All articles are written by Kathy Rambo
Dog Aggression.........Fear or Dominance?
First and foremost you must understand that a dog is a pack animal. Now that you have brought this dog into your family, you are now his pack. What this means is you must become the Alpha (leader) in the dogs mind to hopefully stop or at the least work with an aggression problem. Fear Aggression can be mistakenly taken as a dog protecting his territory or owner. Which in fact he is reacting to any given situation out fear. More often then not the main contributing factor to this behavior is lack of socialization as a puppy. So never think that by not socializing your puppy will make him a better watchdog/protector. All this might create is a dog that is fearful of strangers and new situations because he has not been taught how to handle both. Even the well socialized puppy can come across a situation that can create the fear aggression behavior. Such as having a bad experience with another dog. Again, even a well socialized puppy that is attacked by another dog can develop what is called being Dog Aggressive. The dog now reacts aggressively out of fear towards other dogs purely as a defense mechanism. Here is where you......the Alpha plays a very important part. It is your responsibility to reassure your dog, as he will look to you for confidence. Dominance Aggression is when the dog views himself as ALPHA. A contributing factor in this case maybe unintentionally brought on by the owner. We are all guilty to some point of spoiling our dogs, but it MUST never be to the point allowing the dog to become the Alpha. Simply stated do not let your dog tell you what it is he wants you to do. Such as, moving out of your chair because he wants up in it, do not except his objecting to you being in the room or near where he is eating or chewing on that favorite rawhide, as well as to any type of grooming (bathing, brushing etc). To coexist, your dog must view you as the Leader which is accomplished not by being heavy handed, but rather by proper training and socialization. When all is said and done you must be the Leader in your dogs mind, once that is accomplished this......you will have his respect.