Sep
30
2014

Identifying Triggers of Aggression to Lower Dog Bite Liability

Identifying Triggers of Aggression to Lower Dog Bite LiabilityIdentifying Triggers of Aggression to Lower Dog Bite Liability

Canine aggression is a natural and common reaction to the stimuli your pet will encounter during their life. While some animals are better at coping with aggression triggers, many animals lack the training and support from their owners to navigate emotional or instinct-driven prompts which can lead to acts of hostility. If your dog is reactive when exposed to environmental triggers you should consult with a qualified and experienced animal behavior specialist. Below is a modified list of the most common reasons pets will display signs of aggression, derived from an article on dog information website Dogster.com.

Too Much Touching– Know your dog’s limits. As good intentioned as your enthusiastic cuddles and thorough grooming efforts may be, improper handling of your canine companion is a common way to instigate aggressive reactions. It is important to evaluate a dog’s temperament before and during any interaction, whether it’s going in for a big bear-hug or attempting to brush their teeth. Grooming and veterinary procedures can be a particularly tricky process especially because these processes can include handling of sensitive areas such as the face, eyes, ears, teeth and more. When mishandled, canines will often reach out of fear or pain which can lead to aggression such as scratching, biting and growling.

Protecting Their Resources– Resource guarding is a natural and instinctive behavior in many animals, including humans. Many pet owners can sympathize with their dog’s desire to protect one’s homestead, loved ones, and even dinner because we too have some of those residual instincts, perhaps just not to the extreme that our canine companions do. Resource guarding is a stronger instinct in some animals than others, and will vary from dog to dog. Dogs with the tendency to resource guard will view approaches from other animals or humans as a threat to what they perceive to be valuable, and often act out aggressively to warn or deter the threat.  Some of the most common items of value include food, water, toys, sleeping spaces and their home premises.

Territorial Threats– An extension of resource protection, canines take protecting their territory very seriously. You may have noticed this from all the barking through the gate and urinating on trees. Depending on the individual, even the presence of a newcomer or unfamiliar scent into their space can be stressful and put a pup on edge. When the territorial intrusion is perceived as an invasion, an animal may lash out through any means necessary to protect themselves, their loved ones and their space.

Animals Get Emotional– Frustration, stress, fear, pain, anxiety, all of these are common triggers of canine aggressive behaviors. Often these emotions are very closely linked. For example, frustration can create stress, which in turn contributes to aggression. These emotional experiences can come from many triggers, such as social anxiety or restrictive frustrations of being walked on a leash. Emotional responses are harder for animals to convey to humans in ways we understand, so occasionally a dog might misdirect their aggression or resort to aggressive behaviors to get their owner’s attention.  It is important to be aware of your animal’s behavior and the signs of irritation, stress and aggression to prevent any mishaps involving misdirected emotions.

Preferences and Prejudices– Dogs, like humans, have instinctual reactions to other beings. Unlike humans however, canines tend not to overthink these biases when interacting in social situations and will sometimes act out when they feel negatively about a specific trait, behavior or characteristic. Dogs have been known to act out aggressively based on any number of things against humans and other animals.

While you might not be able to fully cure your canine companions of these instinctual aggression triggers, proper socialization and training can help owners recognize and curb these behaviors, therefore decreasing the likelihood of aggressive backlash to these stimuli and more. However, the truth is that even the sweetest and most well trained dogs can bite. That is why it is so important for dog owners to obtain Dog Bite Liability InsuranceF.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance programs that will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. Coverage starts as low as $75 a year per dog, and can help provide the resources you need should you ever have to face a dog bite claim. To learn more about our policies and what to do if ever faced with a dog bite claim, please visit our Claim Info page and contact us at (855) 534-6495.

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