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Note: the image of the dog growling was not intended to label any particular breed as any breed can be aggressive. It’s just an image to support the topic of the blog post.
Unfortunately, dog aggression is a very common behavior issue that dog owners have to deal with. I happen to be one of those owners which is why I do blog about this topic often. My goal is to inform people as much as possible in hopes that I might save just one person from going through what we’ve been through.
Aggression can be caused by several different things. Here are several potential causes of dog aggression but this is not intended to claim these are the only reasons:
1. Lack of proper socialization
This is probably the most common problem when it comes to dog aggression. Puppies should always be properly socialized by the time they are 20 weeks old. We found out after the fact that Frisbee was never socialized in his first 20 weeks. His litter was turned over to a shelter and when a rescue organization tried to pull him and his brother and sister, it was discovered that Frisbee and one sibling had Parvo. This led to being quarantined and more time with zero socialization.
I’ve always felt this was the cause of Frisbees fear aggression but only recently started feeling it’s not the only cause. I still believe it was a huge contributor but I am learning that some of my own behaviors with Frisbee might also be contributors. I will share more about that in a future post.
2. Being isolated from human contact
Believe it or not, there are people that mistakenly believe that isolating their dog from another human contact will be best for the dog and will create loyalty to the owner. This thinking is very wrong and can cause a dog to develop fear aggression.
3. Excessive physical punishment
People that are heavy-handed with corrections and hit their young pups are very likely to find a dog that that is afraid of people and that actually may attack the owner as it gets older and is able to protect itself.
4. An owner that does not provide proper training
This is a very common problem. A new owner says we will train the dog later only to find that later never comes. The dog ends up untrained and is now showing aggression. Obedience training is very important and creates the master dog relationship where the dog realizes that the master is the alpha of the pack, not the dog.
This is where I believe we went wrong. I never had a bigger dog before so I believe unknowingly I was treating Frisbee like a little dog. I was babying him and just never established myself as the leader, as that person who would take care of things so Frisbee didn’t have to. Frisbee ended up a little confused and lacks confidence.
5. Teasing from kids and people
We have all seen this. Where kids coming home from school just can’t pass up the opportunity to tease your dog and really get it into defense mode. It could even be a nasty neighbor as well that just doesn’t like dogs. This will surely teach a dog to be aggressive and could lead to a bite situation.
Ok, this one is actually against the law in many locations around the country. You can visit http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm to see if your city or state is included. Chaining creates aggression so don’t do it.
7. Attack from a dog
If your dog was attacked by another dog then it may have some fear when it comes to other dogs. If that is the case you may see your dog showing aggression when another dog gets too close. Your dog is simply trying to act nasty and tough so that other dogs will stay away. This happened to Frisbee a couple of years ago while we were just sitting in a quiet corner of a park during a walk and training session. Two dogs off-leash came running at him and they all got in a fight. I had Frisbee in a gentle leader harness and was yanking on him trying to pull him away. By doing that I took away his ability to defend himself. I kept tightening the strap around his nose which left a mark for a couple of weeks. Luckily, no one and no dogs got hurt, other than the tongue lashing I gave the owners. I always wondered what that situation did as far as taking Frisbee backward when we were working so hard with him to move him forward.
Let me just say, if your dog isn’t perfect with the leave it or recall command, you should never have your dog off-leash in public.
If your dog is showing aggression you may have found the reason for that aggression right here in this article. Of course, there are more reasons for aggression so this is not the complete list.
Stay tuned as I share the next chapter in our journey with Frisbee. You won’t want to miss it.
If your dog is suffering from aggression be sure to contact a trainer or a canine behavior specialist to help you solve the problem as soon as possible. And as you look for a trainer or a behavior specialist, do your homework. They aren’t all equal.
Aggression can be a serious problem and of course, can create liability for you the dog owner. Be proactive and don’t ignore it.