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Basically there are five types of aggression exhibited by dogs - dominance aggression, fear-motivated agression, protective or territorial aggression, possessive aggression and redirected aggression. Owners seldom understand them, but there are reasons behind a dog’s aggression. A dog isn’t necessarily mentally ill or vicious.

Dominance Aggression - Dogs live in a pack order. Some dogs are alpha or dominant while others are more submissive or omega. They see our families as part of their pack, and they try to fit in by challenging the more submissive family members, often the children. If a dog feels you have challenged his alpha position, he will react aggressively.

Fear-Motivated Aggression - A dog on the defensive is fear motivated and usually omega. For example, a dog who has been hit may bite you if you raise your arm to throw a ball. His motivation is a fear of being hurt. Fear-motivated aggression exhibits itself in a submissive body language. They bite out of fear, and they will frequently come after their victims from the rear.

Protective or Territorial Aggression - Alpha dogs are usually dominant, protective or territorially aggressive because all of these three types involve defending territory or possessions. Many dogs are protective or territorially aggressive: They bark when the mailman, delivery men, other dogs, or anyone else who enters their territory poses a threat, real or imagined, to their pack.

Possessive Aggression - Protecting food and toys comes under this category. Usually possessive aggression results as the outcome of abuse or even past starvation. But it can result in combination with dominance aggression – protecting food from omega family dogs and small children to remain in the alpha position.

Redirected Aggression - The most common aggressive behavior of them all is redirected aggression which can affect any dog. Imagine two dogs held in by a fence watching a third dog who is urinating on their territory: These dogs get so frustrated because they are unable to attack the intruder that they attack each other.

Get Help For Your Dog

If your dog is displaying aggression issues, talk to a professional. Until your dog is reconditioned and desensitized take precautions. Use a cage like muzzle to take him out in public and keep him away from other people.

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