What are the signs of an aggressive dog? And how can I avoid problems that come along with canine aggression?
Several breeds of dogs may be more likely than others to become aggressive because they are derived from fighting dogs or have been bred to guard. These include Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, pit bulls, and Doberman Pinschers. But virtually any dog can become aggressive.
Dogs that are dominant aggressive generally bare their teeth and hold up their ears and tails. Dogs that act aggressive as a result of fear (fear aggressive) may show their teeth but generally keep their ears flat to their head and their tails down. Each type of aggression needs to be handled differently.
Dominant aggressive dogs often need lots of obedience training with positive reinforcement. Dogs with fear aggression may respond best to gradual conditioning to the things that make them afraid.
If your dog demonstrates any kind of aggression, consult an expert. This is not a problem that average dog owners should try to handle on their own.
To avoid aggression problems, even in “aggressive“ breeds:
All dogs should be routinely exposed to people. They should live in the home, with their family. They should be frequently taken on walks, starting from the time they are puppies, and exposed to people in all types of situations. That means taking them for walks in your own neighborhood on leash, repeatedly introducing them to neighbors, and taking them anywhere else you can think of. They must learn obedience training, which makes them less likely to get out of hand.
Adapted from The Puppy Owner’s Manual, by Diana Delmar (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Diana Delmar. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Puppy Owner’s Manual, by Diana Delmar (Storey Books, 2001).