Why Does A Dog Turn Aggressive? Indian Trail Pet Sitter Gives Some Information.

Why Does A Dog Turn Aggressive?


Why Does A Dog Turn Aggressive

Why Does A Dog Turn Aggressive?  Whether they are small dogs, medium size dogs, big dogs, dogs of every breed, life’s history, background and home environment; regardless of how much we consider them trusted members of our families, dogs are still – animals. Animals are not rational thinkers, but have instinctive behaviors & responses that are embedded in their DNA; going back to when they were wolves. Dogs are smarter than most animals and have over the generations been bred to be domesticated, so they can be trained to act and perform to fit within our homes and adapt to living within the lifestyle of people. It is because so many dogs do so, seemingly so easily, that it is so very hard for many to see, and comprehend, that that wonderful furry bundle of joy with a wet nose and wagging tail creature is very capable of causing fear, harm, and injury to those around them.

Owning, raising, training, and caring for dogs is not easy. Tens of thousands of dog owners, with the best of intentions, have problems with their dogs, like: excessive barking, aggression, obsessions, dominance, fears; even pain and over protective maternal instincts, and prey drive. Many of these problems/issues do not result in a dog biting, but there are over 4 and a half million people in the US bitten by dogs every year, (per the CDC), and that does not reflect all the dog on dog bites. Not that these dogs are bad, for the most part these dogs were just being dogs. Dogs can’t use hands to push someone away, or grab something back, or vigorously shake their finger as a warning, or flip the “bird” when they’re upset – they have mouths that nip, snap, and bite.

The most frequent reasons dogs bite are:

1) Possessiveness – dogs protecting what they consider their “property” like a toy, a bone, food, and even a person. Although guard dog breeds are commonly thought to have strong possessiveness traits, all dogs have possessive behaviors that can make the cutest lap dog into a “dedicated guardian” and become an aggressive snarling snapping terror.
2) Fear – yes dogs, like people have the emotion of fear, it a basic emotion crucial for the survival of most animals “flee or fight” response. Startling a dog is a big one. Waking it up suddenly from sleep. Coming up on a dog surprising it. And some dogs even have “phobias” to things and that frightens them. I have seen dogs literally terrified by a vacuum and attacked it trying to tear it to pieces, and another dog afraid of moving shadows – who was afraid to go outside and when she did, she attacked her own shadow ripping up tufts of grass. So an issue of fear is a strong basis for a dog to bite someone or another dog seemingly out of the blue.
3) Dominance – this has a lot of both possessiveness and fear, besides the instinctive rules and roles of dog pack mentality. I cannot stress more emphatically how important it is for dog owners to establish themselves, (and that all people in general), are always “the” pack leader. Dogs will assert themselves to determine who has the pack leader status.461039_599955843356991_1403481366_o These dogs could be siblings or strangers, but if it is not established that people are the undisputed pack leaders, dogs will experience a stressful imbalance, that a dog instinctively will be driven to resolve. Establishing pack leader status in a group of random dogs isn’t easy, but with proper dog-to-pack introduction, in the vast majority of cases, once a new dog enters into a new pack, if the pack is calm and emotionally balanced with a clear human pack leader, even the more controlling of dogs quickly submits to the balance and will of the rest of the pack, and is usually relieved to unburden itself from the stress filled role and responsibilities of being and defending itself as a pack leader. Unfortunately, some dogs have a harder time relinquishing this role than others because they do not constantly experience a human pack leader’s rules, boundaries, and limitations.
4) Neutering and Maternal Instincts – although very real reasons why dogs bite,  these hormonal and parental reasons should be more than a self explanatory reason why – sex and protecting your babies. Simple.
5) Breed – this is probably the toughest and most controversial explanation of why dogs bite. Some dogs were bred to fight, bite, chomp, chew, ferret out, maim, and kill. Some dogs were bred to fight off wolves, wild boar and bear. Other dogs were bred to dig out and kill rats and other vermin. And unfortunately some were bred to fight and kill one another – for sport. Many of these dogs do have these inbred traits and I myself know the stigma associated with owning these dogs; for I myself own a Scottish Terrier, (a ratter), and an English Pitt Bull, (a fighter); but both couldn’t be sweeter; however the Scottish Terrier has chased down a squirrel or two over the years, dug a few incredibly deep hole under my fence, and there may be a few less opossums in my neighborhood over my dog’s 17 year lifetime. Because that is their nature, and we as responsible dog owners to understand the breed of the dog they own, its power and temperament, and that they MUST train our dogs to be emotionally balanced, have and obey set rules. Otherwise you have a recipe for disaster. And it isn’t just large dogs like Mastiffs, Pitt Bulls and the like – but even smaller dogs can have major breed aggression issues. It’s just that larger dogs usually cause proportionally greater damage/injury, but even small dogs can be of a breed not suitable for homes with children or other small pets/dogs.
6) Illness/Pain – Even the friendliest of dogs can become snippy, snap and bite if it is in pain. An injury, skin disorder and illnesses like arthritis can cause a dog severe discomfort and pain and a dog’s only response would be to bite. Picking up a hurting dog can be one of the most dangerous times to expose oneself to getting bitten. Dogs who suddenly change their behavior and temperament and become snippy should be checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical condition.

Well, I can go on and give you more reasons dogs bite, fight, and act aggressively. I can go into how even two dogs playing and roughhousing can quickly turn into a more serious injurious event. They’re dogs. And dogs will be dogs. I know that it is impossible to prevent dogs nipping and biting one another. And with even 100% focus on two dogs, and intently watching for any telltale signs of the potential of something catastrophic happening you can’t prevent it from happening. It’s like watching a child in the playground, you can’t stop and catch them from falling off a swing; and by the time a dog takes a nip, or a bite the only thing anyone can do is be reactive, because if you truly care there is nothing else you could have done….unless you keep your children, and your dog, out of harm’s way, un-socialized, unable to play with others, live life, and keep in solitude…in a cage.

In memory of all dogs and people who have been bitten, injured, and died by the hands of man’s best friend.



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