What in the world is going on? Your once sweet, cuddly, innocent little dog has turned into an aggressive, growling, biting, teeth showing monster and you have no idea what to do about it. It seems to have come out of nowhere, but it’s causing disruption in the household and you know you have to do something about it.
Before you reprimand your dog or decide to give him away, perhaps you should find out what’s causing the sudden mean streak. Aggression isn’t always a form of anger for your dog, it could be a cry for help or fear. If you’ve noticed signs of dog aggression finding out the source is the first step to solving the problem.
A dog in pain doesn’t know how to respond other than to be aggressive. There are a lot of dog illnesses and diseases that are associated with pain including rabies, thyroid disease, arthritis and cancer. If your dog starts growling when you approach them or biting when you try and touch them, this could mean they’re not well and need to see a vet.
It doesn’t matter how macho your dog may appear, they too have fears. A nervous dog, for instance, who feels he is in danger as a stranger approaches may feel the only way to find relief is to defend himself. This might also happen if you raise a hand or object and your dog believes it is going to be used against them. Your dog could start biting, growing, and even excessively barking to try to break free of what they’re afraid of.
Dogs are territorial by nature, but can take possession to a whole new extreme if they feel threatened. If your dog starts barking, biting, or lunging when you touch his food or favorite toy, they suffer from possession aggression. Another behavior might include your dog growling or barking as a stranger enters the home.
They’re the Boss (Or So They Think)
Your dog may be acting mean or aggressive as a way to show his dominance. A dog who believes they are in control or dominant will try to “flex their muscles” any way they can if they feel someone is trying to challenge their position. This most frequently happens with other dogs, but can also happen with people (especially men).
Dogs who are tied outside or caged in for a better part of the day tend to show a lot more aggression than those that have more freedom. They become frustrated by their confinement and inability to do as they please so they bark, growl, and even bite as their frustration gets worse.
There’s a lot that goes on in the mind of a dog, that unfortunately, you can’t understand as an owner. Aggression is just one of the ways your dog tries to cope with overwhelming emotions or circumstances. The moment your dog’s temperament starts to change it is ideal that you get to the root of the problem. Start with a trip to the vet to rule out illness or disease, and then look for solutions to getting your pup back to its warm, fuzzy, loving, self.