Aggression and Bites From Dogs

Written by Ojie Okosun on . Posted in Health

DOG-BITERead we also welcome your comments on this topic. We wrote on this topic (aggression) in dogs months back and posted a picture of a man bitten on his face by a dog remember? Now we want to discuss types/reasons of aggression, reasons for BITES known to us (Revolution Kennel):

Dominance Aggression
In cases of dogs who bite due to dominance aggression, members of the dog’s human family are most often the victims. Innocently attempting to pull your dog out of his kennel to clean when he is not willing to come out. Step over a dog who’s resting inconveniently in the doorway and the dog erupts in a “you’d better not do that again” vocal warning, followed by a bite. In this case, the dog understands you don’t care much about him, so it might be a chance for him to show some dominance.

This is the reason why we stress that you need to have a relationship with your dog from the beginning. You need to understand a lot about his mood. Dogs are just like humans, he may be tired, sick or even bothered.
In each situation, the dog believes that he is in charge, that his humans have not earned the status to tell him what to do. Dominance aggression is most commonly – but not exclusively seen in males and in confident breed types, such as Rottweiler’s, Doberman, chow chows, Lhasa apsos and their likes.

Protection of Valuables
The protectiveness some people seek when acquiring a dog can prove to be a liability. Some dogs believe the only way to protect their valuables is through an act of aggression. A dog’s list of valuables may include even his food, toys, territory (a house or a car) or even their human family members. Dogs have been known to “protect” one family member from another, driving crying children away from their mothers or chasing amorous husbands out of bedrooms. This could be funny. Imagine a dog indirectly saying you can sleep in your room tonight.
Dogs can be jealous and can sense who is his friend within the family, so more often he will support the one he gets love from over the other (just like humans). It’s always better to ensure your family members show if possible, equal amount of love and care to him.
The protection of territory is most often seen in males of guarding/herding breeds, such as German shepherds and Rottweiler’s. Again, early training and/or lifelong management are the only solutions.

Fear Aggression
The fear aggression response is most often directed toward strangers. Veterinarians learn early in their careers: when in doubt, muzzle. Like people, dogs are naturally fearful of unfamiliar and potentially threatening situations. A dog raised in a quiet adult household will be distraught by noisy, fast-moving youngsters. The dog may bark and lunge to drive them away and deliver a stinging nip to children who do not heed the warning.
There is no particular breed or gender predilection for fear aggression, but these biters commonly lack early socialization to a wide variety of people and experiences. Dogs must be socialized early enough. They need to understand humans interact and have friends. TIMIDY is also a factor. “With a dedicated owner and a responsive dog, fear aggression can be greatly improved.”

Maternal Aggression
The first two to three weeks after a female dog gives birth; her puppies rely on her for all they need to survive: warmth, nutrition, stimulation to prompt elimination and protection. Even the most outgoing, well-trained dog may show signs of maternal aggression if she feels her newborns are at risk. No training is indicated here, rather an awareness of the new mother’s innate need for a safe space. By limiting visitors to the whelping box to one to two adult family members during those first couple of weeks, the new mother will stay relaxed and focused on the job at hand. There will be plenty of time for socialization once the pups’ eyes are open and they are toddling about under their own steam.

Redirected Aggression
An attempt to break up a dog fight is the most common scenario for this category of biting. Two canine opponents are barking, posturing and biting at each other when all of a sudden hands reach in and grab at collars, tails and hind legs. The adrenaline-pumped dogs blindly whip around and land oral blows to body parts of the interrupters. At this stage he may not be conscious to know it is you.
Fights are best broken up by loud noises or strong blasts of water when available. However, sometimes that is not enough. If you must lay hands on fighting dogs, stay as far away from the mouth as possible and move swiftly and decisively.

Pain-induced Aggression
While pain-sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas are common perpetrators, any dog may bite if hurting, depending on the degree of pain. An otherwise gentle dog will bite a beloved owner’s hand trying to soothe, bandage or examine wounds. Like us, each dog has a unique pain threshold and tolerance. A dog who hates injection might bite when he is injected. Likewise a dog with hip dysplasia may turn on a handler pressing down on his hips to enforce the sit command.
Of course, any dog can be provoked to bite by overly zealous physical disciplining. Some breeders and dog owners will kick their dogs and even throw things at them in correction or to enforce discipline. This is unkind and barbaric.

Pestered Beyond Limits
There are dog biting incidents that don’t fit into the aforementioned categories. This is very common.” Bites in this category are often prompted by children (or adults) who simply don’t understand that even a dog has limits. Hug a sleeping dog, blow puffs of air in his face, put a rubber banded knee-sox on his nose to turn him into an “elephant dog, by dragging his ears” ride him like a horse. Sooner or later, the dog will say “NO!” the only way he knows how will be through a bite.


There are three keys to bite prevention: learn to understand canine behavior, take the time to socialize and train all dogs – the younger the better – and teach children to respect all dogs, starting from when they are puppies. With this accomplished, there is no telling how low bite statistics can go.

If you are approached by a menacing dog:

  • Do not attempt to run if the dog is already close to you. If you, he will catch with you and bring you down

  • Stay quiet, and remember to breathe

  • Be still, with arms at sides or folded over chest with hands in fists

  • Avoid eye contact with the dog

Hope we have been able to help you understand your dog more. Dog bites can be severe as you can see it this picture. Aggression is bad in any form and must be discouraged. A dog with a super temperament is way better than an overly-aggressive dog. We would love to get your contributions, comments and questions to this topic. Also let your friends read this.

Revolution Kennel

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.