About animals

Dog aggression: causes and solutions


Many dogs behave aggressively while eating

Quite often, owners of adult dogs complain that they are faced with such an unpleasant phenomenon in their pets, like food aggression. The animal behaves obediently under any circumstances, but not during meals. When you get closer to the bowl during his meal, than it should be, you can hear a malicious growl, or even see a not-so-friendly grin. At the same time, in all other situations, the dog is calm, listens to commands, and its behavior is exemplary.

A similar problem is a good example of a demonstration of food aggression in an animal. This often happens, especially in large breed dogs. AND, how to overcome this problem, why it arises, how to deal with pet aggression in a pet - we’ll tell you all about it right now ...

How does food aggression manifest

The very name of the model of behavior “food aggression” already tells us about how the dog behaves and when. This is an aggressive manifestation of character while eating. At first it can be a grunt barking, later it can even be an attack and attack.

As a rule, for the first time, owners encounter such a phenomenon during the puberty of their pet. No, before the puppy could also growl while eating, but this was not taken seriously, and its size was not so awesome. Against the background of hormonal bursts in the body, even the most obedient dog during eating can become uncontrollable.
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Should a dog be allowed to show food aggression

The dog growls at first, and then bites

By allowing your pet to show aggressive behavior towards you as a master, you undermine your unconditional authority. The dog may doubt your strength, and try to behave aggressively already in other situations. Therefore, suppressing such behavior is mandatory.

Someone uses rather cruel, but working tricks for this: he presses the dog with his back to the ground, crushes and strangles until the animal stops resisting. However, such methods coolly break the psyche of both the owner and the pet. Therefore, it will be more correct to approach the solution of the problem in a more humane, but no less effective way.
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How to wean a dog to show food aggression

Your task is to achieve submissive behavior from the animal. In this case, you must be absolutely demanding. As a punishment during the use of training methods it is allowed to use a small shake for the scruff. By the way, it is a mistake to think that it is enough to teach obedience to an animal from childhood, and it will be submissive until old age. Zoopsychologists claim that

the older the dog becomes, the more often ... she tries to show disobedience, casting doubt on her master's authority. And if you lose in one of these sparring battles, your leadership will be staggering and it will be very difficult to regain lost ground.

Therefore, get ready for a daily lesson, at least an hour. It is better to raise a dog before the completion of puberty. Then you may need the help of a professional instructor.
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You need to draw the dog’s attention to food, give the command “Take” and allow it to feast on the offered food. Then the command “Fu” and “Sit” is given, the owner must pick up the food, the dog is in a sitting position. The food is placed away from the dog, and it is not allowed to approach it. The dog must learn that without a command she cannot eat.

At first it will be difficult to control the animal, restrain it. However, use only commands at this point.

Depending on the nature of the dog, breed and your persistence in training the dog with these skills, it may take from several weeks to several months. Do not despair if you do not succeed right away. The result will definitely be. You just need to be patient.

Teams can solve the problem

Only after you have achieved the obedience of the dog and she is ready for hours to wait for the team allowing her to come to the bowl with food, can we proceed to the 2nd stage. You need to put a bowl of food so that the dog sees it and then give the command “Take”. Let the dog eat. However, if at your approach she begins to growl - let us again command "Fu", "Sit" and remove the food.

At this point, the dog must learn that her aggression leads to the fact that food is taken.
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Start feeding your dog by hand, periodically giving the command "Fu" and "Sit". Encourage your pet for proper behavior, but for aggression ... remove food and leave their rooms until the dog cools down. Repetition of this exercise leads to the development of a reflex in the dog through which she understands that

aggression always leads to hunger, but its direct submission necessarily ends with a delicious treat.

Experts advise that not only the owner, but also other family members conduct such exercises with the dog. However, here the opinion of experienced dog handlers diverges. One thing is clear at the initial stage of the fight against food aggression, it is important that the dog has learned to perceive at least the owner. Then the circle of people can be gradually expanded ...

Dog food aggression videos

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Why the dog became aggressive. Reasons for aggression

The pet does not become aggressive in one day. There are always signs indicating aggressive dog inclinations. And the owner can aggravate these inclinations if he does not identify them in time and correct them.

