Dominance, Fear, and Territorial Aggression

It is the most severe and frequent problem in pets, it is one of the leading reason owners look out for professional help from veterinarians and behaviorists. Term “aggression” cites a broad variety of actions that occur for different reasons. But nearly all wild animals are aggressive when it comes to guarding their territories and protecting themselves. Breeds that stay in groups like dogs and other pets use this behavior to threaten and maintain peace. Aggression marks a wide range of tones which starts with warnings. When dogs are aggressive, some part of their routine changes and show intense actions like:

  • Growling and barking
  • Becoming rigid and still
  • Lunging forward
  • Showing teeth
  • Snap
  • Snarl
  • Quick nip
  • Bite
  • Repeated bites

However, there are other signs too, but these are the common ones. Most of the times owners do not understand the symptoms, and they think it is suffering from a severe behavior problem.

Different types of dog aggression

If one has an aggressive dog, they need to become a perfect reader of pet’s body language. Various forms of aggression require different treatment, but a single pet will reveal multiple types.

Nervous/ Fear Aggression

It is common and found in most of the humans and pets that account for about 93% of all pets. The core reason for this type of behavior is breed type and also the lack of socialization in its early puppyhood. It can be a result of the laziness and ignorance of pup and the breeder. It is certain that puppies will inherit parent’s traits through genetics.

Control Aggression (resource guarding)

This is typical behavior in humans and dogs, if someone enters into their property, they become aggressive that leads them to bark loudly and growl at the same time. Resource guarding is one of the common activities in dogs. If the pet is injuring other animals or the guarding action towards the property or owner, or other things is increased immensely, one needs to seek medical help immediately.

Dominance Aggression

Dogs are live and cooperate by nature in their social groups. To maintain a perfect order, they make a dominance hierarchy within the group. When they come to live with people, the owners must make themselves a part of this hierarchy and should take the highest position. It will make the people and the pets happy. Most of the breeds take a neutral role towards their owners, but few challenge their master for dominance.  Dogs think children and kids to be their playmates and not owners or masters as they play with them. They think kids are also a part of the hierarchy and they should not be left alone if the pet has shown any sign of aggression. Elder ones should be taught the perfect ways of playing with them to avoid injuries.

Changed Aggression

This type of behavior occurs when it is held back from a particular object of aggression and reveals their anger on another person, object or animal is called changed aggression.

Territorial Aggression

This action combines various factors of guarding a resource, it can be “this place is mine” or “I want to go out of this area.” Both elements are crucial firstly, it doesn’t allow any unknown to come inside its premises. On the other hand, it doesn’t want to stay inside a fenced area, or in simple words, it doesn’t want to remain restricted.

Inter-Dog aggression

This behavior can be seen when two dogs fight over a game while playing. It can be a reason for inadequate training or inadequate socialization, traumatic feel in the presence of other animals. It is a result of adverse training techniques, they feel other pets will attack them.

 Barrier Disappointment

Many pets play with other pets off leash, but display odd behaviors like barking, growling and lunging on a leash. Few are enthusiastic and curious about the passerby animals who are repeatedly aroused but are stopped from checking these new peoples. This can turn quickly into aggression when mixed with actions like corrections in leash or shocks from electric fences.

Pain Discomfort

A devoted and reliable pet can growl, snap and even bite its owner out of pain. This is called pain aggression. Therefore, it is desirable to seek medical help as soon as some difference in action is observed. Additionally, also keep a pet first aid kit all the time.

Predatory Aggression

It is pointed towards large prey animals and small animals. It is also triggered by fast moving objects, people, joggers, cars, toys and many more.

Medical Aggression

If the pet shows some odd behaviors, get a thorough checkup done which will include complete blood count, full thyroid panel, blood chemistry evaluation, etc. pain aggression can be a part of medical aggression.

 Things to do

  • Check with the skilled professionals if they have any medical causes for odd actions, it can be due to pain or some other medical problem.
  • If it is physically fit, then consult a behavioral specialist, aggression problem is a serious problem and will not go without a proper check-up.
  • Until it is taken to a veterinarian, one must not take them out in public places. If they are taken out using a cage-type muzzle, restrict and supervise their activities.
  • On should not take their pets to the places where it might get more aggressive, hence, it is desirable to keep them in a safe room with minimum people contact.
  • Intact pets are more aggressive and face much trouble with territorial, dominance and protective behavior. Therefore, if the pet is not mutilated, it is advisable to neuter or spays the pet.

Things not to do

  • Punishment is not a solution, it will make the situation worst. If penalty drives aggression, it will make the pet more fearful and will result in more aggressiveness. An attempt to punish will make it more furious and will trigger its odd behavior.
  • Encouraging aggressive behavior will have odd results. Games like tug of war, wrestling games, etc can start an aggression problem. If they get inspiration to follow commands like “go” to outside people and noises, the protective and territorial behavior will be the result in future.
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