Aggression is the most common and most serious behavior problem in dogs. It’s also the number-one reason why pet parents seek professional help from behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians. The term “aggression” refers to a wide variety of behaviors that occur for a multitude of reasons in various circumstances. To say that a dog is “aggressive” can mean a whole host of things. Aggression encompasses a range of behaviors that usually begins with warnings and can culminate in an attack. Dogs may abort their efforts at any point during an aggressive encounter. A dog that shows aggression to people usually exhibits some part of the following sequence of increasingly intense behaviors:
Becoming very still and rigid, guttural bark that sounds threatening, lunging forward or charging at the person with no contact, mouthing, as though to move or control the person, without applying significant pressure, showing their teeth, snarling – a combination of growling and showing teeth, all the way to a full-on attack.
If your dog has been aggressive in the past or you suspect they could become aggressive, take time to evaluate the situations that cause that behavior. Learning the “why” can clarify the circumstances that trigger your dog’s aggressive behavior and provide insight into the reasons for her behavior.
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