Why is My Dog Aggressive

Dog Aggression is the #1 reason why most dog owners in Boston contact us. It is also the biggest reason why thousands and thousands of owners put their dog’s to sleep every year. There are a lot of different reasons why a dog might be aggressive but to save time I will go over the 3 most common reasons I’ve come across in the Boston Area.

1) Bad Experience with a dog

A dog that has been attacked, overly dominated or even severely scared by another dog can have life-lasting and changing effects on the dogs psyche. This dog rarely views dogs the same way he/she did before this HORRIBLE experience.

Too often owners allow their dogs to approach or interact with any dog on the street or dog park. Almost every day, as I’m walking down the street with a dog, we’re approached by a dog on a retractable leash with their owner 15ft behind them. ‘She’s friendly’ they always say. Even though I have 100% control over the dogs I handle, how does that owner know my dog is friendly? It’s this type of irresponsible dog handling that cause thousands of cases of dog aggression every year.

This is also a reason why dog parks are very dangerous and cause countless cases of dog aggression. I have seen many many fights at the dog park. Being pack animals, dogs immediately try to determine a pecking order with a new dog. I was at a dog park in Cambridge, near MIT when I saw a horrific fight ending with one dog being rushed to the emergency room. Very simply, a Pit bull was in the park when a Husky came running in. The Husky and Pit Bull ran straight up to each other, paused for a one second then began to fight. It ended with the Pit Bull latching on to the Husky’s leg and finally letting go after 10 minutes. I’ve seen many many dangerous fights start this way. Be careful here!
There are much better and safer ways to socialize and exercise your dog.

2) Pack Drive

From the moment a pup is brought into the world the pup is programmed and born with very powerful and instinctual genes. The most powerful genes in a dog is their pack drive. This greatly effects their behavior.

New and even more experienced dog owners do not understand how strong their pets pack drive really is and how great the impact on a dog is when a dog is able to choose his/her own rank. Owners/pack leaders are the ones to determine ‘their’ dogs position in the pack.

For example, in most cases I’ve come across it’s not uncommon for a dog to listen to one owner but not the other. In the dogs mind, they think they should be higher in rank then the person he/she blatantly ignores, disobeys and ultimately disrespects. If a dog is showing aggression to another dog this is a direct disrespect to the handle.

3) Prey Drive

Prey drive is another strong gene programmed in a dog and is also another reason for numerous counts of dog aggression. Prey drive is a dogs instinct to chase down and kill animals that run away quickly from the dog. This is how wolves survive. These dogs are simply out of control and more then likely haven’t gone through the appropriate obedience training. Obedience with a very strong ‘distraction phase’ is a good start to getting a hold on the issue.

Aggressive and dominant behaviors in dogs never simply work themselves out. That is the type of mentality that most people find themselves with aggressive dogs. These issues must be dealt with quickly and urgently before the worst can happen.

For more information on dealing with aggression look at our ‘off-leash’ or ‘aggression’ program.