Dogs lead to aggression:

  • Improper maintenance, upbringing and training,
  • Lack of communication with a person
  • Excessive rewards and / or punishments,

  • Breeding errors
  • The defenselessness of the dog from children,
  • Attacks of other aggressive animals.

Most forms of aggression are undesirable for a pet dog. However, some species are needed for training working dogs. Territorial aggression is used for guard dogs, protective - for the training of service animals.

The main types of aggression in dogs

The basis of the dog’s aggressive behavior is instinct. However, most types of aggression develop and progress during the life of the pet. Beatings, isolation, humiliation will not solve the problems associated with the behavior of the pet, but only increase them.

Next, we analyze the main types of aggression in a dog, their signs and methods of elimination.

Aggression domination

Aggression of dominance occurs most often in males, in females - less often, usually at an early age. Dogs perceive the human family as their pack. Therefore, it is important to determine the place of the dog in the house in relation to the rest of the family. The kid should immediately understand who is the boss in the house and whom he will obey. On the hierarchical ladder, the dog is obliged to take a place below all family members, especially for young children.

Also discuss your dog’s behavior in advance. Their observance should be monitored by all people living in the house. It is unacceptable for one member of the family to allow, and the other to forbid.

What to do with aggression domination

  • Use the same commands
  • Keep track of your dog’s instructions. The pet must execute the command the first time. All family members must participate in dog training,
  • Run the dog for a walk, do not let it pull on the leash,
  • Forbid the pet to take food from the table, lie in your place, jump on furniture,
  • Control the dog’s behavior during feeding,
  • In case of aggressive behavior, give the dog a command to “sit” or “lie down” and make it obey you,
  • Do not hit the pet and do not physically punish, because of this, aggression only intensifies.

How to remove game aggression from a dog

When playing with a dog, adhere to the following rules:

  • Win the pet, control the process of the game,
  • Pick up the toy after the game ends, do not leave it with the dog,
  • Teach your puppy to play calmly; do not let him play rude with family members in the game.

What to do with food aggression in a dog

Food aggression is closely related to domination aggression. It must be stopped immediately. To do this, feed the dog in a certain way:

  • Seat the pet and command "sit and wait"
  • Put a bowl of food
  • Command "fu, you can't"
  • After a while, command "can",
  • Stop feeding with the sit command
  • Take the bowl of food
  • Praise the dog and give a treat.

If the pet does not respond and behaves aggressively, drag it away from the bowl and remove it. Command the dog "place". Repeat the exercise until the aggressive behavior associated with food has stopped.

So that there are no problems with the behavior of the dog, never give her food from the table, do not encourage the dog to be a treat for no reason. The pet must earn it.

Rules of conduct with such a dog

From an early age, introduce the puppy to the outside world, take it with you. Be careful not to frighten him anything. Let him feel your support. If the puppy is afraid of people, ask your friends to come up to you for a walk and give the pet a treat. After two or three such activities, the pet’s fear of strangers will disappear.

Pain Aggression

By aggressive behavior, the pet shows that it was hurt. This type of aggression arises from the instinct of self-preservation. The animal not only bites the one who makes him too painful, but also can kill. Never beat the dog for disobedience, do not raise your voice, keep calm. Praise and give a treat when the pet calms down. Tell your children that you cannot offend and hurt a dog.

Intraspecific aggression towards other dogs. Causes

Aggression of a dog in relation to other dogs is a fairly common situation. It is associated with maintaining a hierarchy. Intraspecific aggression is divided into two categories: dog aggression towards unfamiliar dogs and dog aggression, which is directed against animals living in the same house with it. Aggressive pet behavior can occur constantly or in certain situations. Victims of aggression often become old and sick animals.

The reasons for the pet’s aggressive behavior towards unfamiliar dogs:

    Lack of intraspecific communication

The animal is aggressive towards other dogs due to the fact that it does not know how to communicate differently. Since childhood, such a pet did not learn to get acquainted, make friends, dominate or obey. The dog is not self-confident, therefore, tries to attack first.

