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Various  Types & Degrees of Aggression in various breeds of dogs

Different types of Aggression

 Sadly Aggression is one of the main reason dogs are put down by a vet or a rehoming centre. its estimated between 20/30% of all dogs in rescue centre's are there because its shown aggression towards its owner or someone else close to the dog. Several dogs have more than one of the following types of behaviour so every dog and every situation is different dont treat or expect two different breeds to act the same. 

It would be prudent before starting on any program of Aggressive Behaviour Treatment, to rule out any medical reasons for it's behaviour by taking them to a trained specialist we are highly trained and have worked with various breeds of aggressive dogs and treat each one differently so read on to see the different types of aggression and tips on how to spot problems before they escalate, there can also be many medical reasons why a dog may be showing aggressive tendencies, these range from ,poor skin conditions making it uncomfortable for them, injurys new or old,neglect,diabetes,ear infections,poor diet etc.

Here we will take you through a small part of the different types of aggression a dog can experience there are many causes if unsure allways seek expert advice from a vet or a trained specialist.

Fear sometimes known as Nervous Aggression:

 Fear or nervous aggression takes many forms and relates to many things sometimes this behaviour stems directly from the pup’s mother  if she is nervous its a good chance this trait will be passed on to her offspring especially the more time the pups stay with their mother the more likely to inherit more of her traits just like our children copy us or do the things we do, Breeders that breed from fearful and timid bitches will often make excuses as to why you cannot see the puppys mother (Dam) so its allways a good idea to see the puppys mother when you visit, If you do view a litter of puppies and the mother is fearful then be wary of buying a puppy from this litter unless something else stands out exceptional markings or you just fall in love with this one pup, or you think the mother is only acting defencesively and shying away as not to attact attention and wants to be left alone then sometimes a second visit is allways a good idea a reputable breeder won't have a problem with this.

Quite often the pups will inherit some of the mother’s traits & habits through both genes and interaction with others, genetically the pups may inherit her timidness and the more time spent with their  mother may inherit more of her fearfull traits but a good dog owner can replace this type of behaviour with gentle coaxing and patience as  positive reinforcement is key to changing any unwanted behaviour.

The first 10/12 weeks are critical in a pups development so even a well rounded non fearfull pup if put with another fearfull bitch can indeed inherit these fearfull traits ,like us they can and will pick up bad habits ,If  a dog cant show another dog submissiveness and cant back away if you are taking it for a walk on a lead for instance this can be another reason for showing this type of Nervous Behaviour as it cant express what it wants or needs to express  to the other dog, so treat every situation on its own and try to learn from your dogs body language its there you just need to know what to look out for and hopefully over the rest of the page you may gain an insight into the different types of aggression dogs can display.

This is why between 6/18 weeks pups should learn to socialise with other dogs and various different breeds fromsmall to large dogs this will help in it's development and in the long run make it a more confident happy socialised dog.

How can you tell if it is fear?

Dogs that are like this are like this whether they are approached by a dog or a bitch and if the owner is nervous this in turn will make the dog nervous to the point it will cower down or the opposite stand and growl this is easy to spot as the owner tenses up pulling on the dogs lead and making the dog fearfull of the approching dog as they half expect the two dogs to act aggressively nervous dog owners can also give off an odour of adrenaline that the dog instantly detects remember dogs are used to detect narcotics,dead bodies,bombs etc so they sense & smell things we can't.

A confident dog owner can difuse the situation and in turn makes their own dog feel at ease don't be afraid to use a stern voice and direct your dog to your commands this will show if its inherint in the dog or if its the dog owner passing on their own fear so swap around with another dog owner if your not confident and both of you go for a walk in the park and try a few things out.

Fear / Nervous Aggression (Inter-human)

Again pups that are'nt socialised with us humans from as little  as 2/3 weeks old  can show this behaviour towards us so if possible make sure the breeder handles the pups often or why not go and spend a bit of time with the pups if the breeder allows.

