HOMESKOOLING 4 DOGS

     Equipping You To Lead, Care and Relate to Your Dog

                  to Achieve Control & Cooperation.

Aggression

Occasional aggression toward others in a group of social animals is normal, although most acts of aggression are unacceptable when we are talking about dogs becoming members of our household.  

Aggression tendencies are stronger in some breeds than others due to selective breeding by humans.  

Dogs can show aggression for many reasons.  Aggression can be directed at immediate family members, children or other people outside the family. 

Most of what people focus on when assessing a dog′s behavior, is the dog, and its background. But before any approach can be taken to modify the dog′s behavior, you must determine what function the dog′s behavior serves.

 

We start by looking at the behavior patterns exhibited by a specific dog in a specific circumstance, and look for possible behaviors which may contribute to that behavior within that environment. From that we determine the relationship between the environment, the owners and the target of the aggression.


Aggression can be motivated out of:

  • Fear Aggression

o   Defense of self

  • Pain related Aggression
                  o   Self-Protection from pain
  • Territorial Aggression

o   Defense of territory

  • Protection Aggression

o   Defense of others

  • Resource Guarding Aggression

o   Defense of things, places, or persons the dog does not want to share

  • Dominance Aggression

o   Defense of position

  • Dog Aggression


The distinction between dominance-related and fear-related aggression hinges on the signs of fear with regards to the dog′s body language. One is in defense of self, the other in defense of position. 

All aggressive behavior is caused by the need to establish control. With aggression displays it is for the purpose increasing the distance between them and the target. With acts of aggression it is for the purpose of gaining control of territory, resources, protection of others, protection of position, or protection of self.  

 

Dogs that are territorial, resource guarding, or are dominant aggressive believe the environment in which they are acting allows them this behavior.

 

Aggression can be in the context of:

Dominance Aggression / Dominance-Related Aggression / Status-Related Aggression

  • Dominance aggression is frequently directed at immediate family members and/or anyone from the dog′s perspective that represents a threat of control over them or their place in the social hierarchy.
  • These dogs are easy to identify by the amount of control they have over their owner, and the owners inability to control their dog. 
  • These dogs show an unwillingness to accept the owner′s authority, in at least some circumstances that are important to the dog.

 

Aggression toward young children

  • Dogs can show aggression tendencies toward children for many reasons.
  • Children are unpredictable; they move, sound and act differently than adults.   
  • Motivated by fear due to the lack of proper socialization as a young puppy.  
  • Unpleasant experience with children in the past.
  • Dog must compete with new baby for attention
  • Dogs that silently stalk a moving child may be showing predatory behavior in order to control the child

 

 

Fear-related aggression

  • Lack of proper socialization
  • Unpleasant experiences in the past
  • Learned behavior from the mother
  • Learned behavior from the owners
  • Use of aggression displays to keep people away

 

 

Pain-related aggression

  • Dogs that are in pain can act irritable and aggressive when handled.
  • Dogs with confident assertive owners may suppress aggressive tendencies toward owners, but may act aggressively toward others when handled. .
  • Irritability and aggression can continue even after the injury has been healed or when the pain is no longer present due to the dog becoming sensitized to being handled by previously learning that handling was painful.

 

 

 

Territorial aggression

  • Natural tendency to protect the territory of the pack
  • Act ferociously aggressive toward people when they are in or near its territory
  • The territory defended may be the home, car, and common places the dog walks or other locations the dog frequently visits
  • Can be fear-aggression and/ or both territorial and fear aggression
  • Can be breed specific
  • Lack of becoming accustomed to visitors
  • No supervision and training / lack of control by owner
  • Not to be confused with watchdog alert barking

 

 

 Dog Aggression − Toward Strange Dogs

Aggression tendencies are stronger in some breeds of dogs
  • Lack of proper socialization
  • Fearful of strange dogs
  • Previous unpleasant experience
  • Never developed proper social etiquette with other dogs
  • Unable to read another dog′s social signals communication
  • Territorial aggression at locations the dog frequently visits
  • Protection of owner, or resource
  • Unwilling to show submissive gestures

  

 

Idiopathic Aggression / Episodic / Dysfunctional Rage

  • No explanation for behavior / Unknown cause
  • Rare type of aggressive behavior
  • Unpredictable and unprovoked attacks on people the dog knows well
  • Typically infrequent and spaced a month or more apart
  • Possibly a neurotransmitter disorder
  • Often confused with severe forms of dominance-related aggression

 

 

Successful behavior modification depends upon accurately identifying the reason for the behavior.

If you are having challenges with any form of aggression, please consult a professional for assistance.