Aggressive Dog Behavior Aggressive dog attacks, whether against people or other dogs, can be one of the worst problems of dog ownership. Dog aggression is a common behavior and comes from the fact that the dog is a pack animal and its normal instinct is to compete, right from the time it is born. It has to compete for food ( even from the very early days when it is suckling from the mother), it has to compete for status and for respect.
When the dog joins a human family, he still thinks of it as a pack and will try to establish his position in the that hierarchy. If the dog is allowed, or even encouraged to believe that he is the Alpha Dog, then you have Trouble! In most cases, this is the fault of the owner, especially if the dog is aquired as a puppy. A puppy can't dominate its owner or the household, it is only if dangerous and aggressive behavior is tolerated or even encouraged during adolescence that you end up with aggression in the adult dog. Your dog must Respect You, Trust You and Love you -- in that order! Reasons for Dog Aggression. It is most important to understand that there are several different reasons for dog aggression.
It can be difficult to determine what the real reason is. One of the most misunderstood is aggression due to fear or anxiety. The dog is not looking for trouble, he feels he is defending himself against some perceived threat or danger. The dog may be exhibiting territorial aggression. This is more common in certain breeds, which have been bred as guard dogs or herding dogs over centuries and have a strong genetic instinct to protect their territory and their family. Mistreatment or abuse by previous owners may be a factor in the case of an adult dog, adopted from a Rescue Center.
Such dogs need a careful balance of kindness and discipline. You must definitely be the Alpha Dog in this situation (as in every other situation). Where a normally placid dog suddenly becomes aggressive, this may be due to a painful medical condition or ailment and the dog is nervous of increased pain if handled or upset. Vetinary advice is essential if pain or illness is suspected as the cause of the unusual, dangerous behavior. Overly Aggressive Dog Breeds. The subject of the most aggressive dog breeds causes much controversy and vociferous debate.
Owners of Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pit Bull terriers and German Shepherd dogs spring to the defence of their pets, stressing how loving, reliable and trustworthy they are. When properly trained, socialized and integrated with family, friends and other dogs, this is usually true. However, these breeds have been bred and used for many years with the express purpose of guarding and protecting property, family and livestock. This strong protective instinct is in their genes and is thus more likely to result in aggressive behavior. These breeds suffer from two further disadvantages with regard to their reputation for aggression towards people and other dogs.
Because of the jobs they were originally bred for, they are large, strong and athletic dogs, so when attacks do occur, the damage they inflict is serious. More small children are killed by these dogs than by all other breeds combined. The public perception being what it is, people frequently give the wrong signals to these breeds, with their body language exhibiting signs of fear and submissiveness. It is important to note that dogs that display dog-aggressive behaviour do not necessarily show aggressive behaviour towards humans.
The two types of aggression are not necessarily related, and do not always occur in the same animal. Aggression over Food Remember the wolf pack in the wild. The alpha male and female get first servings and the rest of the pack compete for what they can get. It is ingrained in the dog's nature that he has to be protective of his food and show a certain amount of aggression, otherwise he will starve. Even in the normal domestic situation, food is important to your dog. Mealtimes are one of the highlights of his day.
This is a double-edged situation. It is your ideal opportunity to show your dog who is The Boss. He can't use a can opener, he can't operate the microwave, he can't draw a bowl of water. He is totally dependent on you for his food (and all other needs). At mealtimes, insist that he sits or lies down a few feet away. If he won't do it, put the food away and leave him.
It won't take long for him to get the message - the food comes along, only when he he sits and waits for it. Ideally, this routine should be practised when the dog is a puppy, so it will be normal behavior when he grows up. If your dog is already adult and aggressive, then there is all the more reason to implement this method of gaining control.
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