What Is Dog Aggression And How To Stop It

stop dog aggression quickly easily

Although owning a dog is never easy, dealing with an aggressive dog may be difficult. It often goes beyond just stressing over having a dog that barks excessively or coming home to a wrecked living room. Being concerned that your dog will attack someone—a stranger or another pet—can be distressing. Dog aggression is undoubtedly a significant issue, but it is also curable. In this post on canine aggression, we’ll go over what drives this behaviour, how it usually manifests, and most importantly, how to deal with and prevent it.

What is Dog Aggression?

When someone says their dog is aggressive, the first thing that comes to mind is that they have a dog that bites. However, aggression can apply to a lot of different behaviours. While some dogs restrain their aggression and only rarely growl, others have the potential to attack other dogs or even people.

Regardless of your dog’s aggression, the most important thing is to understand what is behind the behaviour. There are many possible reasons a dog may be aggressive, so knowing the underlying problem will make treatment more accessible and successful. Even if dog aggression is one of the more serious behavioural problems you could deal with, it is still merely a behavioural problem that can be fixed. But it’s one of the harder ones to handle.


How can you determine if a dog is becoming aggressive due to anxiety? What types of nonverbal signs and actions indicate an impending attack? If you know the answers to these questions, you can predict aggressive behaviour and maybe stop it before it gets out of hand.

Except for Sudden Onset Aggression Syndrome, a rare condition, the specific behaviour preceding an aggressive attack can always be predicted. The following is a list of the most common canine aggression warning signs:

  • A rigid stance
  • Ears tucked in
  • Growling
  • Showing teeth
  • Snarling
  • Variable-intensity bites (from light snipping to puncturing bites)
  • Why Is My Dog Being So Aggressive?

To truly understand how to lessen dog aggression, you must first determine what initially makes your dog aggressive. A dog rarely displays aggression without provocation. Despite the issue that poor socialization and training are commonly to blame, other elements could play a role. The primary causes of dog aggression are as follows:

  • Ailment or suffering?
  • Fear
  • Promoting supremacy
  • Protecting territory or property

Your aggressive pet may act aggressively because of a stressor or traumatic behaviour. Your dog may display aggressive behaviour since they are uncomfortable if they act suddenly. How, though, can you be sure that the cause of your dog’s aggressive behaviour has been identified?

Types of dog aggression

Several types of aggressive behaviour may commonly have the same source. For instance, an aggressive dog may attack other dogs, be unwelcoming to new family members, or act aggressively while on a leash to show dominance. To better understand what causes your dog’s negative behaviour and how to prevent and treat your dog’s aggression, the correct type of dog aggression must be determined.

Dog aggression is brought on by food or possession.

The focus of this behaviour, also known as resource guarding, is a dog’s fixation with a specific type. The outcome is the same: a plate of food, their bed, or their favourite toy. When another person or animal approaches their stuff, possessive, aggressive dogs will react. Territorial dogs might react when what they perceive to be intruders invade their zone. Depending on the problem’s seriousness, the responses might range from a mere growl to a full-blown attack that includes biting.

Dogs fear aggression.

Like it is for people, fear has a powerful motivating effect on dogs. Fear-aggressive dogs decide to fight when faced with a terrifying situation, whereas nervous dogs may decide to turn. In contrast to most other types of dog aggression, fear aggression in dogs never manifests any signs. These dogs won’t react until they feel forced to defend themselves, so they won’t growl, bare their teeth, or snarl until they nip at their source of fear. A dog’s past trauma generally brings on this behaviour.

Dogs’ leash aggression

When your dog usually acts and is friendly and calm, but as soon as you attach their leash, they start lunging, barking, and attempting to bite. This is leash aggression. This aggressive behaviour, which frequently targets other dogs, is brought on by your dog’s frustration at being restrained by their leash.

When your dog misbehaves in public, even though it seldom culminates in the leash-aggressive dog attacking a canine spectator, it is annoying (after all, you are holding the other end of the leash). When dogs are not adequately trained promptly, this aggressive behaviour often manifests and can be the easiest to correct.

Social aggression in dogs

In this case, intuition is crucial. The home has a distinct hierarchy, even if you are unaware, because dogs are gregarious pack animals. A dominant dog may occasionally use aggressive body language to “remind” inferior pets of their authority. A dog occasionally acts aggressively toward people they perceive to be weaker members of their pack. The key in this circumstance is to be assertive and play the role of the pack leader rather than act like a two-legged beta.

