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Dog aggression: where it comes from and what to do when the dog is aggressive?

Aggressive dog

Aggression in a dog is one of the most common problems a pet owner has to deal with.

It is also one of the most common reasons for throwing dogs out or putting them in a shelter.

In the article I will try to present the problem of aggression in dogs.

It will allow you to understand the reasons for aggressive behavior and show you how to fight it.

  • What is aggression?
    • Aggression towards yourself
  • Dog aggression towards other dogs
  • Dog aggression towards other animals: the mythical cat-dog relationship
  • Dog aggression towards household members
  • Territorial aggression in a dog
  • Aggression towards objects
  • Why is the dog aggressive?
  • How to counteract aggression?
    • First - diagnose the problem
    • Second - be patient
    • Third - prevent boredom
    • Fourth - teach obedience
    • Fifth - bring up, do not pamper
    • Sixth - educate yourself and ask for help
  • What to do when the dog is aggressive?
    • Aggression towards yourself
    • Aggression towards other dogs
    • Dog aggression towards household members

What is aggression?

There are several types of aggression, each of them has a different basis, and only when we understand the cause of aggressive behavior can we remedy it.

Aggression towards yourself

It often occurs in nervous dogs, e.g. after a stay in a shelter or a difficult experience - we often observe it in:

  • beaten animals,
  • dogs kept on chains,
  • dogs staying in the shelter.

It usually shows up self-mutilation.

Dogs bite their hair from the interdigital spaces, the sides of the body.

They can also bite their tail, often to the blood.

With this type of aggression, it is first necessary to exclude diseases, i.e. APZS, hormonal changes, dermatological or allergic problems.

The most important thing here is to diagnose the problem.

It should be noted in what situations the pooch hurts himself and eliminates the stimulus, or reduces the intensity of the response to a given stimulus.

Is it not, for example,. so that he bites his sides only during our absence (separation anxiety), or only in the presence of a household member, or does not do it during a storm, rain or other situations in which it is loud - for example during fireworks.

In this case, it may be necessary to wear a collar on the dog and use sedatives (herbal or psychotropic).

Dog aggression towards other dogs

Dog aggression towards other dogs

Dog aggression towards other dogs is one of the most common forms of aggression, it can manifest itself in e.g. during walks.

Adopted dogs, raised in communities such as eg. shelter, can be aggressive towards other dogs. It's a defensive reaction:

My Lord can always name me, so I'd better chase away the intruder. It will show you that he is important to me and that I can protect him from anyone.

In this case, the only method is to visit a behaviorist and train the dog accordingly.

Without it, your pooch will always be exposed to fights, injuries, and often life-threatening ones.

Dogs aggressive towards other dogs should be led on a leash and in a muzzle.

It is also best to avoid dog communities - e.g. dog walkers.

This type of aggression is often associated with hormones. Dogs often fight among themselves for the favors of the female.

In this case, it is advisable to castrate the pooch.

This treatment helps to reduce aggressive behavior.

Dogs are not so aroused, they don't have to vent their emotions, so there are fewer fights between them.

You can see aggressive dogs in the video below

Not as amazing male Cane Corso vs aggressive German Shepherds
Watch this video on YouTube

Dog aggression towards other animals: the mythical cat-dog relationship

Dog aggression towards other animals

Who among us has not heard of a dog that chased a cat or tried to bite it.

In our vocabulary, it has even become common to say that someone who lives in discord lives like a dog with a cat.

Of course, nowadays this formulation is in many cases out of date.

Often, dogs and cats live in the same house and have no problem with it.

It is true, however, that some dogs react aggressively to animals of a different species.

You must be aware that the dog is evolutionarily a predator and a hunter.

In the course of pretending it, people tried to drown out these instincts, slightly changing the purpose of the dog - from a hunter dog to a dog - a couch potato, which is only to lie, look and be a human friend.

In some of the quadrupeds, however, instinct prevails, for example hunting dogs.

So if you are the owner of a pointer or a hound, do not be surprised when he wants to hunt, speaking the most delicately, a cat, mouse, marten or pigeon on a walk.

Of course, you can try to get your dog used to the presence of cats in the house or yard, but this will usually take a long time.

You dream of having a cat and a dog at the same time - it's best to get your dog used to the presence of other animals from the puppy.

Dog aggression towards household members

Dog aggression towards household members

Dog aggression towards household members this is one of the most common types of aggression that results in dogs being sent to shelters

Currently, it is estimated that as many as approx one third shelter residents is there precisely because of aggression towards the owner, child or other people.

However, let's ask ourselves if only dogs are responsible for their aggressive behavior?

In my opinion, there are no aggressive dogs, only aggressive owners.

Dogs don't get bad for no reason.

Usually, the animal's aggression is rooted in the mistakes of upbringing people.

If Mr. Burka beats him every time the toddler tries something, Burek will finally bite his guardian to defend himself.

He will then notice that you have disconnected for a while, so he will do it every time.

Unfortunately, this is the case in many cases

The phrase "aggression breeds aggression" is absolutely true here.

