sometimes even the most docile dogs may turn quite aggressive if they are in pain. A common scenario is a very well tempered dogs that suddenly snaps when its head is touched because of an underlying painful ear condition. For more on this read" Medical Causes for Dog Aggression".
Another issue that may cause behavior changes at times is a condition called ''hypothyroidism''. It is certainly worth to discuss with the vet about the chances of the dog having this condition. All it takes to rule it out is a thyroid blood panel.
Hormones do play a role in aggressiveness. Often owners of intact male dogs may deal with aggressive behaviors especially when they detect a female in heat nearby. While neutering may help a male dog have a better disposition, it is not really a ''cure all'' for major behavioral problems that are not hormone related. For more about this read:
Signs of Potential Problems That Should Not Be Ignored
Growling is a warning sign that should not be ignored. While some people appreciate the growling of a dog because it indicates the dog will warn before going to their next level of action which of course is a bite, a growl should not be underestimated because it may indicate the dog has a low level of threshold or is weak-nerved. To read how to deal with growls read" Why Growling should Never be Suppressed in Dogs
Biting is of course, the most obvious act of aggression dogs may express. It does not have to break the skin to be considered a significant event. Often owners start seeking for help once the dog bit somebody, however, in many cases, there have been warning signs of increased aggressive behaviors that have been ignored or were too subtle to be noticed by the inexperienced eye.
Circumstances and Dynamics Most Likely to Cause Trouble
- Related to Feeding
Dogs that growl when they are eating
Dogs that lift their lip and snarl while eating
Dogs that get tense and tend to stop eating as you approach
Dogs that growl when they are chewing a bone
Dogs that steal food and get aggressive when trying to retrieve it
Dogs that respond aggressively when they are found scavenging the trash
Read how to tackle this issue: Dog Resource Guarding
- Related to Sleeping
Dogs that growl if forced off a bed or couch
Dogs that growl if allowed on the bed and the owner moves too much
Dogs that growl if awakened
Dogs that growl if touched while sleeping
- Related to Being Touched
Dogs that do not allow children to touch them
Dogs that growl when groomed or during dog nail clips
Dogs that dislike being touched on the head/shoulder area
Dogs that do not like to be touched from the above
Dogs that do not allow to be medicated
- Related to Playing
Dogs that growl if their toys are touched
Dogs that will not let children near their toys
Dogs that get too rough when playing
- Related to Being Disciplined
Dogs that react aggressively to being reprimanded
- Related to Being Exposed to the Outdoors
Dogs that chase cars, small animals, joggers, bikers
Dogs that lunge towards other dogs or people
Dogs that act aggressively towards strangers
Dogs that act overly protective of their owners
Dogs that growl if owner shakes hands or hugs another person
Dogs that in a car bark aggressively at other people
Dogs that are fence aggressive and very territorial
As seen, the signs are all out there. It is very harmful to ignore them altogether in the hopes that they will disappear. Unfortunately, many times, they will come back sooner than later and grow in intensity if they are not nipped in the bud. If your dog displays any of these signs, please don't try to solve them on their own but consult with a veterinary behaviorist, or a certified applied animal behaviorist.
For Further Reading
- Dog Training: How to Use Differential Reinforcement ...
How can you use differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior to train your dog? Learn more about this training method and its advantages.
- Dog Aggression Prognosis
What's the prognosis for an aggressive dog? Dog aggression prognosis varies and depends on a variety of factors. Learn about a few that can play a role, but no black and white statements can be made.
- Dog Behavior: Understanding Fear Periods in Dogs
What are fear periods in dogs and when do they take place? Learn how to cope with them and help your dog overcome them.
- How to Help a Dog that is Aggressive Towards Other D...
There are various causes for inter-dog aggression in dogs varying from lack of socialization, negative past experiences, or a tendency for same- sex aggression in some breeds of dogs, to just name a few. Regardless of the underlying causes,...
- Dog Behavior: Can you Reinforce Aggression?
Is it true that you can reinforce aggression? Learn what the pros say and why using positive punishment is counter-productive in many ways.
- Dog Behavior: Considerations for Re-homing Aggressiv...
Learn why re-homing an aggressive dog can be downright wrong. So what to do with an aggressive dog? There are some options, but there is little left to do with dogs with a bite history.
- How to Teach Your Dog to Focus: Distraction Proofing...
It perhaps has happened to everyone who has owned dogs: their dog obeys always on the spot at home but once at the dog park or at a friend's home, your dog acts like he has never heard the word ''sit'' and...