Aggression is the most difficult behavior for dog parents. Beyond the risks to humans a bite can be the fastest ticket to the animal shelter. Many dogs with this history are put down-no questions asked.

  • There are no simple solutions. To get ahead of this problem you’ll need a canine-specific plan.
    • Harsh correction and punishment usually cause aggression to worsen.
      • Dogs can get easily confused and reactive partly because they don’t speak a human language.
      • When they feel trapped and out-of-options their teeth can be their tool of last resort.
    • Fear is a common driver of defensive aggression.
      • People who approach, reach for, lean over, or stare at a frightened dog can trigger panic.
      • The result of increasing the distance from the “scary monster” can lead to a self-rewarding behavior of lunging and snapping in order to remove a perceived risk.
    • Redirected aggression occurs when a person gets in the way of a dog’s intended target. Severe human injuries can result.
    • We also see bites from chronically painful dogs.
    • Dogs with “play” aggression don’t inhibit their tendency to bite.
    • A whole lot of these dogs can do better but none of them can be cured.
  • Every case is different.
    • Painful pets need treatment for their physical problems.
    • Fearful biters can learn security if they are called and lured with food rather than being approached.
    • Reward calm behavior every chance you get.
    • Dogs with play aggression can be a bigger challenge because they cross the line between rough housing and real violence.
  • Be careful.
    • If your dog has a history of biting have her drag a 6 foot or longer leash from her collar so you can safely get immediate control.
    • Take a step back from your emotions before you act.
    • Whether you keep your dog and treat the behavior or part company, you should know your options. Learn more by reading my article “Why Dogs Bite”. https://drjeffnichol.com/why-dogs-bite/