Dog Aggression

Types Of Dog Aggression

Aggression is the main reason dogs get euthanized. Go to any rescue centre, and at least a third of the dogs there are there because they exhibited some type of aggression. A dog’s aggression may have a medical cause so you should visit your vet to rule it out. There are actually about 50 possible medical reasons why your dog is showing aggressive tendencies. Here are the different types of non-medical dog aggression.

Nervous or fearful aggression (Inter-dog)

This type of dog aggression often has its roots with the pup’s mother. Puppies that are breed from a timid bitch will most likely inherit the mother’s timidity and fearfulness. Puppies born to a strong bitch but then placed with a fearful one will pick up the unstable habits of the fearful dog. Another reason for this type of dog aggression is when a puppy or older dog gets attached by another dog. This can be particularly damaging if the dog is on leash and is unable to quickly show submission. When the human comforts the injured or frightened dog following the attack, it only confirms that the fear is real.

Lack of proper socialization between the weeks 7 and 16 can also affect this type of behavior as the puppies do not learn how to meet and greet other dogs. If a puppy doesn’t understand the greeting rituals, then he will be viewed with suspicion by another dog.

Nervous or fearful aggression (Inter-human)

This type of dog aggression is often cause by a lack of handling at an early age. Puppies that are born to puppy farms or large breeders may not get gentle and repetitive handling by humans. Handling puppies at an early age causes stress and teaches them how to cope with various situations later on in life.

Fearful or nervous aggression is always defensive in nature. This can sometimes be directed to only a particular sex, male or female. Puppies that were bred by a male breeder and few females visited and handled the puppies may show timidity towards women.

Frustrated or redirected aggression

Dogs that are not allowed to interact regularly or normally with other dogs and humans are more likely to develop aggressive tendencies. A dog that is restricted from interacting with dogs, people and the outside world will develop a strong desire to access these things.

This frustrated desire can escalate into more serious issues such as escape attempts, agitation and unprovoked attacks. Dogs that are left alone in a garden, tied down or near a window cannot get to the things they see and want to interact with and this may lead to unprovoked aggression based on frustration.

Misdirected aggression

Trying to separate a dog fight can be a dangerous ordeal. Trying to learn how to avoid situation that could result in a dog fight is safer than trying to break a fight. It is common enough to have one or both dogs misdirect their aggression toward the human who is trying to break up the fight. Accidental bites can easily happen in these situations. In the heat of the battle, dogs often do not recognize their owner and may bite by mistake.


Sexual aggression


This type of dog aggression almost always occurs in male dogs. In this case, the dog will mount humans and dogs alike. Mounting of human may reflect an over-attachment to people or a lack of interaction with other dogs. Mounting other dogs reflects a dominance complex.


Dominant aggression


Dogs usually approach each other quite cautiously and give out many status signals such as tail held high, moving from side to side, standing on tip toes, etc. One of the two dogs usually submits but if this is not the case, a fight may occur. In this case, the a dog with dominant aggression may also display aggression towards members of his own family.


Territorial aggression


In theory, territorial aggression should only be directed towards members of the species, but it can sometimes be directed towards humans. The main motivations behind territorial behavior are dominance and fear or anxiety. Some breeds do get frustrated faster than others, such as Collies, Springer Cockers and Retrievers. This type of dog aggression can be addressed through behavior modification and using positive reinforcement techniques. Do not reward your dog for stopping a bad behavior, rather praise for the inappropriate behavior not happening at all.


Predatory aggression


In this type of aggression, movement is the trigger. Dogs will chase cats, squirrels, bikes and even cars. This type of aggression can be seen in dogs of any sex and age. These dogs should be monitored closely to avoid any accidents with children, other dogs or passing cars.