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Dealing with the aggressive dog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

aggressive-dogDogs do not suddenly become prone to aggression.  There are some early warning signs to look for in your puppy. If your dog doesn’t want anything to do with people or growls at anyone who goes near his toys or food, this may be a sign toward aggression especially as the dog gets older. There are different types of aggression.

  • Territorial aggression
  • Dominant aggression
  • Fear aggression
  • Prey aggression

Territorial aggression – This is the type of aggression shown toward the mailman or someone entering the house or yard that does not belong there. Your dog thinks that the house and property are his. This type of aggression must be controlled at the very start. You have to be the “pack leader” not the dog. Some people think that leaving the dog in the back yard during the day is good for the dog. The fact is that most dogs will lie down and sleep all day waiting for the owner to come home. He’s a pack animal and he will wait for members of his pack to return. The dog could just as easily sleep in the house, dog kennel or a dog crate.

Dominant Aggression – Some people think it’s cute when a puppy snaps at your fingers if you go near his food or toy. What he is really showing is a form of dominance. This type of behavior must be controlled early on. There is a possibility that the pup could develop aggression toward family and friends. If it’s a small dog, it will be more of an annoyance than a problem but if the dog grows into a 120 pound Rottweiler, then you’re looking for trouble.

Fear Aggression –These are dogs that want nothing to do with strange people. They will bite, the minute the stranger turns his back. These dogs almost always have weak temperaments and bad nerves. They are also a product of bad breeding. Most of these dogs ended up in a pound or shelter not because they were abused but because of their aggression to begin with.

Sometimes obedience training will help. One thing you can do is have a friend meet you when you walk your dog. Then give the dog a treat when he sees your friend.

Prey Aggression – Some breeds of dogs are more prone to prey aggression than others. Your herding breeds have a great deal of prey drive. They will  chase anything  that moves. This can be disastrous if it’s an untrained dog that decides its prey is a running child. I once came across one of these dogs in a park. I was walking my dog and the owner had his dog off the leash. As soon as his dog saw me with my dog, he charged across the park and knocked both me and my dog over.

Always try to notice any signs of aggression at an early age. The problem could be corrected if it’s caught early enough.



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