Causes of Your Dog’s Aggression

You’ve recently adopted Chaz, a handsome dog you found through a regional animal rescue group. While Chaz is generally very loving and affectionate, you’ve noticed that he occasionally becomes aggressive when he feels cornered or otherwise threatened. Since Chaz is part of your family for the long term, you want your Shawnee veterinarian to address Chaz’s aggressive tendencies through some behavioral counseling.


Aggression Displays

You’ve seen your share of canine aggression displays, and all of these dogs have read the same playbook. Aggressive dogs generally stand in one spot like they’re frozen to the ground, and their heads and tails are at full attention. Also, the dogs typically stare right at you without a hint of friendliness. Of course, this posture doesn’t keep the aggressive dog from snarling, growling, and snapping in your general direction.


Breed-Related Aggression

Dogs bred to be protective seem to have aggression in their genes. Think Akitas, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers, for example. You might not expect a cute little wire fox terrier or Cairn terrier to behave aggressively, but these feisty pooches were originally bred to take down small game. Female dogs in heat or nursing puppies, and non-neutered male dogs, can also be aggressive.


Poor Socialization

Perhaps Chaz’s aggressive behavior began during puppyhood. From about 3 weeks to 14 weeks of age, a puppy really needs some well-structured socialization from his owner or breeder. When he becomes 14 weeks old, he becomes an agitated adolescent who barks at strangers and begins to display more protective behaviors. If he’s not well socialized by then, you might not be able to completely trust him around other dogs or people in the future.


Past Mistreatment

If Chaz was harshly handled, or even physically abused, he might have developed aggressive behaviors as a response to this negative treatment. Chaz’s previous living conditions might have also contributed to his aggression. Maybe another aggressive dog attacked him, or perhaps Chaz didn’t get much human interaction. Finally, he wouldn’t be the first dog who became aggressive after being taunted and teased by children.


Your Shawnee vet will learn as much about Chaz as possible, and then will develop a strategy to replace Chaz’s aggressive displays with more appropriate behaviors. You believe Chaz is worth the effort, and you’ll support your new canine family member every step of the way.

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