Certain breeds of canines are both popular and preferred for their territorial and protective nature and in some cases, this is why a dog may not only show aggression but actually attack- even unprovoked. There are generally signs that indicate there is a danger and it is critical to respond to that immediately and effectively. Dogs may attack out of fear, protection, even dominance. Just like their human counterparts, your dog may just not be having a good day at all.
As a pet owner, there are many things that you can do to ease aggression in your dog. The first step in knowing the risks of danger is knowing the history of your dog. Ask questions; get information about your pets parents, what type of environment it came from, what if any Vet care the pet has had and copies of records including tests and shots given. If you are adopting an animal, do not hesitate in asking questions about any abuse or maltreatment the dog may have experienced. Animals that are adopted through legitimate animal facilities go through extensive testing, observation, and evaluation before ever being considered as adoptable.
An agitated dog displays physical warnings in any number of ways. Baring of teeth, growling, spitting, nipping, biting, physical stance, the laying back of their ears, and tucking in of their tail are all indicative that the dog is asserting itself. Never yell at an aggressive dog. The dog may respond with even greater aggression. Do not frighten the dog any further then it already may be by screaming, hollering, or hitting the animal.
At the time you notice tension arising in your dog is the time to intervene. Start by firmly saying “no.” Gain physical control of the dog unless it is posing a serious physical threat. Show the animal that you are in control- the master. If your dog has a collar or leash, hold it firmly and talk to your dog while removing him from the situation. Since dogs are pack animals and often think of their owners as part of that pack, separation for a short period of time will allow the dog time to cool down- give it a time out. Dogs need consequences too, and since they do not like to be alone, placing the dog in another room to be alone for a time will not hurt the dog but may help.
Don’t delay a response to your dog exhibiting aggression. If time passes and you respond at a later time the dog will be confused as to why he is being punished. It is also important that you do not give your dog-mixed messages by allowing it to play more aggressively at times and then getting angry with it other times for the same behavior. Save treats and rewards for good behavior, never reward an animal after he has calmed down from an aggressive state they may see it as a way to gain rewards in the future.
There are things pet owners can do to prevent their pet from exhibiting aggressive behavior right from the very beginning. Socializing your dog in pet parks, introducing them to other animals, dog obedience training classes, and walking your dog regularly can help ease some of that built up all day tension. Pet stores offer an array of products that not only aid in training your dog that are far more inventive then leashes and muzzles, however do not exclude these as options for very aggressive dogs. Consult your Veterinarian if your once calm dog starts exhibiting behaviors that are concerning, it may indicate a medical problem. It is always wise to place “Beware of Dog” signs in prominent locations on your property for safety measures.