Causes of dog aggression
There are many reasons that dogs may be aggressive including:
Some dogs may be aggressive because of negative experiences in the past. Often these traumatising events have occurred during puppyhood and the dog reacts with aggression.
Pain and illness
Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, neurological problems, brain tumours and seizures can all be responsible for aggressive behaviour in dogs. These are impossible to diagnose at home, so must be ruled out at your vet clinic prior to any behavioural therapy taking place.
When resources are in short supply, demand increases. Dogs tend to value resources that they need to survive. Resources such as food, shelter and companionship are very valuable commodities and some dogs may try to guard them.
A common cause of injury in canine aggression situations is redirected aggression, where the object of the dog’s aggression is not the intended recipient. Aggression is often redirected towards owners when a dog fight is interrupted.
Solutions for canine aggression
Understand the cause of your dog's aggression to find a solution.
Keep all people and animals, that your dog comes into contact with, safe. Using a collar and a lead may be the simplest solution to dog bite prevention.
Never to offer a challenge to a potentially aggressive dog. A challenge can be something as simple as making eye contact. Crossing the street and/or turning and walking in the opposite direction may also help with dogs that are dog aggressive.
Anti-aggression devices such as a muzzle will not solve an aggression problem but they will prevent a dog bite happening so may be useful in the short term.
It is wise to have a vet check on a dog that has become aggressive. There are many medical conditions that can cause this behaviour and these should be discussed with your vet.
Treatment for canine aggression includes de-sensitising your dog to the object of their aggression. This is not without danger so must be done with extreme care. Training and leadership by the owner is also extremely important.
Solutions for aggressive dogs are given in Dr Jo's ebook Dog Aggression Problems Solved.