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Why Dogs Become Aggressive



angry dogA lot of dog owners out there can’t even fathom the notion that their sweet, innocent pup has the capability of becoming a primal animal. Dogs are trained more than anything to be friendly and gentle, also known as domesticated, but there are other instances where for whatever reason, the dog becomes far more aggressive than you’d prefer. There are however reasons for this. Here is why dogs become aggressive.

We forget on occasion, but dogs are naturally pack animals. As such, they crave leadership from an alpha in the pack, and if you aren’t acting as that alpha, they may see fit to take over that position. In situations like this, and especially if your dog isn’t naturally an alpha type, they will be immensely stressed to the point of constantly being “on,” meaning they’ll be on a hair trigger with many of their responses.

For instance, if your dog sees another dog, they may be more inclined to bite at them or start fighting if they’re in a stressed out forced alpha state of mind. If, however, they feel you’re the alpha in your family pack, they’ll leave the business of deciding threats to you. If they see you reacting to this intrusion as nothing to get worked up about, and they trust your judgment, then they’re less likely to cause a problem.
Another issue could be pent up aggression as a result of little or no physical outlets. If you’ve been neglecting your dog, not taking him for walks or playing with him in the backyard, he may start lashing out in other ways to get attention. This could be as simple as displaying destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture, or it could come out as aggressive behavior.

Discipline is important with dogs since, again, they crave (fair) leadership, but the way you discipline needs to reflect how you’d like your dog to act later, much the same way as children. If you see your dog sleeping on the couch and have been training him to stay off, a strong “No” command, a spray with a water bottle, or a couple raps with a newspaper are much preferred over real physical harm. A spanking now and then isn’t a problem since your dog can sense when you’re just showing leadership instead of brute strength, but strong beatings will result in your dog learning that that’s how things need to get done. This will train them to respond more harshly when something has bothered them, and that only compounds into worse and worse behaviors.

Then again there are times when dogs will just be dogs. When scared, your dog may be in a state where his natural instinct is to fight, so even a slight touch will cause him to bite or snarl. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything against you; it could just be nerves. If this seems to be the case and isn’t typical at all, then you’re dog is probably not really aggressive by nature and just needs some space to process what’s happening.

Dogs are entirely capable of being the sweetest, most pleasant creatures on the planet, but they’re also capable of being aggressive animals as well. Their disposition will go a long to show how aggressive they will naturally become, but we can do a lot to persuade them one way or the other. Show your pooch some love and you will be loved in return. Show them anger, and they will return it in spades.


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