Canine Aggression: Triggers and Warning Signs

Comprehensive knowledge of canine behaviors means understanding that aggression is rarely spontaneous or unpredictable. Clear cues usually precede aggression, with sick dogs being the only real exception. Learning to read triggers and warnings is key.

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about the triggers and warning signs of canine aggression, a reputable dog bite lawyer can provide wise counsel. Such an attorney will have seen or heard about virtually every scenario related to canine aggression. They’ll also let you know what legal options you could pursue if you’re ever bitten by a dog.

The Nature of Canine Aggression: Understanding Predatory Instincts

All dogs are descendants of wolves. Wolves are apex predators that run in packs and hunt to eat. So these instincts are the fuel that drives all dogs’ behaviors. At their core, they feel survival depends on social harmony, execution of duties, and controlling resources. For them, aggression is a necessary tool used to ensure success. 

Canine Aggression: Knowing the Triggers 

A dog must be triggered before they act aggressively. Several things can trigger a dog. Triggers include: 

  • Something they see as prey
  • Something they register as a threat 
  • They feel unsafe or scared
  • They think that a resource is in danger

Dogs only perceive a person or animal as prey under certain circumstances. Predatory aggression is often preceded by a moment of curiosity. Here a dog waits to see if what they suspect will be confirmed. If the dog sees what it believes is confirmation of its suspicions, it’ll begin to act. The following things trigger predatory instincts in dogs:

  • Erratic Behavior
  • Eye Contact
  • Fleeing Behavior
  • Lack of Assertiveness
  • High-Pitched Sounds
  • Running or Quick Movements
  • Small Size

Canine Aggression: Knowing the Warning Signs 

Several warning signs typically telegraph aggression in dogs. They use their bodies and vocalization to signal their feelings and intent. Close attention must be paid to their body language, vocalizations, and posture. Warning signs include:

  • Body cues
    • Raised hackles
    • Pinned-back ears 
    • Stiffening of the body 
    • Showing teeth
  • Vocal cues
    • Constant barking 
    • Growling
  • Posture cues
    • Raised tail
    • Leaning forward
    • Direct eye contact

Canine Aggression: Knowing Management and Prevention Techniques

Dog training is the first and most important step in managing aggression in dogs. With proper training, aggression in domestic dogs shouldn’t be a problem. Managing aggression is achieved by preventative action. Training objectives that help to prevent aggression are:

  • Socializing dogs with humans at an early age
  • Ensuring dogs aren’t bombarded with stressful and overstimulated environments
  • Making sure dogs are taught boundaries around personal space and food

Positive and negative reinforcement techniques are standard training methodologies. Positive reinforcement is a process that increases the probability of a given response by introducing a stimulus after the behavior is performed. Negative reinforcement increases the likelihood of a given response by withholding an unpleasant consequence.

If you or a loved one was injured because of an aggressive canine, you could be entitled to damages and should speak with an attorney. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.