Aggressive Dog: What to Do If the Dog Suddenly Growls and Bites

Our four-legged friends also have a bad day. As a rule, this manifests itself with classic withdrawal behavior until the fur nose is ready for the company again. Unfortunately, negative feelings can also show up in aggression. The post reveals how it is possible to recognize an aggressive dog based on body language.

Recognize Aggression in the Dog

Dogs show a lot about their condition through their body language and facial expressions. Joy and happiness, for example, are particularly easy to recognize. Many a stroller has heard the sentence: “He just wants to play!”. However, this does not always apply to a four-legged friend that barks, tears on the leash, or bares its teeth.

Similar to humans, dogs also have certain signals that they always send out when they feel threatened or fearful.

These two emotions are common triggers for aggression. However, it is also interesting that many aggressive four-legged friends are plagued by stress or feel insecure and uncomfortable.

The dog’s body language often reveals that he is aggressive before the actual attack. This is shown, among other things, by undisciplined behavior. For example, if a four-legged friend does not listen to their owners, it is advisable to distance themselves to avoid worse. The dogs go through so-called escalation stages. These range from an initial fixation of the opponent to circling and restricting the range of motion to biting. The less the dog moves, the more threatening the situation becomes.

The following table lists various signs of aggressive behavior towards humans and other conspecifics:

The dog is aggressive towards other dogs:

  • Set up the rod;
  • Big ears;
  • Stand on the neck;
  • Show teeth and lift lips;
  • Growl;
  • Snapping and/or biting;
  • Hard look;
  • Circle and fixate opponents;
  • Restrict the opponent’s range of motion;
  • Freeze in motion.

The dog is aggressive towards people:

  • Set up the rod;
  • Big ears;
  • Stand on the neck;
  • Snapping and/or biting;
  • Baring teeth and lifting lips;
  • Growling or barking menacingly;
  • Wrinkle nose and forehead skin when growling.

Causes of Aggression Against Humans and Other Conspecifics

Basically, aggressiveness in dogs is an instinct for survival. It only becomes misconduct and thus a problem if the aggressiveness occurs too often or is directed against the wrong goal. If your own dog is aggressive, there is no avoiding research into the exact causes in order to get rid of the undesirable behavior. The following reasons could be behind the behavior disorder:

  • Anxiety disorders: If it concerns a four-legged friend from animal welfare, traumatic experiences from the past could influence the behavior of the dog. Most of the time, in moments of aggression, the dog thinks that it has to defend itself.
  • Mistakes in the upbringing: Of course, violence and aggressiveness on the part of the owner have no place in dog training. However, a lack of coherence or confusing commands can also cause the dog to react incorrectly.
  • Insufficient socialization: If dogs are not adequately introduced to encounters with other dogs when they are puppies and learn the appropriate rules of conduct, conflicts can arise later.
  • Health Problems: A neurological illness or pain can also cause a dog to suddenly react aggressively. In very rare cases, infectious diseases such as rabies trigger the symptoms
    Hunting instinct: Hunting dogs may react to quick and sudden movements with their hunting instinct.

Dealing with Aggressive Dogs: How Do I Behave?

Avoid situations

Once the cause of the pet’s aggression has been found, the task is to reduce certain situations and stimuli. In the best case, the potential triggers of aggression should be avoided completely when dealing with your dog. In order to desensitize the animal, professional training by a specialist is recommended. Your vet may even be able to give you a good address here.

Muzzle to protect the dog and the environment

In individual cases, only a muzzle can protect against an aggressive four-legged friend. This is important if he shows no improvement after individual training and poses a danger to himself and his surroundings.

Behavior towards a strange dog

If you come across an unfamiliar four-legged friend who is hostile, it is important to remain calm. Running away is never an option. Hasty movements seem threatening. Interrupting eye contact and a head turned away are de-escalating. If the dog still does not let go of you, hold out an object – such as a handbag.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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