What To Do If Your Dog Becomes Aggressive

First, you need to identify the causes for their behaviour. Sometimes it can be linked to pain, illness, or being in heat.
What To Do If Your Dog Becomes Aggressive

Last update: 26 November, 2018

Having an aggressive dog is something that many dog owners fear the most. Fortunately, there are very few truly aggressive dogs and there is also a way to correct this behavior. By doing so, you can live happily with your dog. So, read this article to learn what you should do if your dog becomes aggressive.

Find Out The Reason Your Dog Becomes Aggressive

To address your dog’s aggression, you need to find out why they are behaving this way. If you get to the root of the problem, it will disappear. So, if your dog becomes aggressive, the first step is to observe them. Note when and to what gets them to react aggressively, and what gestures or body language they use. By doing so, you can try and figure out a way to get them to stop acting aggressively.

It’s very different when a dog becomes aggressive out of fear than acting this way due to a bad experience in the past and not trusting other dogs. At the same, you will need a different approach to treat your dog’s aggression if they only act this way when they’re playing with other dogs.

Always observe your dog when they become aggressive. When does it happen? What had just happened before? What is their body language like? The more information you have and the better you record it, the sooner you will work out what is provoking their behavior.

Make Sure It’s Not Caused By Pain Or Disease

Just like humans can sometimes be irritable or in a bad mood when we have a toothache or an earache, pain can cause dogs to be irritable too. So, when your dog starts to have problems with other dogs or behave aggressively, one of the first things you should do is to take them to a vet.

Two dogs playing in a park when a dog turns aggressive

The most likely may have a problem with their teeth or ears.  However, you must also consider other conditions like joint pain, digestive problems, or even a hormone imbalance. Only a vet is the correct person who is truly capable of diagnosing these things.

When you go to the vet, tell them that your dog’s behavior has changed. Professionals will know what to look for to figure out what is affecting your dog’s behavior and well-being.

If their change in behavior is caused by something physical, then treating it will resolve the problem. But don’t hesitate about it. If suddenly, your dog becomes aggressive, you should take them to a professional, even if it’s just to rule out any diseases.

Sometimes owners forget that when dogs are looking for a mate, their behavior changes in both males and females. When they’re in this cycle, they can become aggressive and territorial.

In nature, an adult male dog would seldom find themselves with a female in heat. However, in the cities, they pass by dozens of animals every day, and when males come across a female in heat, the hormones and tension of other dogs fill our parks and squares.

Aggressive dog running

There are several solutions to this problem, especially sterilizing pets. However, this behavior is only temporary and will only come to pass when the females end their cycle. Remember, spring and autumn are the times of the year that females are in heat the most, so don’t be caught off guard if your dog starts to act strangely.

Avoid Bad Reactions

Be sure to rule out any physical conflicts while you’re trying to figure out what is making your dog act aggressively.  Don’t put them in a situation that gets them to react in such a manner. If you do so, then you aren’t going to get anything positive out of it.

Choose a good time to take your dog for a walk, especially at a time of the day that has fewer dogs walking with their owners. If your dog barks, pulls on the leash to chase after vehicles or bikes, then you should pick out a time that less activity on the street.

The same goes for times when there is a lot of people, especially children that are out on the streets. It will do no good to repeatedly place your dog in an environment that triggers their bad behavior.

Seek Advice From A Dog Trainer

OK. So now you know that the cause is nothing physical, and you have a better idea about what’s triggering your dog’s aggressive behavior, but you have no idea how to correct it.

If your dog becomes aggressive, take them to trainer like this one

The only solution remains is to seek advice from a dog trainer. Aggression is a serious problem which will only get worse over time. A positive dog trainer will listen to you and your dog, and once they know the root of the problem, he/she will come up with a personalised treatment for your dog.

Choose a trainer that treats you both with respect and does no harm to your pet. Don’t go to professionals that use choke collars, shock collars, or a theory of dominance with your dog. These methods only traumatize your dog and make the problem even worse.

Aggression, fortunately, is a rare problem with dogs. In order to treat it, you need to figure out what is causing your dog to act this way. Once you’ve ruled out a physical cause, the best thing to do is find a dog trainer who can help you and your dog.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.