Ways to Handle an Aggressive Dog

aggressive dog

Do you own a dog that was once a cute lovely puppy, but now is an uncontrollable beast that always growls or snaps at your guests? You had never set out for an aggressive dog, hadn’t you?

In almost all cases, dogs give signals of their aggressive behavior over time, which are often overlooked by the owner. After all, he is protecting your home, and it’s a good thing. But dog aggression doesn't ensure the safety of your family because there are now tons of ways intruders use to get through dogs - no matter how aggressive they may be.

A dog with bad temperament is not actually bad! But he needs your help to reform such behavior and set him on the right path. Being the owner, if you don't pay much attention to him, there can be serious consequences such as medical bills, injury to you or your loved ones, infection from dog bites, and lawsuits.

Signs of dog aggression – biting, growling, snapping and lunging

Coming to the point, how to handle an aggressive dog? When helping your pet with his temperament problem, make sure you keep realistic expectations. Not all aggressive dogs can be completely cured.

Understand the Real Cause of Dog’s Aggression

Never make assumptions about why your dog behaves violently. To address his hostile behavior rightly, you must know the true cause of the problem. The most common causes of dog aggression are:


There are many dangerous dog breeds, such as American Staffordshire Terrier and American PitBull Terrier that have bred to fight. However, there can be genetic issues with some dogs that make them aggressive to strangers.


Male dogs have a greater tendency to bite than female dogs. Also, mother dogs with pups are very protective to their babies and quickly snap on noticing perceived threats.


If a dog feels threatened, mistreated, frustrated, or afraid, they show anger to defend themselves against anyone who approaches them.


Dog growl at others when they are hurt as they don't want to be hurt more.

Resource Guardian

Some dogs bite or growl when somebody touches their food or favorite toys.

Other causes of dog aggression include – lack of exercise, no calm-assertive leadership, and predatory.

Know exactly what drives this behavior in your dog; otherwise, you may end up accidentally creating more problems than you had previously.

Work With Your Veterinarian

If your dog shows sudden signs of aggression, talk to your veterinarian. If the problem is sex-related, you can resolve it by having your dog neutered or spayed. If he’s is tempered out of illness, pain or injury, only your vet can handle it.

The veterinarian helps identify the right cause of this behavior and suggest the treatment or medication that’ll make improvements in your dog’s behavior.

Talk To A Professional

All dogs have early signs of aggressive behavior. Take action at the first sign; otherwise, the problem may develop to be severe.

Seek assistance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Because dog aggression is a major problem, owners should never attempt to fix it on their own.

Professional dog trainers and behaviorists create a plan to manage your dog’s behavior. Their experience with handling many similar cases can help you put your dog on the right path.

Use the Right Tools

In case, your dog behaves over aggressively; you can use non-punishment equipment such as head halter. These tools give you a better control of your pet in the beginning. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian or trainer to get suggestions on tools. The dog can also benefit from style wraps, coats, prescription medications and holistic supplements.

Obedience Behavior Training

Obedience behavior training lays down the foundation of working with an aggressive dog. This training imparts the lessons on how to communicate with your pet and how to make your dog more obedient. This training can be immensely helpful when your dog is in aggressive mode.

Though obedience training doesn’t cure aggression, a dog who gives good eye contact, follows all your commands, and walks nicely does well when modifying his aggressive behavior.


Under-socialized dogs are often timid, frustrated and easily turn aggressive. It’s because they don’t know how to react to new people, other animals and in new situations.

This is why dog socialization is a must! Ideally, you should start socializing your dog when he’s still a puppy. A dog trainer can also help!

Take your dog to dog classes, parks, stores and every place that you think is good for your pet’s supervised interaction and socialization.

Good socialization makes your dog comfortable and familiar with strange people and animals as well as new places and situations.

Other Considerations

Keep the things positive and consistent. Never punish your dog as it can escalate the problem such as biting without warning.

Whether or not your lifestyle allows, take your dog for a walk and exercise him daily.

The worst case scenario is that your aggressive dog bites and causes personal injury to somebody. In these cases, you should immediately approach your physician.

This is a guest post by Nellie Heaton, an experienced writer who's also a dog lover. She has majored in law and a certified personal injury attorney in West Covina. She's been inspiring many of her readers to adopt a pet through her articles since 2007.


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