If the dog growled or snapped at you, you need to find out the cause of his aggressive behavior. Read here what you need to watch out for.
If a dog reacts aggressively, there can be many reasons. It is now up to the dog owner to find out why the dog growled or snapped. Once you have identified the reason, you can respond to your dog in order to avoid future conflicts. We’ll show you how to deal with your dog’s aggressive behavior.
Possible triggers of aggression
Dogs, even well-socialized, can exhibit aggressive behavior when they
- want to defend their food or another resource like toys
- are underwhelmed or frustrated
- be in pain
- be scared
Think about whether your dog snapped or growled in a situation where any of these points could have been true. Here’s how to find the cause of his aggressive behavior.
Do not increase aggression further
How human reacts to their aggressive dog determines how the relationship develops. Don’t scold or punish your dog! He can’t link his behavior and the punishment and doesn’t understand why you are angry with him. In addition, the basic problem still remains unsolved.
If you are startled away from him, he may consider it a success and continue to react aggressively. If you try to comfort your dog, he may misunderstand. He doesn’t understand that you want to ease his fears or comfort him in his bad mood. Your dog may even think you’re praising him for his aggressive behavior.
Respond appropriately to dog aggression
After your dog has snapped, you should calmly walk away and ignore the dog for the time being. This is especially important for your own protection.
Depending on the cause, you must now address your dog. If the dog is in pain, he must go to the vet as soon as possible. If the dog is under-challenged, you should ensure that it is better utilized.
If he wants to defend a resource like food or something else, he should learn that this aggressive behavior will not succeed. Power struggles have no place here! The best way to solve such problems is with a competent dog trainer.
Acting correctly in case of frequent aggression
If the behavior occurs more often in everyday life, you should train him to put on a muzzle for your own protection. This way you can safely approach him in situations where he might bite and show him that you are ignoring his behavior. Remain completely neutral in your body language and do not threaten him.
With a dog that is showing aggressive behavior out of fear, you need to try to gain their trust and reassurance. Don’t rush him and give him time. It is best for him to contact you himself. With the professional support of a dog trainer or psychologist, you can be sure to make progress soon.