Does your dog sometimes act like Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde? Does your dog seem moody at times? In some cases this could point to your dog displaying dominance related aggression.
Dogs are pack animals, and even with domestication there is no denying their natural instincts. In a pack of animals there is a hierarchy, or a canine social order. Often times this hierarchy is established by use of aggression displays. Dominance related aggression can be linked back to this natural canine social order. Dogs view their human family as part of their pack, and thus a hierarchy exists in the dogs mind. While most dogs will act subordinate to humans, some dogs perceive themselves as having a higher rank. This can lead to conflicts with the human pack.
Dominate aggressive dogs can be very friendly, until they feel challenged. While not understanding canine behavior humans who have dominate aggressive dogs can unwittingly challenge their dog. This leads to people believing that an attack is unprovoked. Some examples of situations that may provoke a dominance aggressive dog are:
– Assuming a dominant posture over your dog.
– Approaching or touching a dog while they are eating.
– Touching or pushing a dog that is sleeping (especially in their favorite bed).
– Taking an object away from the dog.
In these cases the dog may become aggressive by growling, snapping or biting. Physical punishment often makes situations worse, and can even exacerbate the aggressive episode.
Contact a behavioral trainer to assist in diagnosing this form of aggression.