Nervous and fear aggression is nearly always defensive  sometimes it is related to the sex of the person If the dog breeder was male and few females visited or handled the puppies then the timidness and fear may be worse with women. This particular problem like interdog hostility, will show  itself  with individuals rather than crowds. You will find that the puppy or dog will be barking a lot but will also be behind something its tail may be down and the hair on its neck may be up although it may seem overly aggressive this dogs posture will be on its back feet & not on its front which is a defensive posture all the dog wants is for you to back off  and is not  necessarily trying to bite or attack you so patience is key here to establish trust don't have too big of crowds at first and be consistent in your approach and never approach to quickly remember it will be done in their time and not yours, dog's that are nervous can also be very unpredictable to the untrained Dog Handler.

Frustration in Dogs:

Dogs that are confined or chained or tied up show this behaviour and everytime someone or something approachs the dog it will either growl or the complete opposite jump up to show it wants out so responsible dog owners this is an easy one to spot and resolve,

Don't leave your dog chained or locked up for long periods make sure if they are kept inside you play & interact with them now is a perfect time to practice those commands London Dog Trainers have shown you after all would you like to be cooped up most of the day no you would'nt. 

Sexual Aggression:

Mostly male dogs as they maybe coming into sexual maturity or not having any interaction with other dogs also several studies now show castration does not to help but only goes to help in the roaming of a dog studies are ongoing into this. 

Neutering, and the age at which a dog is neutered, may affect the animal’s risk for developing certain cancers and joint diseases, according to a new study of golden retrievers by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The study, which examined the health records of 759 golden retrievers, found a surprising doubling of hip dysplasia among male dogs neutered before one year of age. This and other results were published Feb. 13 in the online scientific journal

“The study results indicate that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their male or female dogs neutered,” said lead investigator Benjamin Hart, a distinguished professor emeritus in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“It is important to remember, however, that because different dog breeds have different vulnerabilities to various diseases, the effects of early and late neutering also may vary from breed to breed,” he said.

While results of the new study are revealing, Hart said the relationship between neutering and disease-risk remains a complex issue. For example, the increased incidence of joint diseases among early-neutered dogs is likely a combination of the effect of neutering on the young dog’s growth plates as well as the increase in weight on the joints that is commonly seen in neutered dogs.

Dog owners in the United States are overwhelmingly choosing to neuter their dogs, in large part to prevent pet overpopulation or avoid unwanted behaviors. In the U.S., surgical neutering — known as spaying in females — is usually done when the dog is less than one year old.

In Europe, however, neutering is generally avoided by owners and trainers and not promoted by animal health authorities, Hart said.

During the past decade, some studies have indicated that neutering can have several adverse health effects for certain dog breeds. Those studies examined individual diseases using data drawn from one breed or pooled from several breeds.

Against that backdrop, Hart and colleagues launched their study, using a single hospital database. The study was designed to examine the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in the same breed, distinguishing between males and females and between early or late neutering and non-neutering. 

The researchers chose to focus on the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe and is vulnerable to various cancers and joint disorders. The breed also is favored for work as a service dog.

The research team reviewed the records of female and male golden retrievers, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years, that had been examined at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders and three cancers: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were classified as intact (not neutered), neutered early (before 12 months age), or neutered late (at or after 12 months age).

Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes the male dog’s testes and the female’s ovaries, interrupting production of certain hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates, and regulation of the estrous cycle in female dogs.

The study revealed that, for all five diseases analyzed, the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered either early or late compared with intact (non-neutered) dogs.

Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Late neutering was associated with the subsequent occurrence of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females.

In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The new study, however, was the first to specifically report an increased risk of late neutering for mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma.

Furthermore, the new study showed a surprising 100 percent increase, or doubling, of the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males. Earlier studies had reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all non-neutered dogs, indicating the importance of the new study in making gender and age-of-neutering comparisons.

Territorial Aggression:

This can be the dog taking control of its space like the house, garden or even the car some dogs act this way even towards strangers or other dogs even in a public place this certainly shows this type of behaviour certain breeds like rotweillers, german shepherds, dobermanns like to show they are protecting its owner and its space but don't praise this type of behaviour if they show territorial aggression in a public or neutral place as you are then showing them it's ok when it's not.

Misdirected Aggression:

This is interesting and can be also frustrating for the dog owner, dogs fight and square up to each other for many different reasons and spotting the warning signs can be difficult for the inexperienced dog owner, and getting in the middle of a pair of aggressive dogs fighting can be scary and can often lead to one or more of the dog owners being bitten this can be misconceived as a dog attack i dont believe this is the case as even in human nature when the red mist comes over us its difficult to distinguish friend from foe, prevention and learning how your dog will react and spotting potential trouble in various situations is key here.

