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Understanding aggression in dogs

While it may be true that dogs are man’s best friend, aggressive dogs can pose a threat to people under certain circumstances. Understanding aggression in canines is essential in this case, as it will allow you identify a possible issue and take steps to avoid being injured. WebMD offers the following facts about dog aggression and what you can do about it.

Signs of Aggression

There are a number of behaviors to look for if you suspect a dog is behaving aggressively. For instance, a dog may growl, bear its teeth, or take up a rigid stance (which typically means back away). Canines can also charge a person but not actually make contact, as well as muzzle punch without the use of their teeth. In many cases, attacks follow a certain order of events leading up to a bite. At this point the dog may latch on and be reluctant to let go, or even begin shaking the victim.

Different Types of Aggression

Dogs engage in aggressive behavior for many different reasons. Some may be protecting their territory while others might believe that one of their “pack” (which can be humans or fellow animals) are under attack. Dogs can also act possessively of their food and toys, which will result in lashing out if a person or other animal gets too close to these items.

Dogs sometimes act out due to fear. If a canine’s first impulse is to flee the scene but they are prevented from doing so, aggression might soon follow. While the dog is afraid in this situation, it may still attempt to act (which usually entails small nips and then a retreat). People are cautioned not to turn their backs on a fearful dog or they risk an attack from behind. Instead, slowly back away with your hands in neutral position until you’re clear of the threat.

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