There are different types of aggressiveness in domestic dogs. It is important to recognize why they are aggressive dogs in order to understand and help them.
Aggression in dogs is any behavior intended to intimidate a perceived adversaryeither a person or an animal. It can be a direct attack, but there are also other more subtle forms, such as showing teeth, growling, barking looking directly into the eyes, a threatening look, or small bites.
Dogs, like wolves, have a body language very rich that helps them communicate and is very useful to avoid fights in the group. Most of the time, aggressions towards people occur because we do not understand this language, and we take attitudes that frighten or threaten dogs.
Types of aggressiveness in dogs
Just as there are several forms of aggressiveness, there are also many causes that give different characteristic types of this behavior:
Dominance aggressive dogs
In a herd it is very important to have a hierarchical order among its members. This helps avoid conflicts and helps the group function, with specific tasks for each individual, according to their position on the social scale. When a dog lives with a group of people, such as a family, his instinct leads him to establish there also a hierarchy. He will almost always accept people in a higher rank than him and will be obedient, submissive and eager to please. However, there are dogs with most dominant personality.
These will try to place themselves higher on the scale, which is achieved with demonstrations of power that include the body language that we already mentioned and aggression. These aggressive dogs tend to behave well as long as they don’t feel their status has been challenged. The problem is that they can take it as a threat that you try to remove them from the sofa, that you suddenly want to touch their head or that you hug them without warning.
The beatings and punishments only make the situation worse. Because they create an escalation of aggressiveness that the dog will respond to as long as he can and can end in a ferocious attack. In this type of aggression it is very important to know the signs and body language, because an owner is required who is not frightened and knows how to demonstrate dominance over the dog. without reaching physical aggression. These aggressive dogs are not the best choice for a home with children or people inexperienced in handling dogs. This, of course, does not mean that you have to sacrifice it; you can turn to your veterinarian or a humane society to help you relocate it to a more appropriate home. If you decide to keep it, it is best to seek help from a trainer or a behavioral specialist who teaches you how to handle it safely.
It should be noted that a dog any race can belong to this group. Not only large breeds, but also a Pinscher or Poodle can be aggressive dogs. These puppies are not listed as potentially dangerous breeds solely because their size does not pose a serious threat to people. But they can become little tyrants who after a while will have bitten all the members of the family.
Aggressive dogs out of fear
This is a form of defense exerted by a dog that feels afraid of something. This can be seen when a sore wound is touched, for example. But there are also excessively fearful dogs that they feel threatened by sudden movements, by shouting or because you raise your hand to throw a ball.
Remember that the important thing is not your intention, but what the animal perceives. These dogs usually hide when someone comes to the house, they walk very close to their owners, with nervous eyes that look in all directions and lowered ears. Fear-aggressive dogs may also bark excessively when approached. If you try to pet a dog in this attitude, it is very possible that you will receive a bite.
These dogs should be treated very gently, you have to give them time to get used to a new place or person. Do not touch them until they have overcome the initial mistrust. Training helps a lot to give them confidence, but blows, shouts, strong pulls on the leash should never be used and patience should not be lost. only the positive training with rewards, like the one practiced with the clicker, will benefit this type of dog.
Aggressive defense dogs
YoIt includes the defense of a territory, a person, puppies or objects. The dog shows its teeth, growls or attacks people or dogs to protect something that it considers its own. Outside of these situations the animal can be very friendly. These types of dogs are good home defenders or of the people of the family, but it is important to train them in obedience (never in attack!) to have good control over them and that they can be a good family pet. This also prevents defense-aggressive dogs from developing a very dominant personality within the home. If one of your shoes has been taken and they don’t want to return it, it’s better to exchange it for something more attractive, like food, rather than forcefully take it off.
This form occurs when the intention is to attack a third party that cannot be reached, then the aggression is transferred to another closer individual. A clear example is when two dogs that live together get excited by barking at another that passes by on the street and, suddenly, they start fighting among themselves as a form of discharge.
It can also result in a person being bitten if they step in to grab the dog just then. This aggression does not generally correspond to the personality type of aggressive dogs, but occurs in particular situations, therefore it is not a problem for coexistence. Just avoid touching a dog that is visibly upset; it is better to try to get their attention with your voice or with a ball, for example
If your dog shows aggression of any kindConsult your veterinarian for a referral to a behavior specialist or trainer to teach you how to recognize signs of anger, fear, or upcoming aggression, as well as apply correction techniques that are most appropriate for each dog.
There are many ways to deal with the problem of aggressive dogs, but training and experience required to know which will be the most suitable for each particular case. It is not recommended that you attempt anything without professional help, as you could injure yourself or make the situation even worse. In some cases, castration helps a lot to reduce canine aggressiveness, especially in cases of dominance or territoriality. Treatment can also be supplemented with drugs of the type anxiolytics or to more natural therapies such as homeopathy.