May is Responsible Animal Guardian Month
Most of us with animals know that being responsible for…
Fear aggression occurs when a dog is frightened or intimidated in his or her current surroundings. Unfortunately, owners of dogs with fear aggression often attempt to comfort or reassure the dog, thereby reinforcing the adverse behaviors. Snapping, growling, and attempts to escape ones surroundings are all signs of fear aggression. Body postures such as a lowered head and flattened ears, raised fur, and lip retraction can be signs that your dog is feeling afraid and ready to defend himself (or you!) if provoked.
Most dogs with fear aggression will try to avoid a fearful situation by slowly reversing away from the person, predator, or situation causing them fear. Once they are cornered, however, they will likely attack and attempt to defend themselves.
While there is no specific action you can take to completely solve fear aggression, you can become adept at preventing or managing it:
Dogs that have food-related aggression tend to react strongly when people or other dogs approach her during feeding time. Protecting one’s food source is a deeply-ingrained evolutionary imperative that can result in plenty of trouble if not managed properly.
Territorial aggression occurs when a dog attempts to protect its surroundings (whether appropriate or not) from perceived intruders. This does not necessarily mean only your home; dogs can be territorial about the area they’ve in which they’ve been playing at the park, surrounding neighborhoods, cars, and so on. Territorialism is closely related to fear aggression in that the dog perceives a threat to his surroundings, or even to his human, and he becomes ready to defend either. The body language and behaviors of a territorial dog also mirror that of a fearful one: lowered head, flattened ears, snarling or lunging.
Again, there is no “cure” for territorial behaviors, but you can control them.
As summertime approaches, we’re all quite excited about spending more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine with our best friends. Frisbee in the park, walks along a riverbank, and other fun outdoor activities can be just what you and your dog need to shake off any residual winter blues and soak up some vitamin D – and you’re not the only ones who are looking forward to it. You will likely encounter other dogs in your summertime adventures, and you should know what to do if those dogs are less than friendly.
Stay alert and stay safe this summer by recognizing the signs of aggression in your own dog or others. If your dog doesn’t respond to attempts to control aggression, consult your veterinarian or professional trainer for assistance. With the right approach, even the most anxious dog can learn to control his aggression and be a happy, well-adjusted companion for years to come.
Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry? (And When to Be Concerned)
A cold, wet nose is a common trait associated with…