Another case is complete no control over the dog. Dogs are animals in which hierarchy is very important.

He needs to know from the start who the alpha male is in the herd.

It would be good if it was a man and not himself.

So if you are the owner of a spoiled Yorkie who as a little puppy bites anything and everyone without any consequences, don't be surprised that he will do the same when he grows up.

I remember the case of a Spaniel who, together with the owners, once came to my office for a routine rabies vaccination.

He was 6 years old at the time.

It looked something like this: the door opens - the dog enters, behind him politely the owners, who are leaning against the wall next to the door - on the other side of the office. It was as if the dog was holding them on an invisible leash.

The thought is already smoldering in my head: something is wrong here

I am starting the interview and I am asking you to put the pooch on the examination table.

The owners reply that they are afraid to touch the dog because it bites

The only person who approaches him is his grandfather, but grandpa is away.

The lady had already been severely bitten by the dog several times, as were her daughter and husband.

Currently, the dog is served only when he is not in the room (the bowl is placed, the owners politely leave, and at the same time open the door to the dog, because when he notices someone approaching his bowl, he bites).

When I asked since this is the situation, the answer was that:

As a puppy he was sweet, pampered, and when he was about half a year old he started biting, snarling, we thought it was teeth, and it was so sweet anyway. Well, after a year, he began to terrorize the entire house.

And now imagine that this has been happening for 6 years and the pet's guardians have not done anything about it.

The question is whether the fault lies with the dog or the owner?

As a responsible owner of a pet, should owners not seek help from a behaviorist when the toddler is six months old, and not postpone it indefinitely??

Another aspect is aggression towards one person or children.

Let us remember dogs are living, thinking animals.

So if someone in the past caused pain or pain to the dog, do not count on a loud greeting and great friendship - the dog's trust is rebuilt for a very long time.

As for children - a dog whose child will pull its ears, tail, or tug at the hair will defend itself.

Wouldn't you try to free yourself when someone pulls your hair, lifts your legs upside down or twists your arms?

I don't think I need to answer that question.

Territorial aggression in a dog

Territorial aggression in a dog

It happens in dogs that have a strong territorial instinct. It mainly concerns "backyard" dogs, but also domestic dogs may have this problem.

In their psyche, the terrain in which they live belongs only to them and their herds.

The word guest is not in their dictionary.

Anyone who enters their home will be treated as a mortal enemy.

We are talking about a postman, courier, plumber, friends of your daughter or son, but also other animals: cats, birds, etc.

In this case, properly implemented (preferably by a professional) training should slightly reduce the territorial aspirations of your pet.

Aggression towards objects

For dogs, objects such as a car, garbage truck or trains are huge metal monsters that make noise, wreak havoc and destruction.

Are they not killing dogs and cats every day??

According to the dog, it is best to get rid of them as soon as possible! In this way, they protect themselves and their family.

The problem begins when the dog, while neutralizing the opponent, forgets about his own safety - runs under the car's tires, bites them, jumps on the tracks barking at the train.

In this way, he endangers his health and life.

That is why it is so important to remove this dangerous behavior and to intervene with behavior.

Why is the dog aggressive?

Why is the dog aggressive?

What are the causes of aggression?

The list below is certainly not exhaustive, but they are the most common causes of aggression in a dog:

  • fear,
  • jealousy,
  • desire to dominate,
  • no socialization at a young age - "savage dogs ",
  • previous experiences, e.g. in beaten dogs kept in the shelter,
  • sexual behavior,
  • desire to dominate,
  • hormones,
  • transferred aggression e.g. in relation to the owner who wants to separate fighting dogs,
  • the sense of a predator, e.g. cats hunting dogs,
  • racial predisposition, the so-called. aggressive dog breeds,
  • sexual - non-castrated males, lactating bitches that defend their litter,
  • pain - e.g. dogs after accidents or disease,
  • nervous symptoms of some diseases, e.g. rabies.

How to counteract aggression?

First - diagnose the problem

There can be many reasons for aggression.

Therefore, the most important in the process of counteracting it is to identify the cause of aggressive behavior.

If your dog, e.g. barks and growls at one of your friends - ask him if he did not hurt the dog - he did not step on his paw when the pooch was small, he did not sit on him, etc.

Dogs do not attack people for a reason - maybe your friend takes some medications that the pooch feels with his super sense of smell, or he has a cat at home that your pet does not like so much.

Only after diagnosing the problem, you will be able to take appropriate steps to unlearn your pet behavior that is unacceptable to you.

If you don't know what is causing your dog to be aggressive, ask for help behaviorist.

It is best that he visit you at home if the pooch is aggressive in his area, or if he shows such behavior outside, ask the dog therapist to walk together.

Second - be patient

a shelter dog may need more time to trust a human again

If you have adopted a dog from a shelter, do not expect him to be a nice cuddly toy from the very first moments in your home.

Dogs from asylum, often have a hard time behind them, so they need a little more time to trust people.

When adopting a pet, keep in mind that it will take some work to become your friend.

