When talking about temperamental dogs, we often assume straight away that we are talking about aggressive behavior in dogs, but it goes deeper than that. There are various types of aggressive behavior, some more extreme than others, but there is almost always a reason behind the aggressive behavior. Having said that, it is highly unlikely that a dog is automatically aggressive for no reason, so here in this article today we will be looking at the various types of aggression, the causes, and what we can do about it.
An aggressive temperament can be a cause for concern, not only because of a possible injury to another dog, a person, or child, but also because this can come with an expensive lawsuit for the owner. However, there are some dogs that are trained to be aggressive, like guard dogs, military dogs and police dogs, but we are talking about the average pet, a family dog that has an aggressive temperament. Therefore, in order to understand better the temperament of a dog, we have to look at each dog individually and assess what makes him this way, because there are different levels and reasons why a dog is aggressive.
Some Causes Of An Aggressive Temperament
1. The Breed
There are some breeds of dog that have a naturally aggressive nature, this is due to the fact that they were originally bred to fight, like Pitbulls, although many owners of these dogs will disagree, it’s just that these types of dog have a more likely hood of becoming aggressive by nature. In some dog breeds there is a genetic sequence that can make them aggressive toward strangers, or even other animals, although with positive training from an early age this may not even show.
2. Guarding Resources
Guarding resources can be particularly unpleasant in a family pet, especially if there are children in the home, and a good example of resource guarding is when a dog won’t let anyone touch a favorite toy. That being said, another example of resource guarding is at meal times, he may growl, bark, or even try to bite if you go near his food bowl, but this can be avoided if positive training is started at an early age. As a puppy if you make a point of picking up his food bowl or favorite toy, but reward him with a special treat when he doesn’t act aggressively toward this action, eventually he will be ok for you or anyone to touch his bowl or toy.
This one may sound a bit strange, but in fact male dogs seem to be more aggressive than females overall, and are more likely to bite than females. Having said that, dogs that are intact are more likely to act aggressively than those that have been neutered, although a mother will be extremely protective of her babies, especially newborns. Trying to pick up very young pups may trigger the mother to become aggressive and bite, if she feels there is a threat.
Other types of aggression in dogs may be when they are in pain, or they may be fearful, this can be clear in a dog that is in a lot of pain, they may growl or even bite, because they do not want to be hurt anymore. Frightened dogs may start to bark and bare their teeth, because they are defending themselves against something they do not know or recognize. Now that we know the many different types of aggression and some of the reasons behind this behavior, we need to know what to do when it comes to a temperamental dog.
The best thing one can do as a pet owner is to start training as early as possible, but be sure to use positive training, rewarding good behavior with treats or a favorite toy. Moreover, enroll them in a training school early on, so they can socialize with other dogs to see that they are not something to be afraid of, or if you don’t have a training school close by, take them for walks where there are other dogs. However, if you have a dog that is aggressive and is older, be sure to get a professional to help curb the unwanted behavior, aggressive temperament needs to be dealt with quickly, but don’t try this alone or you could end up injured.