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Why is my Dog Aggressive?

Aggression in dogs is a serious issue. Dog aggression is a leading cause of many of the major problems in the dog world. It causes overpopulation in shelters, children, adults, and dogs getting injured, and even dogs being euthanized for being deemed an aggressive dog and a danger to society.

The first step in understanding aggression in dogs requires that you determine what type of dog aggression it is and why the dog is aggressing. There are many types of dog aggression may vary, the root causes of aggression are relatively consistent: insecurity, fear and anxiety.

At its core, aggressive behavior from a dog is intended to increase distance from a perceived danger. For example, a dog may growl or lip lift as part of an aggressive display to discourage the perceived danger to move from moving any closer. In the majority of cases, the dog’s intention is not so much to harm the threat as it is to change the threat’s behavior by making it go away.

Aggression is deeply rooted in a dog’s instinctual need for safety.

  • Growling, biting, snapping, lunging, and snarling are critical ways the dog uses to communicate his intent. That intent may be to warn, intimidate, increase distance, defend, or cause harm. The bottom line from a dog's perspective is designed to ensure the dog’s personal safety and survival.

  • Even on an emotional level, when a dog is fearful, angry, anxious, frustrated, stressed, upset, or in pain, safety is of paramount importance.

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