However, I can assure you that your work with a dog will be worth it.

Third - prevent boredom

The dog shows aggression towards things, or is clearly trying to get attention by snarling.

It is possible that he needs to discharge his energy somehow.

Help him in this - minimum 30 minutes a day play with various toys - preferably ones made of string or fabric.

Drag the dog, throw him sticks.

This way he will get tired and will not have ideas of destroying things in your home.

To prevent your dog from getting bored, it makes sense to opt for canine sports such as agility?

Fourth - teach obedience

Teach your dog to obey


  • PLACE!
  • LEAVE!
  • TO ME!

they are very useful in the process of raising an aggressive dog.

I know dogs that hate cats, but when called by their owner, they will run to him, despite the presence of a deadly feline enemy.

The same is the case, for example. during attacks against other dogs, people or animals.

Therefore - teach your dog to obey.

Then it will be easier for you to control his behavior and prevent a possible accident.

Fifth - bring up, do not pamper

Even a small dog can hurt you or your loved ones.

Therefore, from the beginning, pay attention to properly care for his upbringing.

If you can't handle it yourself, enroll your dog in a dog school or behaviorist.

There is nothing worse than a dog that does not listen to its owner completely.

Sixth - educate yourself and ask for help

If you have decided to adopt a pooch, it is worth reading about what it entails in advance.

On the Internet, you can also easily find educational or instructional videos on controlling animal aggression.

Often in such a situation, a visit to the veterinarian or behaviorist is the most appropriate.

What to do when the dog is aggressive?

What to do when the dog is aggressive?

Reading on, you will find out what are the most common and, in my opinion, the most dangerous types of aggression and what to do if they appear in your dog.

Aggression towards yourself

In this case it is necessary visit to the veterinarian.

Aggression towards oneself may be caused by a number of systemic diseases, e.g.:

  • allergy,
  • hormonal disorders,
  • neurological disorders,
  • pain.

If it is a behavioral disorder caused by stress or the pooch's experiences, drug therapy may be necessary - sedatives or antidepressants. In this case, it's best to ask a behaviorist for help.

Aggression towards other dogs

In this case, I would recommend visiting a behaviorist and learning at a dog school (group therapy).

This way, your dog will be with other pets.

The right process of socialization when the dog is still young is important here. It is best for him to be in contact with another dog as a puppy.

If the problem is the other dog, do not let the dogs eat from one bowl in one place, let each of them have their own bed, and divide your attention equally between them.

When walking, they should preferably use separate leashes, and preferably go out separately with each of them.

Only after some time try to get them used to each other.

If, on the other hand, the dog is aggressive towards strangers' dogs - first castrate, sterilize it.

It is possible that it is the hormone-induced desire to dominate that makes your dog attack his mates on a walk.

Secondly, at the beginning of the process of raising your dog, absolutely take him out on a leash and in a muzzle.

Thanks to this, you will also take care of its safety.

Teach him some basic commands too:

  • COME,
  • SIAD,
  • LEAVE.

The truth is, the reasons for being aggressive towards other dogs can vary. Therefore, each dog is treated differently.

If you have a very aggressive dog and these methods do not work, how to limit your dog's aggressive behavior should be determined by the canine behaviorist.

Dog aggression towards household members

If your the dog is aggressive in relation to household members and other people absolutely don't yell at him and hit him, it will strengthen his negative attitude.

Take him for walks on a leash and in a muzzle, and keep an eye on vaccination dates.

In most cases, dogs attack out of a sense of insecurity, often magnified by their owners' unskillful reactions.

Imagine this situation:

Your dog reacts aggressively to your neighbor who comes to your house.

In response to his bad behavior, you scream, spank him and hide him in the room.

It only strengthens his negative attitude towards people.

“When this Lord comes, my guardian gets angry with me.

So I have to chase the guy away so that he doesn't come again. "

this is more or less how your dog can read the whole situation.

What should you do?

First, teach your dog to obey. One method is to feed your dog only as a reward, for example by hand. for a week.

This means that the dog is only fed when the command is executed, e.g. "To me " or "sit ".

He does not get food "free" in the bowl.

Then it is necessary to involve a third party - we ask for the help of a neighbor.

He is supposed to knock or ring our door several times a day.

The dog, on the other hand, is to be rewarded for ignoring the sound.

When he starts barking and howling, we ignore him completely.

In the next stage, the dog gets used to the presence of a third person.

First, the owner rewards the dog in the presence of the guest (remembering to be safe - e.g. leash), while the dog does not react to the visitor, a third party can slowly give him treats - first from a distance, then from the hand.

However, you must be aware that due to the dangers of aggression in a dog, you should contact the behaviorist frequently.


This article is only an outline of the difficult problem of dog aggression.

I hope that, at least to a small extent, it brought you closer to this problem and helped tame your pet.

However, if the problem persists - refer your dog to a veterinarian or behaviorist who should help you solve the problem,

If you have questions or experiences related to aggression in a dog, now add a comment under the article, I will reply as soon as possible.

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