“What’s going on with my dog?” There are several different types of dog aggression. The most common types are: dominant aggression, fear/defensive aggression, learned aggression, and territorial aggression.
First, I will explain each type of aggression, and then tell you the magic secret to fixing your dog’s problem.
Dominance aggression: The dominant aggressive dog is generally a sane, sound dog… and will usually only bite if you, or someone else who threatens him, attempts to place him into what he perceives as a submissive position. He may also bite if you do something to him which threatens his position as the pack leader…. something we behaviorists call the “Alpha Dog.”
Fear/Defensive aggression: The fear aggressive (or defensive aggressive) dog is the type of character who bites because he is shy, insecure, or (like the name suggests) is fearful of the world and situations he cannot understand. Learned Aggression: The dog who displays symptoms of learned aggression is the smart, manipulative dog who has “learned” that displaying certain behaviors will get him the results he is looking for…. which is usually to get everyone excited! In many cases, this dog will mimic the behavior of other dogs, simply because “they were doing it!” For example… younger dogs will often learn to bark at the approach of strangers during a Sunday walk, if there is an older dog who displays aggression too, even if the older dog’s aggression is motivated by something else… such as fear, or territoriality.
Territorial aggression: Territorial aggression is when your dog becomes extremely hostile, eats chain link fence, jumps up and down, yells, screams, and otherwise creates a ruckus when someone approaches what he perceives as his territory. For starters, regardless of the TYPE of aggression your dog may be DISPLAYING, there are really only one of two possible reasons WHY he is acting this way:
Reason #1: Your dog does not see you as his pack leader. If he did, you’d tell him to sit down and be quiet… and he’d respect your wishes, immediately! He would also respond to you, bond to you, and really WANT to please you in all other aspects of his life, too!
Reason #2: You and your dog are speaking two different languages. What do I mean by this? Well, for example, many people try and pet their dog when their dog shows aggression. Owners often think that this “petting” will reassure the dog and give him confidence. In reality, the dog thinks that the owner is telling him, “Good dog! Yes, that’s very good… be more aggressive,” thus inadvertently reinforcing the unwanted behavior.