What Makes A Dog Aggressive?
You love your dog. As a pet parent you may have blinders on if your dog has bad behaviors. You believe your dog is the most loveable dog on the earth and that he wouldn’t hurt anyone, ever. The fact is, almost any dog is capable of aggressive behaviors and of biting.
Some dogs have a predisposition to aggressive behaviors and these dog breeds aren’t always the “big” dogs. Small dogs can bite. Furry, cute dogs can bite. Big breed dogs can bite. It’s not always the way in which a dog was raised that may lead to a bite. Some dogs may have aggressive behaviors that are brought about by situational anxiety.
Every dog is different. Not every dog will bite and it’s not always easy to tell which dog is going to have the propensity to bite you. There are factors that positive reinforcement trainers say are associated with aggressive dog behaviors. A pet parent who is in tune with his dog’s body language and with his “triggers” can usually prevent a dog bite from occurring because he notices the change in his dog and removes him from a potential bite situation.
If you notice your dog becoming aggressive in particular situations, keep him from those if at all possible. If you have a dog with the following aggressive behaviors, contact your veterinarian or talk with a positive reinforcement trainer who can work with you to modify this potentially dangerous behavior.
What Makes A Dog Aggressive?
When you modify your dog’s behavior you are protecting yourself and your dog from dog bite liability issues. We are not dog trainers, but we do recommend positive reinforcement training. Please speak with a professional if you notice these aggressive behaviors:
- Social. This means your dog gets overly stimulated in social situations such as going to a dog park or encountering other dogs while you’re on a walk. Your dog may be aggressive to another dog who comes into her house or tries to eat her food. Your dog may display threatening behavior toward you, or someone else, if you try to take away a toy, pick up his food, disturb him while he’s sleeping or even if you point a finger at him.
- If a dog gets scared she may go into fight-or-flight mode. The way a dog may respond to fear for her safety or yours is to become aggressive toward the perceived threat. If you notice your dog’s ears flattening, his lack of eye contact, a lowered head or rapidly nipping you need to remove her from the perceived threat.
- Your dog will likely be protective of you and your family, his resources or where he sleeps. This is a protective response to your dog caring for his “pack.” He may bark, charge at you, stand completely still, growl deep in his throat. A dog may “resource guard” his food, toys or his humans.
What does aggressive behavior and body language look like?
- He may stare
- He may bark excessively
- He may growl or snarl
- He may stand still and his body will be stiff
- His ears may be laying back against his head
Remember, no dog wants to be aggressive nor does he want to bite. Provocations for dogs can be the same as for a human who loses his or her temper — fear, protection, social anxiety or frustration. Know your dog and recognize his body language and remove him from the situation that is causing his fear.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.