How to Stop Dog Aggression

There are many reasons for dog aggression, some of them are physiological and can be based in genetics or caused by underlying health issues. Most aggressive behavior in dogs is created by the environment that they live in. Frightening or unpleasant early social experiences can often be the root of an aggressive behavior. Understanding the cause of your dog's aggressive behavior will help you determine the best way to stop it.

Canine Aggression Caused by Health Issues

If your typically easy-going dog suddenly becomes aggressive under certain circumstances, you should consider that he may have developed a health problem that is causing him to experience pain or perhaps a chemical imbalance. Consult with your veterinarian about the behaviors your dog is displaying and ask about tests that can be done to help rule out health issues. Injuries that occur during normal daily activities can go unnoticed at the time that they happen, but can cause pain later on when left unattended. Chemical imbalances can be caused by something as simple as a low normal thyroid level. Your veterinarian will be able to help you assess and treat any physical problems that your dog may have.

Dog Aggression Based on Environmental Factors

Lack of socialization is often the cause of aggressive behavior in dogs. Factors such as being taken away from his mother and litter before the age of 8 weeks, being left alone for long periods of time and unpleasant experiences with new dogs and people can be causes for inappropriate aggressive behavior in dogs. Unfamiliar places, animals and people can cause an unsocialized dog to become hyper-vigilant and fearful because he does not know what to expect. If your dog has not had appropriate exposure to certain normal daily activities, you may need to employ the help of a professional trainer to create a plan to re-introduce him to the circumstances that he is reacting to. A trainer can also teach you how to reinforce your dog for appropriate behavior. Canine aggression is a serious problem that can seldom be resolved without the help of an animal professional regardless of the cause of the aggressive behavior.

What to Do Dog about Dog Aggression

Though most canine aggression issues will require the help of a professional, there are things that a dog owner can do to reduce the instances of the behavior and not make the issue worse. Remaining calm when your dog becomes reactive is important to not feeding the aggression. Try not to speak to your dog at all when he is displaying aggressive behavior. If you must talk to him, speak softly and move slowly. Becoming loud and aggressive yourself will only exacerbate the problem. If possible, avoid creating the circumstances that cause your dog to become aggressive. If he is reactive to strangers, confine him when people come to the house. If other dogs upset him, do not walk him during times that you are likely to encounter other dogs. If he guards bones, don't give him bones. These are only management techniques to be used while the aggression problem is being addressed, they will not solve it but will help to keep it under control.