Lack of physical and mental stress

An active dog, which is kept in a city apartment, often does not find use of its energy. On a walk, such a pet can redirect its temperament to other dogs.

A male, having seen a competitor, will show aggression, especially if there is a flowing bitch nearby.

Within one family, aggression between pets begins during the onset of social maturity (1.5-2 years). Dogs are aggressive towards each other due to food, goodies, toys, sleeper, attention of the owner. If no dog concedes or surrenders, conflict cannot be avoided.

In most cases, dog owners can cope with intraspecific aggression themselves:

  • Teach your puppy to other dogs from childhood.
  • Aggressive pet walk on the halter,
  • If aggression occurs, scold and punish the pet.

There is a training program with which you can adjust the behavior of an aggressive pet. The animal is trained to focus on its master in the presence of other dogs. Remember: the pet must know that you are a leader. Do not allow the dog to encroach on your power.

Maternal aggression

Pregnant and lactating bitches, as well as dogs with a false pregnancy, show maternal aggression. The pet barks, growls, grins, can even bite if you try to take her puppy or toy away.

Choose a secluded place for the dog, do not tease and do not take puppies from her. Take your mom-dog for a walk periodically, encourage a treat for good behavior.

Aggression in males

For males, aggression of sexual competition is characteristic, which manifests itself after puberty of the male. Dissatisfaction with natural needs increases the aggressiveness of the pet. When two adult males collide, serious fights happen with sad consequences.

We will tell you what to do if the dog shows aggression due to sexual hunting.

Test for the owner: whether the dog is aggressive

It is important for any owner to know: is aggression on the part of the pet the norm or does it go beyond the boundaries of the natural desire to preserve oneself?

Table 1. Comparison of the norm and pathology of aggression of dogs of natural origin.

Type of aggressionNormPathology
FoodThe dog is grinning at strangers when they try to get closer to it while eatingThe dog growls at the owner and family members as they approach it with food. Squirts and tries to bite when the owner tries to pick up a bowl of half-eaten food from her
MaternalThe dog growls at all members of the family (in the first week of life of puppies), when they try to take them in their absenceThe dog growls at any attempt to get closer to her bed with puppies, she is constantly on her guard and reacts with a growl to any rustle or sharp sound
DominantWhen trying to mate with a female, when a second male appears, the dog starts a fight with him, while he is completely subject to the owner’s commands and does not growl at himThe dog is extremely excited, growls and rushes even at the owner when he tries to stop the fight of males
Related to fearIn case of danger, the dog can grin and growl, but at the same time it slowly eliminates to the side, moving away from the source of anxietyThe dog’s hair is ruffled, it is extremely excited, rushes at any person who makes an attempt to approach it, even at the owner

Types of aggression and their manifestation in everyday life

The natural types of aggressive behavior in pets include all hostile manifestations associated with the process of survival and reproduction. To be more precise: with the use of food, with a guarantee of their own safety, the absence of physical violence against them, as well as with ranking for the right to possess a female. Consider each of the manifestations of aggression in more detail.

Food aggression

Naturally, this is so in nature, the dog will defend his piece of food, his right to “lunch”. This can manifest itself in the form of spontaneous aggressive behavior of a pet when approaching it at the time of eating.

Food aggression in dogs

This is not the norm, although evolutionarily embedded in the embryonic psyche of the described pets. Yes, the dog should take care of “its bone”, but if it attacks and is extremely tense during eating, then the problem should be sought in the owner's approach to it, in the methods of education.

The dog receives food from the hands of the owner, and unlike the wild individuals of the canine tribe, he does not get it on his own. This fact is firmly fixed in his mind, the owner is perceived as a source of security and a guarantee of food in the present and future.If he instinctively receives this feeling from the owner in full, then he has no reason to worry about his piece, and aggressive behavior in this case would be equated to atavism rather than normal.

The dog receives food from the owner’s hands, but does not get it on his own.

Consider the main errors in the upbringing of a pet, provoking root, instinctive aggression associated with the protection of food in it.

