How to Control Your Aggressive Dog

Dogs are primarily protective and friendly if you treat them with kindness and respect. There are some occasions when you might encounter an aggressive dog, but it’s important to know that aggression in dogs is often a response to an external stimulus in their environment.

Dog-owners whose dogs display aggressive behavior must never take it lightly and consult a professional dog trainer if they’re not able to curb this behavior.

That being said, there are several aggressive dog training tips you can try at home to change your dog’s behavior.

Why Does my Dog Display Aggressive Behavior?

Aggressive behavior in dogs can be classified as an attempt to attack or a forthcoming attack. If your dog becomes rigid and still or starts growling and snarling, and even biting – these are all classic examples of aggression in dogs.

If you wish to control your dog’s aggressive behavior you must first try to find out what is causing your dog to be aggressive.

An example of this can be if someone comes near your dog when they’re eating food or chewing a bone and they start to growl and bark. Some dogs tend to become aggressive when they spot children or when a stranger approaches them. Aggression doesn’t necessarily have to be towards a person; the sight of other animals, such as cats, could trigger an aggressive response. Even inanimate objects can trigger such a reaction.

Here are some situations that can trigger aggressive behavior in dogs.


Dogs might become aggressive in a situation where they feel trapped and can’t escape from a threat. Most dogs who exhibit fear-based aggression have been abused, mistreated, or weren’t properly socialized when they were little pups.

Territorial Aggression

Some dogs feel the need to protect their space and surroundings and display territorial aggression if they think there is an intruder around. This is usually limited to strangers who they’ve never met, but often it can be directed towards friends too.

Possession Aggression

This is also referred to as resource guarding, and it’s one of the most common reasons behind aggression in dogs because of their intrinsic need to protect their belongings. This could be toys, food, their bed, or crate. If your dog starts to growl when someone goes near their sacred possessions or spaces, then chances are they are displaying possession aggression.

Protective Aggression

Dogs are pack animals (they’re basically domesticated wolves, after all) and have this urge to protect their pack members. Your dog may exhibit protective aggression when they feel like their family member is in danger.

Signs Your Dog Has Aggressive Tendencies

Dogs can adopt aggressive behavior at any given point in their lives. In order to avoid any dangerous situations, it’s important to notice warning signs that can result in an aggressive attack.

• Growling and snapping
• Wagging tail with the rest of the body rigid
• Averting gaze
• Yawning or lip licking
• Tail tucking
• Raised fur
• Seeing whites of the eyes

These warning signs don’t always result in aggressive behavior – they could also mean that your dog is feeling anxious or fearful.

How to Stop the Aggressive Behavior

Think of aggressive behavior as a symptom and not a problem. In most cases, finding out the reason why your dog displays aggression can determine the solution. There are several ways you can control the hostility of your dog and help them stay calm. Just like with any other kind of training, this also takes time, patience, consistency, and maybe the help of an expert trainer.

Consult your Veterinarian

Dogs who weren’t aggressive before and suddenly have started acting out could be due to a medical problem. Health issues that may lead to aggression could be painful injuries, hypothyroidism, and even neurological issues such as epilepsy and brain tumors.

Consult your vet and run tests to determine if any of these problems are the underlying cause of your dog’s unwarranted behavior. Medication and treatment could make a huge difference.

Create a Plan

If your veterinarian has ruled out any medical conditions for your dog, then it’s time to create a plan to improve your dog’s behavior. Positive reinforcement is the most commonly used technique to train your dog to behave a certain way. If you notice your dog getting aggressive towards strangers, then start by standing far away from an unknown individual till your dog stops growling. When they stop, reward them with a treat and continue to reduce the distance little by little, giving them treats if they remain calm. Your dog will associate strangers with treats, and you will notice a visible change in their aggression.

Avoid Any Form of Punishment

Punishment is never a good option if you’re training your dog. Similar is the case when they act out. Punishing them for their aggressive behavior might just turn them more aggressive. Punishments, such as scolding and hitting, may result in the dog biting you or someone else without any warnings. For example, if your dog displays possession aggression and growls when you come near their special toy, and you respond by punishing your pup, the next time your friend comes near, it they might just bite without warning.

Hire a Trainer

If you feel like you can’t figure out the reason behind your dog’s aggression and can’t figure out a plan to improve their behavior, then it’s time to call in a professional. Aggressive dogs can potentially become very dangerous for you and the dog, so it’s best to contact an animal behaviorist. They can help you figure out what’s causing the aggression and will create a plan that will bring out the most effective results.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: