Dog Aggression: Types, Signs and Causes

Dog aggression image

While all dogs experience some nipping behavior as puppies, true aggression is much different. Regardless of the reason for the aggression, even if it stems from fear on the part of the dog, aggression in a dog can be quite dangerous. It can be even more dangerous when the aggression stems from one of the more unpredictable forms.

Dog Aggression Types

There are many different types of dog aggression. Some common ones include:

  • Dominance aggression
  • Fear aggression
  • Territorial-protective aggression
  • Play aggression
  • Possessive aggression and food-related aggression
  • Predatory aggression
  • Inter-dog aggression
  • Maternal aggression
  • Response (redirected) aggression
  • Pathological/ neurological aggression

There are three general Categories of Dog Aggression:

  • Towards children
  • Towards people
  • Towards other dog and animals

What are the Signs of Dog Aggression

The signs of dog aggression can vary significantly based upon the dog and the specific type of dog aggression that he is experiencing. Some of the most common signs of dog aggression include barking, lunging, snarling, growling, barring of the teeth, snapping and even biting.

What Causes Dog Aggression

Common causes for aggression in dogs include fear, a desire to establish dominance, claim territory, pain or a desire to protect. Dog aggression can be also related to genetics, lack of socialization, trauma and medical conditions.

Ruling out Medical Conditions

As with any behavior problem with your pet, it is important to rule out any medical problems. In some cases, aggression can be attributed to pain in your pet or could be due to some other medical problem that could be resolved or at least aided. For example, if your dog is getting older and experiencing hearing or sight difficulties, this could result in a sense of insecurity and fear, which could in turn cause dog aggression. It is always a good idea to take your dog to your vet for a thorough examination to rule out any possible medical conditions.

Getting Help

Although aggression in a dog can be serious and dangerous, there are methods that can help your dog to overcome this problem and become bettered managed and controlled. Obtaining professional help can make life much easier for you as well as for your dog. Learn more about our dog aggression training program.

Recommended reading: David’s Tips for Managing and Preventing Dog Aggression