There are several potential causes of aggression in dogs. Most canines portray aggressive behaviour when they are in physical pain, due to a medical condition, feel fearful or threatened or are trying to exert their need for control and dominance.
Dog’s show aggression through body language and behaviour such as barking, growling, snarling, mouthing or in extreme scenarios preparing to bite.
It can happen to anyone, and their aggression can be directed towards other dogs, strangers, and even their own family members.
Since dog aggression can be fatal if not adressed, it is extremely important to identify the cause of your dog’s aggression so that you can help him curb this.
What is important for you as a pet parent is to understand the reason behind your dog’s aggression clearly and what motivates your dog to behave aggressively. Understanding their motive is what is necessary here.
If you have noticed a repetitive pattern of agressive behaviour in the past it is time for you to evaluate the circumstances that have led to your dog’s aggression. When did it first occur? Was it a specific incident that triggered your dog’s aggression? What else was occurring around the same time?
Only then you can identify what it is you need to do as a responsible pet parent to curb the aggression.
You need an accurate diagnosis before you can attempt to help your dog.
There are different types of aggression in dogs, and here are some of the key ones…
1. Territorial Aggression
Territorial aggression can occur when trying to protect their pet parents’ property. Dogs show territorial aggression only toward people or other animals coming into the home.
2.Possesive and Protective Aggression
A dog might first show protective aggression when her pet parents bring a human child into the family or when protecting their own puppies and litter.
3. Social Aggression
Taking food away, taking a chew bone, toy or stolen object away or disturbing the dog while she’s sleeping or physically moving the dog while she’s resting can cause certain dogs to be agressive.
Researchers believe that all social aggression is rooted in fear and anxiety, while others believe that it’s motivated by anger and the desire for control.
A fearful dog exhibits aggression when they feel cornered or trapped. They exhibit a ‘fight or flight’ response when in danger or perceive a threat. Some dogs who exhibit fear aggression are prone to bite and then run away when they are threatened.
5.Frustration elicited Aggression
A dog who’s excited or aroused by something but is held back from approaching it can become aggressive, particularly toward the person or thing holding her back. They often lash out because they are not getting what they want in the way they wanted. Pent up frustration can often lead to aggression if not adressed immediately.
6. Pain elicited Aggression
When in pain a dog can completely change in personality and temperament. A gentle or friendly dog can turn agressive when in extreme pain. Undergoing surgery, experiencing trauma, an illness, untreated medical condition can all lead to pain elicited aggression.
7.Sex related Aggression
This type of aggression is observed most often in reproductively intact males and less often in intact females. Dogs who were neutered or spayed as adults may still show this type of aggression. When a male dog comes into contact with a female dog in heat, they will experience sex related aggression if unable to mate with them.
8. Conflict Aggression
Occurs between two dogs who but heads with each other. When uncomfortable with another animal that is a perceived threat or makes a dog feel uncomfortable they resort to conflict aggression whereby in order to protect themselves and well-being they react aggressively.
Predatory aggression is very different from other forms of aggression because there’s rarely any warning before an attack. Predatory aggression often occurs out of the blue, when the dog feels threatened or triggered by external factors in the environment.
10. Defensive Aggression
Adult dogs are more prone to defensive aggression compared to little puppies as they are more confident in nature. Defensive aggression occurs as a result of fear or a perceived threat. In order to protect themselves a dog resorts to a defensive stance.
11. Redirected Aggression
Redirected aggression occurs when a dog is aroused by or displays aggression toward a person or animal, that has harmed them off late or in the past. The dog redirects their aggression from the source that triggered it to the person or animal who has come in their path and interfered. If recently bitten by another dog a pet may take out their aggression on their pet parent or even another dog.