  1. Physical abuse of a pet. This fact is key - a dog must not be beaten, whipped, kicked. Even in order to educate and train. Physical damage instantly deprives the animal of a sense of security and safety, and after this base all other guarantees fall off: for food, reproduction. The dog ceases to perceive the owner as a guarantor of survival, even if he feeds it stably.
  2. During the game, the owner can take the bone from the dog and not return it. It is important to understand that the bone is not a toy in the perception of the pet, but real food. They took it once - they will take it away and another, aggression is born.
  3. Lures the dog from the master's table. "Good" family members who love their pet and strive to stick a piece of sausage or a whole sandwich under the table. However, this is not kindness, this is a direct harm to the mental structure of the animal. The dog does not need feeding, its instinct craves for timely feeding, consistent with its rank in the family (at the very bottom) and in its place. This gives rise to psychological comfort for the pet and a guarantee of food in the future.
  4. Having another pet that can constantly steal dog food from a bowl. It can be a second puppy, or a cat, or anyone else. It also provokes in the dog an internal desire to protect the food piece. Watch carefully that each animal has its own bowl and a strictly allotted time for eating.

Important! Food aggression is one of the most dangerous types of aggression for households, and especially for young children. If a primitive desire to protect food is not suppressed in a dog, then she will do it all the time and can attack anyone who comes close to her bowl. Most attacks on children in families with the described pets occur precisely for this reason.

In a dog it is necessary to suppress a primitive desire to protect food

You can wean a dog from food aggression at any age, it is only important to start observing all of the above rules - over time the dog’s anger will go away.

Sexual aggression

Another natural type of aggression is the competition of males for the right to continue their gene pool in the future. It also has deep instinctive roots and is based on the absolute influence of pheromones on the process of intraspecific interaction of animal individuals.

Fight between males for a female

A dog female during its readiness for breeding (“estrus”) emits a strong odor at the pheromone level, thereby attracting males to itself. It smells attractive to everyone. And each dog that fell into the range of its smell, perceives it at his own expense. She can face only one, or maybe two. Then, between males, a fight arises for the right to possess a female and to continue herself in the future.

Feature! The only battle between males of animals that can become fatal is the struggle for procreation. In other cases, males would rather prefer to avoid skirmishes in order to save their lives.

If your pet is in such a situation, try to isolate it as soon as possible, to prevent it from entering the battle. Limited sexual desire at first, reversibly, the dog will calm down. But if you give him a long time to "sniff" the pheromones of a bitch and engage in battle with a competitor, then the dog cannot be stopped. He can cripple in such an insane state even his beloved master.

A male dog who wants to fight can ignore the owner

But is this the norm for a domestic dog? Should a dog engage in battle for a bitch when caught in its smell? In domestic dogs, due to the fact that they receive food from the owner and are completely freed from the need to obtain food, all instincts are dulled. They are, because otherwise there would be no breeding among pets, but their owner can control them. Provided that he is the absolute guarantor of a sense of security for his animal.

The dog can cope with his attraction and obey the command of the owner

To understand the canine psychic nature, it is necessary to know the sequence of realization of instinctual urges in animals. Intraspecific instinct is “to save oneself now and in the future (through offspring)”. The desire for reproduction realizes itself only on the basis of a full guarantee of food and survival at the present moment, but provided that the animal obtains its own food. A ready-made food offering introduces it into a certain infantile state and blocks to a greater extent the desire for reproduction. A well-groomed, well-groomed domestic dog can cope with his attraction and obey the owner’s team, which is more important to him than his instincts (provided that he treats the pet correctly).

When the owner admits violence, humiliation against the dog, does not give him a sense of comfort and guarantee of survival, then he automatically ceases to be perceived by the dog as an authority. She is left alone with her instincts, that is, she provides for herself survival (even with stable feeding). Such a dog will undoubtedly break free from the owner’s hands and run after the female, or enter into a mortal battle with a competitor, regardless of the man’s commands.

What to do if dogs mate?

Dominant aggression

At the root of the intraspecific competition lies the ranking in the animal flock, in which the top of the hierarchy is alpha - the male with his female (or females). Any other male will naturally seek to compete with him and grow up the hierarchy in order to ultimately obtain the highest right to the female. Between males, this competition is realized by a fight: mainly in the struggle for a female, but it can also in other circumstances, for example, when fighting for a piece of food or a toy. Such competition practically does not occur between females, although in 10% of cases of struggle for hierarchy, there is a place to be.

