Just like humans, dogs can get scared — and when they do, they may defend themselves by acting out aggressively. If your dog is behaving this way, it’s your job to do what you can to help them get over that fear!
Here are some tips for overcoming aggressive dog behavior at home:
- Learn About the Breed
Some dog breeds are naturally more fearful than others. For example, the Chihuahua has a notorious reputation for acting aggressively out of fear. To understand your dog's fear, it can be helpful to educate yourself about the breed of the dog you have.
If you have a Chihuahua and research the breed, you would learn that they act aggressively because they are small-statured and more likely to be treated as prey by larger animals! Also, female Chihuahuas are more likely to act aggressively than males.
- Socialize Your Dog
Aggressive dog breeds do exist, but the primary personality of a dog comes from the environment it’s raised in and social interactions. A dog that doesn't have a lot of interaction with humans or other dogs is far more likely to be scared or aggressive.
If you adopt a puppy, socialization should be a big part of their training from an early age. If you bring home an older dog that has not been properly socialized, this aggressive dog behavior can be harder to correct but not impossible.
- Aggression Triggers and How To Avoid Them
Avoidance is something most pet parents deem as a last resort when it comes to dealing with a fearful and aggressive dog. However, it’s sometimes best to keep your dog away from certain environments or triggers that you know may lead them to aggressive dog behavior.
These are some ways to avoid aggressive dog behavior at home:
- Close the blinds so your dog can't see strangers approaching or passing your residence
- Avoid areas on walks where small children are playing
- Remind home visitors to not reach for the dog to try and pet them
- Keep your dog separate from other pets as much as possible
- Avoid behaviors that your dog may deem menacing, such as staring them in the eyes
Food aggression is quite common among all breeds — the remedy for this is to ensure your dog is fed separately from other pets and that they have their own bowl.
Canine fear and aggression are normal behaviors for some individual dogs, and you will likely love your pooch in spite of their tendency to lash out when afraid. If you're still having issues with a nervous dog after trying to help at home, enlist the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
Enjoy your day!
Lisa and Rich Jelinek