Aggression is a typical behavior in animals and human beings. People react to stimuli in the environment and would behave in a certain way if they feel their life or property is threatened. In the same way, dogs are aggressive. However, aggression in dogs is wide. It describes from how it can respond fast to its master’s commands to how it barks harshly to other dogs and strangers. Thus, it can be a bad as well as a good trait. While extreme weird behavior in a dog should worry you and necessitate the use of a trainer in taming the dog’s behavior, you should know aggression is a common behavior in dogs.
Aggression is mostly demonstrated when a dog is guarding its young ones, defending its territory, and protecting itself from any form of danger. Aggression is also common in dogs that live in a community. The behavior is used to negotiate social interactions, which culminates to peace. Aggression in dogs can be interpreted in numerous ways; the behaviors referred to as aggression are sometimes a warning before an attack. Either the dog is warning you from thug attack, or it is about to bite you.
Some of the characteristics that depict aggression are:
- Showing teeth
- Muzzle punch
- Becoming rigid and still
- Biting and shake
There is always a cause of this behavior. If you have been with your dog for enough time, you can identify activities before and when it started the behavior hence trick it to stop. If the reaction is consistent and extreme, you should consider training your dog.
Nevertheless, these are the common reasons why dogs become aggressive:
The most common reason for a change in the dog’s behavior that is interpreted as aggression. Usually, when a dog finds itself cornered in a group of strangers, be it people or other dogs, it will react. Also, if there are negative experiences in the history of the dog and the person or dogs, it will respond to the environment. Dogs have a sharp memory; if a person once abused it or punished it in a way it interpreted as unfair, it will get aggressive in the company of such a person. In cases where a dog is alone and feels cornered in a group where flight and fight are not options, a dog tends to be submissive. The ears flatten, eyes avert as it pants. In extreme aggression cases, it goes to lick the back of the stranger. Sometimes dogs roll their backs on the ground as a sign of submission. Interpreting physical cues is imperative in understanding dogs.
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Some dogs develop a possessive behavior of objects, people, or food. This is evident when any other dog approaches a person, object, or food that they consider to be attached to. Yes, dogs get attached. Dogs with such a complication will automatically snap and likely lead to a fight between the two. In extreme cases, resource guarding dogs extend the aggression to people in the house. This trait is not acceptable in a domestic setting.
Pain can also cause dogs to be aggressive, especially against other pets. In a case where a dog and cat have co-existed for a significant period then suddenly the dog turns and tries to attack the cat, it is a sign of pain. Besides, an active dog that you engage with in play suddenly snaps and develops temper may be a sign of arthritis. Serious systemic ailments can cause dogs to be aggressive.
It is normal and acceptable for dogs to recognize its environment and take care of the property. However, some conditions are extreme. It gets to the point that a dog is barking and blocking anyone else apart from the family from accessing the home. Other dogs are also chased away even when there is no impending threat.
Read Next: Steps to calm down a barking dog
Dogs co-exist just like human beings. While they don’t hold secret ballot elections, they have a leader that they all recognize. The leader is usually the first to eat and makes decisions. If anyone tries to double cross its commands, it charges against it with a roar. From time tie, the leader dog has to reinforce its position by blocking way or bullying of the group members.
Dogs also get disappointed in case of unfruitful efforts. When a dog tries to achieve a certain ground, if it does not happen, it changes it’s aggression to anything nearby. It can be family members, its puppy or even a football. Dogs release their pressure through several ways. If there is no other dog or person to help in releasing the frustration and pile up the pressure, dogs turn to plants and play alone. A perfect example is a dog barking at a postman who is on the other side of the fence. It only takes a few minutes for the dog to realize it cannot get to the person. The aggression turns to the other dog nearby.
Vasopressin is linked to activating specific gland in a dog that leads to aggressive behaviors. Just like in human beings, dogs have hormones, which control almost every activity. These processes in the body include reaction to stimuli and protection from any form of danger as the first instinct of an animal. While the hormone has not been scientifically proven and explained, some aggressive behavior cannot be associated with any other factor other than a science concept.