Important! A domestic dog should not be ranked in a pack of their own kind. From puppyhood, she must perceive the human family as her pack and be ranked in it. The owner helps her in this, he determines her position relative to the rest of the family members and clearly observes him.

So, in order for the dog to fix in the psyche that it has already been arranged and that it has its own place in the pack, which is already defined for it (which means that there is no point in fighting for anything), the owner must observe the following rules regarding his pet.

The owner must always be a leader

  1. Clearly indicate her position in the family - after all, especially to emphasize that after the children (this will protect them completely). How to do it? Do not allow the dog to take anything from the table - only from the floor, do not allow to lie on the sofa and sleep with the owners - he should have his own bed, feed only after the family has fully eaten.
  2. Fix the dog that its position, although the lowest, but very comfortable. She should receive complete safety and security, here she should seriously talk with the children so that they, as their parents, do not offend her.

Territorial aggression

Territorial aggression is closely related to the struggle for the female and dominance. Only males are prone to territorial hostility, because they have the ability to mark their habitat. Most often, this is the yard (especially for dogs living in the territory of a private house as guards). Aggression is intensified if the territory is surrounded by fences and hedges. They serve as material evidence of ownership of a piece of land.

Aggression is intensified if the territory is surrounded by fences and hedges.

This type of aggression is positive, because it is aimed at protecting the home and its inhabitants from thieves and criminals (in the ancient flock - from predators). It is for this reason that our distant ancestors tamed dogs. In this case, the only need will be to train the dog to identify friends and strangers, in particular, immediately respond to the owner’s command: “his” and “alien”. If "your", immediately leave aggression.

Fear Aggression

This type of aggression can rightly be attributed to one of the most dangerous. It is associated with the desire of the dog to save his life and is stimulated only by the poor attitude of the owner to the pet. A normal dog should not be hostile, there is always a person next to it who will protect it, and it should not have the slightest reason to fear for itself.

Severe aggression associated with fear

There are several stages of exciting a pet with fear, among which the first is an absolute norm, so a pet should respond to any threat. And the other two are a sign of the owner’s cruel attitude towards the animal.

Attention! We do not take into account truly extreme cases when a dog needs to defend itself.

  1. Easy degree - the dog growls and eliminates, changing the type of activity.
  2. Medium - the dog growls and attacks the object of fear, bites it, keeps it in sight.
  3. Severe degree - the wool stood on end, a constant grin and an uncontrolled attack on everyone present near the dog.

The only way to deal with a severe stage of fear is to forcibly eliminate the dog and give it time to recover.

Aggression of the hunter and fighter

Such a manifestation is characteristic of hunting and fighting dog breeds that do not realize their potential in everyday life. If aggression against the background of the instinct of self-preservation can occur in any breed of dog, then predatory hostility only in the above breeds.

Fighters and hunters, in a desire to make up for the lack of their implementation, choose an object that is optimal in size and attack it. Such attacks are very dangerous, because the dog does not play and does not want to scare, it goes to fight and kill, that is, realize what it had to do on the hunt.

Aggression of fighting dogs

If you still got a dog of any of the above breeds, then arrange for it to be able to prove itself, even if in a simulated form.

Breeding aggression

Another type of aggression, which should be considered separately, is selective aggression. It is based on pathological combinations of the genotype that are formed by crossing different breeds of dogs. There are no specific data on the incompatibility of breeds, but cases of congenital aggressive behavior occur spontaneously and naturally. It follows from this that spontaneous mixing of the blood of dogs of different breeds should not be, it is better to contact the kennel.

Dog aggression is often a genetic defect


We see that with rare exceptions, aggression in dogs is quite natural and is due to the wrong approach to raising a pet in the owner. Pay more time to your dog, do not demonstrate your superiority, but at the same time, do not drop your authority, so that in any emergency you can influence your dog’s behavior and avoid a lot of problems with a powerful team.