Avoiding Canine Aggression

Avoiding Canine Aggression
Dog bites can happen as a result of many triggers. Environment, health conditions, and training are all contributing factors to canine hostility. It is easiest to understand these triggers when they are categorized into basic forms of aggression.
Dog bites can happen as a result of many triggers. Environment, health conditions, and training are all contributing factors to canine hostility. It is easiest to understand these triggers when they are categorized into basic forms of aggression. Territorial aggression may result from a dog’s instinct to defend its home. This is not quite the same as protective aggression, which some new canine mothers display for several weeks after giving birth. Protective aggression may also occur if a dog is trying to protect its owner. Perceived threats can trigger fear aggression. This is a dog’s form of the “fight or flight” response. Finally, social aggression results from a dog’s pack mentality. Just like humans, dogs have certain codes of conduct during interaction. Basic causes of canine hostility include:

  • Taking away food, water, or toys during use

  • Disturbing a dog while it is sleeping

  • Yanking a dog’s tail, ears, or feet

  • Grooming

  • Getting in a dog’s face in any manner, including kissing


 

The best way to avoid serious injury from a dog bite is to avoid animals with volatile behavior. Dogs display warning signs of distress prior to an attack. Children may be at heightened risk of injury, since a child is less likely to recognize these signals. A ferocious dog may display the following behaviors:

  • Becoming rigid, stiff, or very still

  • Ears folded back, close to head

  • Raised hair on dog’s back and neck

  • Showing teeth or furling lips

  • Growling, a very low and deep rumbling noise, as if coming from the gut

  • Snarling, a combination of showing teeth and growling at the same time


 

Health issues may cause aggressive behavior as well. These include genetic abnormalities, congenital defects, diseases, and injury. If there is an unwarranted change in your dog’s general demeanor, take your dog to the vet immediately.

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