Concerned that your dog is aggressive, but you're not sure where to look for answers? Read through this list to find where on iSpeakDog to visit:
Are Arguments Okay?
Just like people, dogs sometimes argue. One dog might want to play, for example, and another wants to be left alone, causing the “loner” dog to growl and snap at the playful one. If the playful dog takes the cue and leaves, well, that was a simple argument that ended in a healthy way. But if either dog digs teeth in and wounds the other one, then we have reason for concern. Visit Biting for more information, and check out this fabulous blog post by certified trainer Kristi Benson.
Sometimes dogs bark because they are distressed and possibly aggressing towards someone or something, and other times they bark because they are doing normal “doggie” things. Understanding how to read their body language is the key to figuring out what is going on. Visit our Barkingpage to learn more.
Big on Small and Two on One
There is always a risk that a big dog could seriously injure or even kill a much smaller dog (or that two dogs could suddenly gang up on a single dog). Maybe the big dog was frustrated or scared by something else and redirects his bite onto the little one, or maybe the big dog has hit an age in his development where he has become less tolerant of others, or maybe something called predatory drive has kicked in. Whatever the reason, because of the size variance, the little one is at risk. So, if you can envision a dog being about to pick up and shake a smaller dog, we advise that you be very careful.
Chasing, Nipping Ankles, Killing Small Animals
Does your dog chase bikes? Shake toys? Nip at children’s ankles? Well, all three of these behaviors are not signs of aggression — they fall into a category called “predation.” Visit Predatory Behavior to learn more.
Fighting or Playing?
Dogs do many of the same behaviors when they play as they do when they fight. In fact, it’s believed that when playing, dogs are “rehearsing” the important behaviors they’d need to do to survive in the wild: play-fight, play-flee, play-feed, and play-court. Visit Play Behavior to learn how to distinguish between playing and fighting.
Growling, Snarling, Snapping
Dogs can growl, snarl, snap, and even bite when they want to warn a person or another animal to “Back off!” but they can also do the same stuff when they’re playing. Visit Response to Threat to learn about “warning signals,” and Play Behavior to learn how to distinguish play from aggression.
Dogs who seem to become aggressive on-leash when another dog is near could be upset by the dog itself, or they could actually be happy to see the dog, but frustrated that the leash is stopping them from visiting. Both of these situations fall under a category called reactivity, which is so worrisome to many dog guardians that it warrants its own page.
Puppies bite! And bite and bite and bite and bite! Visit our Puppies page to learn all about it and how to teach them to not hurt others with their teeth.
Does your dog growl and snap if you reach for his food dish or when you go to sit down next to him on the couch? Does he growl and snap at another dog who tries to take one of his toys or his bully stick? Visit Resource Guarding to learn about this particular type of aggression, and visit Response to Threat to learn about the warning signals dogs give in situations like these.