Dealing with Aggression in Dogs

If a dog growls, bites, or otherwise displays aggression towards its owner, he does it for a reason. Even if the behavior seems out of the blue and illogical to the owner, the dog has a reason for it. In order to protect you and your family, it’s important to uncover the reason behind your dog’s aggression towards you as soon as possible.

Your first step should be to make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian as soon as possible. A complete medical examination should be done, and may turn up reasons for the aggression. Ask your veterinarian about testing for allergies, neurophysiologic functions, abnormal hormone levels, and other possible issues that could be causing the aggression. Testing these areas has been helpful to other dog owners in the past where aggression is an issue.

Growling, biting, or other aggressive behavior that has developed as a result of scolding your dog as punishment for things like jumping, chewing, overprotection of food, and unruliness should be dealt with as soon as possible so that the aggression it’s initiating can be corrected.

It is your job as a dog owner to understand that dogs don’t act out randomly. They usually act out towards their owners because they have defensive feelings. For instance, if you order your dog to get off a certain chair and your dog growls, the dog is reacting in defense because he likely feels that his status or dominance has been threatened.

Whenever punishment, scolding, or correction provokes aggressive behavior in your dog, he’s reacting because he perceives a threat to his physical safety. Threatening behavior to a dog may look different than threatening behavior to you, so it may help to work with a professional on different ways to scold or discipline your dog that he won’t feel as threatened by.

If your veterinarian can’t find any medical reasons for your dog’s aggression, you may serve both you and your dog well to examine your own behavior to figure out what it is you’re doing that makes your dog feel threatened. Keep in mind that you are taller and bigger than your dog, so even standing up suddenly, motioning with your arms, or using a loud voice can be scary and threatening. Often a change in the way an owner disciplines his or her dog can lessen or eliminate aggressive behavior seen in the dog.

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