aggressive dog causes and tips for affected owners
Most dogs are extremely peaceful and friendly contemporaries. Even if some four-legged strangers are rather reserved due to breed-specific peculiarities, they usually do not pose a threat to their environment.
But what if a dog behaves aggressively and in the worst case maybe even bites? What causes such behaviour and what you as the owner can do about it are explained below.
Why do dogs become aggressive?
No dog is naturally aggressive or malicious. If a four-legged friend tends nevertheless to aggressive behavior, the reason for it lies mostly in experiences, which he made in the past. Repeatedly experienced negative feelings such as anger and fear can firmly imprint themselves on the dog with the time, unsettle him in certain situations and lead to the fact that the quadruped tends to behave aggressively.
Especially dogs that are afraid often feel so insecure and so crowded that biting is the best way out of this situation. The same can be observed with animals that are exposed to excessive stress. This can also ensure that the uncertainty and excessive demands of the dog sooner or later becomes noticeable in the form of aggression.
It is almost always the mistakes that the owner makes in dealing with his dog that lead to aggressiveness towards fellow dogs or even humans. In some cases, however, aggression can also be triggered by the pain the dog suffers from as a result of illness.
Take the danger seriously
An aggressive dog is a serious matter where there can be no two opinions. Remember that especially larger animals with strong teeth can cause serious, potentially life-threatening injuries to humans and animals.
There is therefore no specific limit up to which you can tolerate the aggressive behaviour of your dog. As soon as your four-legged friend shows signs of aggression, you must become active. In this way you protect yourself, your environment and your dog.
Avoid the triggers of aggression
In retrospect, it is often difficult to determine the exact cause that led to the aggressive behavior of a dog. In the first step it can be helpful to check in which situations the dog reacts aggressively.
Usually the aggressions of a dog can be assigned to one of the following three forms:
- Competition aggression (The four-legged friend wants to secure his status within the pack, for example, by defending toys or food bowls aggressively).
- Protection aggression (The dog has the feeling that you are in danger and tries to defend you with his aggressive behavior against it).
- Self-defense (If the four-legged friend has the feeling that he is threatened by another dog or also by a human being, aggression can serve his defence.)
As long as you cannot control your dog's aggressions, you should avoid situations that cause them as much as possible. If you are aggressive towards other dogs, for example, it is a good idea to use routes that are temporarily unused for walking.
Why wrong calming often intensifies aggressions
There is one big mistake, which can be observed with many owners in dealing with their aggressive dog. Instead of reacting appropriately to the obviously bad behaviour of the animal, it is rewarded with cuddles, nice words and perhaps even a treat.
Of course, usually no dog owner has the goal to praise his four-legged friend for his aggressive behavior. Unconsciously, however, many do exactly that. Because your dog does not understand what you say, but only what you do and how your voice sounds.
Your coaxing and caressing may serve as reassurance. In this way, however, you signal to your dog that he is doing everything right. Instead of reducing his aggression, you'll even increase it over time.
If your dog is prone to aggressive behaviour, there is a good chance that you will not be able to solve this problem on your own. For this reason, we recommend that you do not shy away from obtaining professional support if necessary.
At a dog school you will learn how to react correctly in situations where your dog has been aggressive so far. As part of a desensitisation training, the dog trainer will study alternative behaviours with you and your four-legged friend, whereby the aggressions are gradually trained away from the animal.