Aggression in Dogs

Written by Ojie Okosun on . Posted in Health

This is an answer to the Quiz we published on aggression in dogs. Thanks for all your comments and contributions. This is a MUST read. Aggressive dogs are no good. If you like aggressive dogs, then you have to re-think again. Aggression is evil and anything that is evil is bad.

Aggressive dog attacks, whether against people or other dogs, can be one of the worst problems of dog ownership. Dog aggression is a common behavior and comes from the fact that the dog has a traceable history to the wild and its normal instinct is to compete, right from the time it is born. It has to compete for food (even from the very early days when it is a suckling), it has to compete for status and respect.

When the dog joins a human family, he still thinks of it as the wild and will try to establish his position. He loves hierarchy defined. Who is the boss here? If the dog is allowed, or even encouraged to believe that he is the boss, then you have Trouble!

In most cases, this is the fault of the owner, especially if the dog is acquired as a puppy. A puppy can’t dominate its owner or the household, it is only if dangerous and aggressive behavior is tolerated or even encouraged during adolescence that you end up with aggression in the adult dog. You do not have to pamper and spoil your dog to earn his love and respect. Your dog must respect You, Trust you and Love you naturally– in that order!

An aggressive dog most times is never a good breeding dog. Genetically he/she MUST be discouraged from breeding as this aggression can be passed down to its progeny (generation). A good temperament is preferred in breeding and not aggression.

There are a few reasons for Dog Aggression:

TIMIDITY, FEAR or ANXIETY: It is most important to understand that there are several different reasons for dog aggression. It can be difficult to determine what the real reason is. One of the most misunderstood is aggression due to fear, timidity or anxiety. The dog is not looking for trouble; he feels he is defending himself against some perceived threat or danger. This is common with most timid dogs. They tend to be very over-conscious of their environment. Such dogs will need a lot of attention. Find whoever he loves most in the house and this will be his first teacher. He need to be thought games, walked and socialized more with people and other canines.

TERRITORIAL AGGRESSION: The dog may be exhibiting territorial aggression. This is more common in certain breeds, which have been bred as guard dogs or herding dogs over centuries and have a strong genetic instinct to protect their territory and their family. This can be easily controlled. He may just be doing his job but over-reacting and displaying aggression. The owner needs to socialize him more by taking him out for regular walks, introducing him to visitors when they come and he will be fine and will feel respected.

ABUSE: Mistreatment or abuse by previous owners may be a factor in the case of an adult dog, adopted from a Rescue Center or bought from another kennel as an adult. Such dogs need a careful balance of kindness and discipline. The new owner must be ready to take out time to show this dog love. The remedy for this kind of aggression is LOVE. Just like humans when abused, they need time, love and trust to be themselves again. This is also the case with dogs. So don’t blame them.

ILL-HEALTH: Where a normally placid dog suddenly becomes aggressive, this may be due to a painful medical condition or ailment and the dog is nervous of increased pain if handled or upset. Veterinary advice is essential if pain or illness is suspected as the cause of the unusual, aggressive behavior. Most times, dogs do not like injections, they may display aggression at this point. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. He may out-grow this. If not, gently show him that the vet is trying to help. You can give him a treat before and after the treatment.

FOOD: Remember in the wild the dominant male and female get first servings and the rest of the wild compete for whatever is left. It is ingrained in the dog’s nature that he has to be protective of his food and show a certain amount of aggression, otherwise he will starve.

Even in the normal domestic situation, food is important to your dog. Mealtimes are one of the highlights of his day. This is a double-edged situation. It is your ideal opportunity to show your dog who the Boss is. He can’t use a gas or stove, he can’t operate the microwave and he can’t draw a bowl of water to his kennel. He is totally dependent on you for his food (and all other needs). This is funny but true. This is a simple way to show him that you are in charge.
At mealtimes, insist that he sits or lies down a few feet away. If he won’t do it, put the food away and leave him. It won’t take long for him to get the message – the food comes along, only when he sits and waits for it. Ideally, this routine should be practiced when the dog is a puppy, so it will be normal behavior when he grows up. If your dog is already adult and aggressive, then there is all the more reason to implement this method of gaining control.

Overly Aggressive Dog Breeds:
The subject of the most aggressive dog breeds causes much controversy and vociferous debate. Owners of Rottweilers, Doberman, Pit Bull terriers, Neapolitan Mastiffs and German Shepherd dogs etc, spring to the defense of their pets, stressing how loving, reliable and trustworthy they are. When properly trained, socialized and integrated with family, friends and other dogs, this is usually true. However, these breeds have been bred and used for many years with the express purpose of guarding and protecting property, family and livestock. This strong protective instinct is in their genes and is thus more likely to result in aggressive behavior if not properly socialized.

These breeds suffer from two further disadvantages with regard to their reputation for aggression towards people and other dogs. Because of the jobs they were originally bred for, they are large, strong and athletic dogs, so when attacks do occur, the damage they inflict is serious. The public perception being what it is, people frequently give the wrong signals to these breeds, with their body language exhibiting signs of fear and submissiveness.

It is important to note that dogs that display dog to dog aggressive behavior, do not necessarily show aggressive behavior towards humans. The two types of aggression are not necessarily related, and do not always occur in the same animal.

In the picture below, you will see what damage aggression in dogs can cause. This was not a poacher but a relative of the dog´s owner. Before now, his owner bragged about his dog´s aggression and temperament until after this incident.

You don’t want to learn the hard way, ensure your dogs are properly socialized, shown love and not just left in kennel all day.

At REVOLUTION KENNEL our dogs are family. They are socialized, engaged in games and all get ample exercise and we will NEVER encourage aggression in dogs.

If you need our professional advice or second opinion about a situation with your dog, feel free to discuss it with us. We will be glad to tell you as much as we know from our experience with canines.

Hope you enjoyed this article.

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Ojie Okosun

Ojie Okosun

We hope you like our dogs, please you are free to make a post below or to inquire about any of our dogs. Thank you

Comments (2)

  • Adeboye Awofisayo



    I agree with you that one does not need an overtly aggressive dog at home. But we need to strike a balance here especially here in Nigeria where security is a huge challenge. I keep dogs for the reason of my love for them as well as their functionality to alert, deterr, guard and protect – they don’t receive bribes(sic).
    My dogs in my home are companions to my family as well as a shout out that intruders who want to be fool hardy should think twice.
    There is no point having two Rottweillers in a house and some low life jerks scale the wall and picks the lock of your car in your compund and vandalise your ride!
    Haba when they are not lap dogs.
    However, no matter the functionality of the breed I agree it must be well behaved, intelligent and on top of his game.


    • Ojie Okosun

      Ojie Okosun


      Hello Adeboye,

      I agree with you. We preach super temperament in dogs and not aggression. They are two different character. I am sure you and I are on the same page in this topic. Thanks for leaving us your comment.


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