Unfortunately for some dogs, something has happened to have traumatized them into becoming very fearful at times. The dog will have such a high level of anxiety that he will become aggressive. The source of the fear is usually something traumatic that happened to them in the past, such as severe neglect or some kind of abuse. On other occasions some dogs have what seems to be an irrational fear of things such as very loud noises-perhaps the loud sounds of a thunderstorm or gunshots sets them off.
You can easily recognize the body language of a dog with fear aggression issues. It is very likely that you have seen this type of aggression before-it is not a pretty picture. Obvious signs shown by a dog suffering from fear aggression include a slinking and cringing body posture, that is quite distinct from a merely submissive type of body language. A dog with fear aggression will tuck his tail between his legs and up against his belly but also have his teeth displayed in a nasty snarl, while he moans whines and growls. It is easy to see the poor dog is feeling tormented.
If you see a dog in the state of fear aggression, don’t make the attempt to comfort the dog by petting it. This is because dogs that are suffering from fear aggression are sometimes likely to lash out and bite-at either the cause of the fear or possibly something or someone else near the dog. When a dog’s aggression is turned on something different than the original stimulus for the fear it is called redirected aggression-be sure you are not a victim of this by staying away from a dog with fear aggression problems.
You will need to diagnose the reason behind your dog’s fear aggression before you know the right approach to correcting it. How did the dog originally become so traumatized? If you have had the dog since it was a puppy you probably know what happened to traumatize your dog-whether another person or dog abused it or if it has always been terrified by lightning. If your puppy arrived to you after growing up somewhere else, he could have already been traumatized by abuse from a human or another dog. You can figure out the cause of his fear by paying attention to when it first begins-note whether it is triggered by another dog or person or a loud noise. If your dog becomes aggressive with fear when seeing a certain person or a more aggressive dog or hears a car backfire prior to becoming afraid you will know what is behind the fear issue. It is pretty easy to diagnose many cases of fear aggression (especially if it is due to something obvious like gunfire or fireworks exploding). But there are other times when the reasons that caused the fear aggression are not so obvious and may seem downright irrational.
If you find you cannot figure out the original cause of your dog’s fear aggression, there are professional veterinarian behaviorists who are expert at diagnosing what is troubling your dog. If you are going to be able to successfully correct your dog’s fears and resulting aggression problems, it is first necessary to root out the cause of that fear.
After establishing the reason for your dog’s fear, you can correct the problem through a gradual program of desensitizing your dog to the cause of his fear. For a dog that is frightened when around other dogs, you can start his training by exposing your dog to other, friendly dogs in frequent short sessions until he finds he can relax around other dogs without being attacked. It is smart to have a leash on your dog to prevent him lunging at the other dog or from running off. If your dog is known to lunge when fearful, you may want to also use a muzzle to prevent him accidentally biting you during the training.
Remember to use only positive methods when training your fearful dog. If you hit him or yell at him you are just reinforcing his fearful condition. You must be patient and understanding of your dog’s condition in order to properly correct it. Aggression caused by so much fear is a serious problem and it can only be corrected through a lot of time and effort from you. Of course, the effort is well worth it, if you can help your dog become well adjusted and happy pet.
I hope this article helps you understand your dog’s fear aggression, and given you a good way to correct his problem.
If you would like to read more about dog aggression problem solving, or for other free advice on dog training please visit: www.BehaveDoggy.com.
Please click here to read my full review of the best on line dog training program.