Aggression with dogs is understood as any type of behavior that aims at frightening or hurting another animal or human. Growling, snarling, showing teeth, and similar behaviors are all considered aggressive. Although they are normal, humans generally seem to have a problem with these types of behavior. From the dog’s perspective, there is always a reason to be aggressive.
Aggression towards strangers
People and dogs have different ways of communicating, which can often lead to misunderstandings between the two species. A person can be friendly towards a dog, but it can misinterpret this behavior as threatening or frightening. This doesn’t mean that dogs are necessarily schizophrenic, crazy, psychotic or sick when showing this behavior.
As it is extremely complex and result in serious consequences, aggressive behavior of your dog towards strangers should be consulted with a veterinarian or other dog professional.
Types of aggression
Dominant aggression is motivated by the struggle for social status of the dog or the control of social interaction. Dogs are animals that live in packs and consider their human family as pack members. Based on the outcomes of status struggle among pack members, hierarchy is established.
If the dog sees its social status as higher than your own, it is highly likely that it will challenge you in certain situations. Since people don’t always understand how dogs communicate, they can unintentionally challenge their dog to a fight for higher social position.
A dominantly aggressive dog can growl if disturbed while asleep, or if asked to leave its favorite spot like a couch or bed. Using force, even physically harmless attempts such as hugs can also result in aggression. Grabbing a dog by its collar or attempting to pet it on the head can also be seen as a social challenge.
Dominantly aggressive dogs can be friendly if not tempted. Dominant aggression is directed towards other animals and humans. The most frequents cause for aggression within a pack is instability in hierarchy.
Fear motivated aggression
Fear motivated aggression is a defense mechanism and it occurs when a dog believes it’s in danger. Keep in mind that this is seen from the dog’s perspective, it is not your fault if you cause such a reaction. For example, you can raise your arm to throw a ball and a dog can bite you thinking that you wanted to hit it. A dog can also react this way in the presence of other dogs or animals.
Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression
Protective, territorial, and possessive aggressions are closely connected and involve the defense of valuable sources. Territorial aggression is often connected to protecting property. The domain your dog believes belong to it can extend beyond your back yard. For example, if you constantly take your dog out for a walk to the park and let it mark a specific spot then the entire park becomes its territory.
Protective aggression is related to the aggression towards people and animals that the dog sees as a threat to the pack. The dog gets possessively aggressive when protecting its food, toys, or other valuable objects.
This type of aggression is relatively common. If a dog’s aggression is caused by danger of an attack, the dog can redirect that aggression onto someone else. In other words, when two dogs behind a fence see a dog outside the house, they can get excited, aggressive, and attack each other because they can’t get outside.
Author bio: Andrea Hudson is a professional photographer and a great dog lover. She is interested in dogs and pets related topics, and she is also the first person in the neighborhood who you call for help when you lose your dog, or any kind of pet. She is always there for her friends..