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Dog Aggression 101: How To Stop Aggressive Behavior In Dogs


Dog Aggression

How To Stop Aggressive Dog Behavior

Dog aggression; we have all been there, whether it be with our own pooches, or coming in contact with another canine. Either way, you know how important it is to be aware of how to stop aggressive behavior in dogs, and exactly what to do about it. The very first step is:

What Causes Aggressive Behavior In Dogs?

Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Are they ill?
  2. Are they taking charge because you aren’t?
  3. Are they reacting aggressively over territory (place or object like a toy)?
  4. Are they afraid?

Don’t Ignore The Obvious! How’s the food and water bowl looking? Neglect in cleanliness here can easily be a cause of a crankiness and aggression.

Follow Through On The Possible Causes

  1. Are They Ill? In this respect, humans and canines are so very much alike. When we’re not feeling well, our behavior can become more than a little inappropriate! A vet visit is a great place to start if dog aggression is new and unusual.
  2. Who Is In Charge? The biggest key in knowing how to stop aggressive behavior in dogs is to understand and remember that they are pack animals. What does that mean? Someone has to be top alpha-dog and pack leader. If it’s not you, your pooch is likely to take that role over and deal with any situation as the leader. In this case dog aggression is simply their way of taking control; be it another dog, family member, visitor, or stranger. Why? Because they don’t think you’re taking care of the situation. How to stop aggressive behavior in dogs boils down to being the leader of the pack.
  3. Possessive Aggressiveness? This is always really obvious, when your companion becomes territorial over a place or object. At the end of the day though, this still comes back to who’s in charge. This is the dog way of being the leader through being in possession of the most stuff and largest area. This aggressive behavior in dogs also requires you to be in charge of the pack.
  4. Reacting Out Of Fear? We all have things we’re scared of, and canines are no different. Although taking charge and being the leader is helpful, dealing with a traumatized pooch needs a little more than that. Here you also want to include desensitizing whatever is causing the fear. An example? Fear of thunderstorms can be eased with a recording played at the quietest level possible where no reaction happens. Reward and praise after 5 minutes or so, and continue another time at a slightly higher volume, that doesn’t trigger a reaction. That’s desensitization in a nutshell.

Leader Of The Pack: The most important thing to know about how to stop aggressive behavior in dogs is to know you need to be the one in charge. That includes all the human members in your family being in charge of your pooch. When you take the lead, your dog won’t feel the need to protect the pack, because they know you’ll be in charge of that. Be firm and use simple commands (two words or less is best) to show your displeasure with aggressive behavior and keep control with a good harness and leash. Never, ever use pain to correct your dog. Always remember to reward calm behavior with a positive and happy “good dog”, treats, and pats.

Dog aggression is not something anyone wants to live with, so find the right way for you and your pooch to end it. If it’s sudden and new aggression, get a vet check-up first. Work on the reasons for why your companion is being aggressive, and focus on being the leader of your pack and the one who is in charge. If it’s a fear-based aggressive behavior, work on desensitizing slowly, and in small training sessions. Now you know how to stop aggressive behavior in dogs, so get started!

Got A Dog Aggression Training Tip? Tell us about it in feedback, and share your story so everyone can learn more.


Michael Orrbrooke is the President and CEO of Bark & Fitz and has been since 2007. Husband, father, and pet parent, he prides himself on his love of animals. He brings that commitment and respect to all Bark & Fitz guests, be they human, canine, or feline. Much of his time is devoted to researching the advancements in healthy pet foods, seeing it as a natural progression of what is happening with human nutrition. Uncompromising in his approach to guests and their parents, the highest value is placed on uniqueness and quality for all products; from food to gear, toys to treats, grooming to healthcare. Pet parent to Poppy, a 3 ½ year old Blue Picardy Spaniel, a breed that is well known for their field ability, gentle nature, intelligence, and willingness to please, she’s sure to feature regularly on the blog. Michael is passionate about all aspects of pet healthcare and encourages all pet parents to give their companions the very best.

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