In the face of an aggressive dog, it is not always easy to know how to behave. When you encounter an unknown dog, vigilance is essential and it is important to identify signs of aggression in order to defuse conflict or move away from the dog without effect. When it comes to his animal, it is necessary to anticipate risks and prevent some situations that are likely to cause aggression, but also to establish new healthy habits that will help the dog find trust and a more balanced relationship with his master. Let’s take a look at this case.
Aggression in dogs: how to understand this phenomenon?
Whether it’s your dog or a dog you meet on a walk, it’s not always easy to understand an animal’s aggression. However, behavioral scientists have been able to identify several forms of canine aggression that may explain its source.
- Competitiveness : The dog can be aggressive in the context of accessing resources. It can be access to his food, but also to his bed, his space, his toys, or even his master’s gifts.
- the pain An injured or injured dog can be aggressive. It is generally a means of defense intended to repel those who try to approach it.
- irritability : The dog can show aggression when provoked or pushed to the limit, voluntarily or without it. It could be a master who insists on being petted when the animal doesn’t want him to, or even kids trying to play with the dog until they annoy him.
- the fear : A dog who is afraid can be aggressive. This type of aggression is often difficult to control, because it is generally sudden and unexpected (after a sudden noise, fireworks, thunderstorm, etc.). An abandoned dog, left to his own devices, can be aggressive towards those who cross his path, because he feels lonely and weak, a fear he cannot control.
- predation : Hounds are the most anxious, but they are not the only ones. These dogs can be aggressive when chasing animal prey or even a toy or moving object.
- mother protection : A female dog who has just given birth to her puppies is generally very protective of her, to the point that she is sometimes aggressive towards those who come close to her.
- regional : Guard dogs, which possess a strong defense and guarding instinct, can be aggressive towards any intruder who enters their territory.
Preventing Your Dog’s Aggression: How Do You Do It?
For a master, it can be baffling to have to deal with the aggression of his animal. In any case, it is possible to adopt certain habits that can help prevent aggressive behavior in a dog.
Understand the animal and learn to communicate with it
Dogs do not seek conflict. On the contrary, they prefer to avoid it. Thus, when a certain tension begins, they tend to send clear signals in order to calm the situation. In fact, the animal can begin to bark, growl, raise its lips as if it wants to smile, quickly and repeatedly lick its nose, or, conversely, yawn, trying to escape, withdraw, etc.
It is important, before adopting a dog, to understand these dog-specific cues in order to better interpret them when the time comes. As a master, if your pet starts to back off when you insist on being petted, it is up to you to conclude that your dog needs peace and respect, or else he may show aggression that you eventually got the message.
However, it should be noted that while canine language is universal, not all dogs learn to speak it innately. It is therefore important to ensure that the animal socializes with adult dogs from an early age, especially if it is weaned early or separated relatively early from its mother and siblings. Throughout your animal’s life, it is recommended that you allow him to have regular contact with other dogs that behave well through activities in particular (agility, etc.). Thus the animal takes the example of its peers and incorporates good behavior more easily.
Double the positive experiences
For a puppy, it is important to allow him to have many positive experiences from an early age with several different species. In fact, for the first three to twelve weeks of his life, the little dog has formed the foundations of his personality. If he experiences many positive situations, he will be able to better accept changes and new events throughout his life.
Explain the situation to the children
It is essential that you teach your children, from an early age, to respect the dog. Young children are naturally drawn to these “big stuffed animals”, but children can be a major source of stress for an animal, to the point of pushing them in spite of themselves to show aggression towards them.
Even the cutest dogs can suddenly become aggressive If a small child begins to scream or cry to the point of fear, if he pulls his tail, hair or ears to play, if he is disturbed while he is sleeping or eating. In short, never leave your children alone with your dog, because accidents can always happen and teach them as soon as possible to respect the animal.
Likewise, teach your children Do not approach a stray dog or an animal that it does not know. Young children, especially when they already have a stuffed animal at home, are not suspicious, but any animal, even on a leash, can show a sudden and aggressive reaction to those who meet them.
