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Since the beginning of time, dogs have earned the reputation of being “man’s best friend.”  But as you probably already know, these furry friends can also have serious behavioral issues, with aggression being the most common problem. Although there are several categories of dog aggression, most dogs have more than just one kind of aggression. Here are five basic types of dog aggression, along with a few tips for preventing dog bites. 

Fear Aggression

Fear aggression, which usually involves a dog without confidence, is the most common type. When a dog is fearful, it can suddenly develop either a fight or flight mindset. Both of these behaviors can lead to aggressiveness. This type of aggression can be difficult to detect. However, some obvious “red lights” are a dog growling and/or showing its teeth. A more inconspicuous sign is a dog’s posture, such as having the tail tucked between the back legs. Another clue is a dog’s rump staying low to the ground.

Control-Related Aggression

Control-related aggression, which was formerly known as dominance aggression, is the most complicated kind of aggression. By nature, dogs tend to be control freaks, especially when an owner doesn’t assume a leadership role. Unfortunately, even when owners do take the lead, these dogs can still be stubborn. Some of the signs of control-related or dominant aggression include a dog barging through a door or blocking the paths of humans or other dogs. If a dog stops eating when it’s approached, this behavior can also suggest control-related aggression.

Protective Aggressive

Protective aggression in dogs involves a dog protecting someone or something, such as an owner, children, food, a bone or even other dogs. Furthermore, this form of aggressive is a typical pack behavior. Protective aggressive can occur unexpectedly. A warning sign is a dog barking at a car, fence, window or other object when people or other dogs pass by.

Predatory Aggression

Another type of aggression in dogs is known as predatory or chase aggression. The trigger for this aggression is movement. Besides chasing other animals, such as cats, squirrels and other dogs, dogs that exhibit predatory aggression also pursue people or almost anything that encourages a good chase. Therefore, dogs that are easily anxious or aroused by the movement of children need to be closely supervised.

Sexual Aggression

Because more male dogs are neutered today, sexual aggression is less common than it was in the past. Dogs that exhibit mounting or humping activity toward people can be an indication that they don’t get enough playtime with other dogs. It can also signify they were overly attached to their owners during the puppy stage.

Considerations and Warnings

  • If you see a dog that appears to be forceful or dominate, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s aggressive.
  • Usually, confident dogs are tolerant of dogs that are more submissive in a pack.
  • Fear, rather than dominance, is the most common factor for dog aggression to humans as well as aggression against other dogs.
  • A dog that licks its lips or looks away can be a sign of stress.
  • Sometimes, dogs that don’t surrender their toys to people just want to play. For example, a dog may seem to be offering a toy but then jump out at the toy when you try to grab the object.
  • Even though any age group can be at risk for dog bites, it’s typically young children who are more vulnerable. On the other hand, dominant dogs that worry about their social status generally don’t bother babies until they reach toddler-age.
  • If you’re a parent, teach your kids how to make a dog sit.
  • Don’t interact with a dog when it’s eating or chewing on a bone.
  • Just as humans, dogs get into spats with other dogs. Never separate two fighting dogs as this can be dangerous.
  • Over-vaccinating a dog can result in aggressiveness.

Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience that can also mean costly medical bills. If you’re the victim of a dog bite, or any other type of injury that isn’t your fault, call the Minnesota legal specialists at Swor & Gatto. As highly trained and experienced personal injury lawyers, we value our clients as individuals and are dedicated to ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve. Please contact us for a free consolation and learn more about our wide range of legal services.