Dominant Aggression (Please also read below)

This type of aggression is commonly seen in the park when you take your dog for a walk and their are other dogs around and if they are off the lead either one of the dogs may try to exert dominance over the other by circeling the other dog,hair standing up on its neck if the other dog submits all is usualy fine and the dominace is established if not the next thing is fighting or a lot of barking & noise,also you must try and control this type of dominance behaviour as it can lead the dog to try and exert its dominance over you this is not acceptable and a good behaviourist can help you in controling this type of behaviour.

Look at the pic above a classic example of a dog exerting its dominance over another dog notice how submissive the other dog lying down is.

The new Dominace theory

We have left in the information above to show the new theories now been researched and studied and contrary to what people previously thought new research of wolves in their natural environment show that wolves are not dominated by an Alpha Wolf that is the most aggressive male,or female pair of the pack but have found wolf packs are similar to how we human families are structured and organised and that there is little aggression or fights for said Dominance.

Wolves be them the parents or the cubs depend on each others survival and wolves that display aggressive behaviours towards one another would in fact hinder the packs ability to grow and thrive and the  pack would suffer.

Social hierarchies do exist they are not connected to aggression in the way previously thought  now new research from the likes of L David Mech said lets once and for all dispel the myth the outmoded view of the wolf pack as an aggressive assortment of wolves constantly competing with the pack to take the pack over, and this new understanding of the wolf behaviour in conjunction with canine behaviour has found that dogs while having similar traits to their wolf  cousins have just as many significant differences thus the idea of dog behaviour can be explained through comparing them to the wolfs behaviour has no relevance and many trainers still unfortunately believe  dogs are basically domesticated wolves but as a professional trainer you need to keep an open mind and decide on the information and the research as new studies into both wolf and canine are on going but personally I like to listen to fact based research and studies as its something that interests me greatly but who knows what further studies will show.

I am not going to push any theories upon anyone this is why I have left both articles I have written  do your research listen to the trainers that keep their training and studys current as it can only benefit both you and your dog. 

Dominance is not a personality trait its a descriptive term for relationships between pairs of individuals and "moreover,the use of the expression 'dominant dog' is meaningless,since "dominance" can only apply to a relationship between individuals.(Bradshaw et al,2009 Dominance comes into play in a relationship between members of the same species when one want to have first choice of resources like a bone, bed toys etc and even then its not achieved through force  but by one or the other deferring and many trainers confuse what they are seeing dogs that are displaying this type of behaviours are in fact displaying anxiety based behaviour and it will only get worse if they are shouted or physically punished so basing your interactions with your dog based on the dominance  theory can be harmful to your relationship and can quickly lead to further problems. 

Predatory aggression:

This type of aggression can be in the dogs genes for instance a gun dog will want to please its master and chase down that bird or a collie dog chasing sheep,but on the other hand i have a german shepherd and a macaw parrot that love each other they sometimes fight but my dog would never try to bite the bird as ive spent a lot of time interacting with them together but allways keep a close watch as accidents do happen so here i feel dog owners can some what teach their dog to chase or be curious, as when a dog sees something that moves quickly it wants to chase after it like a greyhound for instance,now running after a car or a sheep isnt accepted so you must learn to distinguish natural behaviour from unnatural behaviour so having a loud horn inside the car to sound at the dog as its about to chase can be effective especialy in younger dogs in training,as for chasing sheep some dogs are breed for this like the collie and instintively know not to harm the sheep other breeds just want to chase for the fun so slow interaction may be whats needed in this instance say if you have a bull mastiff etc you would not want a dog like this chasing livestock or even children etc ,do not under any circumstances use force like shock collars as this is unacceptable and a cruel treatment and does not work allways use positive reinforcement and this is true in any animal not just dogs.

Remember treat dogs with the love & respect they deserve and you have a friend for life all they want is to be looked after and in turn they will look after you, after all  there are dogs who can warn their owners of impending epileptic seisures can we humans do this not even with all the technology in the world we can't , dogs are truly amazing creatures and should be treated as such.

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Assesments done for clients dogs that have been seized under the DDA 1991.
We work under instruction by either the magistrates courts or the solicitors of the client whose dog has been seized.
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