How do you behave when your dog is aggressive?
If it is your animal that is showing aggression, you will need to adopt the correct behavior to prevent the situation from happening again.
calm the conflict
If you recognize the signs of aggression in your dog, try to communicate your desire to avoid conflict. To do this, talk to him in a soft voice, yawn, turn your head, close your eyes, etc.
Anticipate difficult situations
You know your pet, so it is up to you to avoid situations that tend to promote aggressive behavior in your dog. Avoid exposure to or encountering events or people who are likely to provoke this type of reaction.
Restore balance to your relationship
It is best to rebalance your relationship with your animal. You may have allowed bad habits to form or you may not have been diligent enough in raising your dog, but you can always make things better.
Here are some tips to bring the balance back into the situation.
- Always meet your dog’s basic needs. You should give him high-quality food in sufficient quantities every day, make time for daily play, stimulate him physically and intellectually, and take him out every day for at least 30 minutes for a real outing (not just a walk in the park).
- Regularly teach him new commands or tricks by applying positive parenting, based on benevolence, consistency, firmness, and encouragement. Through this, you will be able to strengthen your relationship and your complicity, but also your obedience to Him.
- Be the initiative of the contacts. It’s up to you to decide when to pet, when to go out, when to play, but also when to end it in order to reinforce your dominant role. If your dog asks you, ignore it (turn your back on it, don’t look at it, don’t talk to it or touch it). Wait for him to give up and move on to start connecting and fulfilling his need.
- Your dog must learn to go where he is, in his bed, at your request. Likewise, don’t let him occupy your place without inviting him (couch, bed, etc.).
- Your dog should wait for your permission before eating and not have a self-serve bowl. You must distribute his share to him in one or two meals a day.
This framework is necessary for the animal. Structuring, reassures him and allows him to feel protected by his master.
How do you behave in front of an aggressive dog unknown?
If you come across an aggressive dog, its behavior may vary depending on your situation:
- If you are alone, in pairs or in a group, because an aggressive dog easily attacks one person and is tense;
- if you have a small child with you, because he may try to get close to the animal or, conversely, run away, which provokes the dog’s hunting instinct;
- If you have another dog with you, because the aggressive animal tends to establish itself as dominant.
Be careful, however, it must be remembered that a stray or lonely dog is not necessarily an aggressive animal. Some dogs get lost or curious, which is why it is important to be vigilant, but without giving in to panic.
But then, how do you behave in front of an aggressive dog? Here are our tips.
Don’t provoke him
If the animal is lonely, do not try to provoke it by playing the role of the dominant. Always keep a distance between you. If he is in the company of his master, do not try to touch him, because he can have an aggressive reaction.
Also, if you are venturing into a private land or road, the animal can be trained to stand guard.
Watch his attitude for signs of aggression
A dominant dog will usually stand upright with ears erect and stare at you. Thus, he appears to be self-confident. If he is aggressive, he will try to scare you by growling, baring his teeth, barking, etc.
A frightened or stressed animal would rather prostrate, and the ears would drop. He can be aggressive in self-defense, including intimidating you by growling and then trying to bite you to scare you. However, a more violent reaction is also possible.
adopt the correct behavior
Here are our tips for avoiding conflict.
Do not provoke the dog! Do not be aggressive, do not play the role of the dominant, do not show him that you are afraid, do not show him your teeth (for to him, you show him your fangs as a sign of provocation), do not stare at him and do not look at him neither in the eyes.
- Avoid sudden movements, and keep your arms at the length of your body.
- Don’t turn your back on the dog.
- Don’t shout, and don’t try to talk to him in a soft voice.
- Avoid showing your fear and keep calm.
- Get away from the dog and back away quietly.
Protect yourself when needed
If your dog attacks you, try to protect yourself with anything you have or find around you. The dog is sensitive to its eyes, muzzle or neck, but the thing should be above everything to prevent the dog from biting you.
If you fall to the ground, do it as a ball to protect your face, neck, and neck.