What causes aggression in dogs?
Here are some of the most common reasons that dogs develop aggressive behaviors and habits:
It’s very common for dogs to develop phobias of elements in their environment such as loud sounds, water, children, or men. They can also develop anxieties surrounding certain activities or situations like going to the vet or being left alone.
Sometimes, canine phobias and anxieties stem from traumatic experiences (see below). Other times, anxieties can emerge without a particular cause. When dogs experience fear due to anxiety or phobias, they may react aggressively.
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When dogs are exposed to damaging experiences such as abuse, shock, neglect, or frequent changes in ownership, they may develop aggressive tendencies as a way to cope with the trauma. While a traumatic experience doesn’t necessarily mean a dog will become aggressive, those who don’t receive support and training to deal with trauma are more likely to form negative patterns.
Breeding, genetic disorders, and chronic illness can all play a role in a dog’s overall disposition, and whether they will have tendencies towards aggression. While training and environmental factors will always play a role in how dogs behave, these biological factors do make some dogs more prone to lashing out.
Injuries can also aggravate dogs. A sudden change in behavior might be explained by a hurt paw or dental issue.
Training & welfare issues
Dogs who are unsocialized, housed in unfit conditions, or confined to small spaces may react with aggression.
Canine aggression can also occur for other reasons, such as possessiveness over objects or people, predatory behaviors, or competition for mating. Animal healthcare experts are in the best position to observe and diagnose the causes of aggressive behavior.