Dogs’ pain-related aggression

Dogs are good at hiding their pain, but if something annoys them, they may start growling or nipping. Even though it seems like aggressive behaviour, it is just a defensive tactic. It’s important to use caution while petting a dog in pain since, for example, injured dogs have been known to bite people trying to help them. There’s a significant chance that your senior dog is experiencing pain, discomfort, or even illness if you notice them acting violently out of the blue. Instead of correcting the behaviour, take them to the vet to rule out any medical concerns that might be the cause.

Dog breeds prone to aggression

The misconception that circulates the most concerns a dog’s capacity for aggression. However, there are numerous aggressive breeds. You’ve probably already heard it. Such vicious breeds like Pitbulls, Dobermans, and Rottweilers are bred to be bloodthirsty and aggressive. It’s false, in actuality. There are neither the least aggressive nor the most aggressive dog breeds. And it’s not just my opinion; science has consistently shown it.

Veterinarians disagree over the allegedly most aggressive dog breeds. Only the dog’s age and gender are biological factors that contribute to aggressive behaviour. In contrast to, say, a female of the same species who has undergone spaying. This dog is unneutered, poorly socialized, has reached sexual maturity and may be more prone to aggressive outbursts. Aggression in dogs can be prevented with proper socialization, training, and many dogs. Nothing to do with a person’s breed!

The Best Ways to Handle Dog Aggression

Dog aggression is a challenging problem. In particular, if your pup’s aggression is severe, there is no “quick fix” or “magic pill” that will make them behave well overnight. But if you take the right approach and have a lot of patience, you can learn how to stop dog aggression in its tracks.

As is usually the case, prevention is the key to behavioural issues. You won’t have to deal with a bigger problem down the road if you take care of the immediate issue. The results are typically the best when puppy training is diligently carried out. Most aggressive dogs exhibit early warning signs that can be solved if discovered in time. The emergence of canine aggression can be stopped with the help of the tried-and-true recommendations listed below.

  • Prevent abusive behaviour
  • Watch out for signs of resource protection.
  • Pay attention to how well-socialized your pet is with other pets and people.
  • Use training and reward-based instruction.

Even if you adopted an adult dog with behavioural issues or missed the signs of aggression when your pet was a puppy, there are still ways to reduce aggression, even when it becomes a severe problem. Here are some valuable techniques that, depending on the specifics of your problem, will make a grumpy dog into a calm dog.

My first issue: my dog is aggressive toward strangers.

Solution: The first step in learning how to reduce dog aggression against strangers is identifying the situations that cause the behaviour. Is it only particular types of strangers—men, women, kids, people in uniforms, etc.—or are they all strangers? Does your dog become aggressive when visitors arrive at your home or pass by on the street? By responding to these questions, you can determine the nature of the problem and the type of dog aggression. They could display leash aggression, which calls for leadership training, or they could be drawn to a particular group of people as a type of trauma or abuse in the past. In both cases, the best results come from slow desensitization to the source of stress and training with positive reinforcement.

Second scenario: The dog is aggressive toward the cats.

Cats and dogs are not necessarily hostile to one another, despite what the general public believes. In homes with numerous canine and feline pets, having a dog who gets angry around cats can be a severe problem.
Depending on the level of aggression your pet displays, learning how to lessen dog aggression against cats might be a safety issue, so it’s essential to make an effort to socialize them. Remember that because cats can be finicky and irritable, socializing with cats and dogs can be mind-consuming.

Situation #3: An aggressive dog toward the owner

Having your pet act violently toward you is the most upsetting thing. But you shouldn’t take it personally! Most of the time, your dog’s aggression is brought on by another issue, such as resource guarding or dog-on-dog aggression. Of course, there’s always a chance that a concealed medical issue causes your dog’s odd behaviour. If your dog suddenly starts snarling or nipping at you, be cautious about ruling out any illnesses or injuries first.

The fourth situation: my dog gets aggressive when eating.

Because they don’t believe in sharing, your puppy starts snapping at anyone approaching too close to their chow. How do you handle a possessively aggressive dog? The trick will be getting them to understand that no one is trying to take their food away. If you wish to pet them while eating, approach them cautiously and remain close until they become comfortable. Do your pets quarrel over the food you set out at work? Use a pet camera that gives treats for good behaviour to stop your animals from being mean.

Final Thoughts

Living with an aggressive dog is difficult, but it’s also not the world’s end. While it could feel terrifying sometimes, it is merely a behavioural problem that could be solved with proper socialization and training. Your dog might be a timid, solitary puppy beneath all that growling and snapping. Given the right conditions, any fearful or aggressive dog has the chance to change.

A routine change or working with a qualified dog trainer may be the best option, depending on how bad your dog’s aggression issues are. No matter what decision you and your dog finally make, the effort will be well worth it.