Aggression and anxiety are natural animal responses to unfamiliar situations or environments. Any dog may have a predisposition towards aggression. Dogs are not necessarily born aggressive, but sometimes, it is the only way they know how to respond to perceived threats.
Aggression in dogs comes in several varying forms, including defensive, maternal, possessive, protective, competitive, territorial or social aggression. A dog may also behave aggressively when feeling discomfort or pain due to an undiagnosed illness.
How can dog owners address aggression?
A dog owner should be able to recognize aggression and train their dog to react differently before their dog causes serious injury. Dog owners can take significant steps to address and correct aggression in their dogs. They can do the following:
- Figuring out what triggers their dog to behave aggressively.
- Correctly examining their dog’s body language, especially around strangers or other animals.
- Adequately providing all the basic needs of their dog.
- Looking out for indicators of resource guarding in their dog.
- Training their dog for effective socialization.
- Identifying illnesses and treating their dog accordingly.
The breed of the dog does not affect the aggressiveness of a dog; it is the environment they grew up in and their temperament. A new dog owner may have adopted their dog from a shelter without realizing the previous dog owners were abusive. The dog learned aggression to protect itself.
What if the dog owner fails to address signs of aggression?
Dog owners are strictly liable for their dogs, meaning if there is any indication that their dog is aggressive, they should address it. Otherwise, they are being negligent dog owners. Negligence is a form of abuse and irresponsible dog ownership behavior. Their dog could be a potential threat to others, and they did nothing about it.