There are many reasons for aggressive behavior in dogs. It could be due to an issue with communication and dominance between you and the dog or it might be a habit that was never corrected as a puppy. The earlier you can address problems with aggression, the better. The results of prolonged aggression can not only get out of control quickly but can become violent if not handled the right way.



Causes for Aggressive Behavior in Dogs


Within three to six weeks after they are born, puppies begin to learn basic behavioral patterns specific to dogs. While they play, they experiment with different body postures, what it’s like to bite and be bitten as well as how to bark. Their mother teaches them how to behave and be submissive.


Starting at six weeks, it is crucial for puppies to be exposed to other dogs and people in a social setting since aggression can begin early. Puppies must be given the necessary training, first from its mother and then master, that keeps them from biting or hurting other people. This socialization period lasts until the dog turns 14 weeks of age but can extend beyond that if needed.


Accomplishing this means following some guidelines. First, never take a puppy away from its litter before it is 8 weeks old. Puppies removed from their mother and siblings too early tend to become nervous and shy and can be harder to discipline. They also tend to bark and bite more.


Socialize your dog early by getting it used to new sights and sounds. Introduce your puppy to new situations and be sure to immediately correct your dog if they growl or show any other aggressive behaviors by being firm and consistent, even if the aggression is brought on by fear.


Another source of aggressive behavior in dogs happens when a puppy is handled too harshly between 8 and 10 weeks old. Puppies are sensitive at a young age and yelling, hitting, or severe punishment can create aggression. Instead, you should use low tones with distractions and guiding techniques.


There are numerous other factors that trigger aggressive behavior in dogs such as heredity and genetics. Certain breeds tend to be more aggressive but many times it is because they are trained to be that way.  Also, not neutering or spaying your dog makes them more prone to aggressive tendencies.


What it comes down to is that the main source of aggressive behavior in dogs is the environment they are raised in.  If they are disciplined to severely or live in poor conditions, if they aren’t allowed to socialize, or if they have been frightened or attacked, there is a much greater chance of them showing aggressive behavior.


Ways to Handle Aggressive Behavior in Dogs


If your dog is over 14 months of age and is still exhibiting aggressive behaviors, you need to address the problem immediately. Be sure and establish yourself as the pack leader with your puppy. It’s natural for dogs to exhibit posturing, biting, and other aggressive tendencies to test you for dominance, so train them to respond to your commands.


One way that prevents aggressive behavior in dogs is not allowing your puppy to sleep on your bed. This makes them think they are higher up in the pecking order. Even letting them on the furniture sends mixed messages. Another technique for training a well-mannered dog is to make them sit and wait before you feed them, and never let them go through a doorway ahead of you.


By establishing dominance at a young age and maintaining that position throughout the dog’s adolescence years, you will ensure your puppy doesn’t get a chance to take control of the household. If you give your young dog and inch, they will take a mile so keep a tight rein on them and don’t reward them for bad behavior, even when they are scared.


A dog that bites or threatens people is a dangerous dog, no matter how much you love him. If your dog’s behavior turns violent, be sure and keep it away from small children and consider hiring a professional to intervene before someone gets hurt. A well-trained, obedient dog is much happier and will be a wonderful companion for years to come.

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