Is my dog aggressive?
All dogs have the potential to be aggressive. What you need to know is at what stage do you have a dog aggression problem where you need to intervene and get some help. Read the information below and then take the quiz at the bottom the page to see if your dog is at risk.
First it is important to know that dog aggression is often a normal behaviour . Surprisingly, abnormal canine behaviour is often over-diagnosed. All dogs have the potential to behave aggressively or show aggressive signalling. Aggressive signalling such as growling, snapping, etc. often occurs in contexts where aggressive behaviour may be considered appropriate.
For example, any situation where a dog is threatened is certainly an occasion where a dog might behave aggressively. A situation where a dog is trapped and cannot escape something that is frightening or irritating may also be normal behaviour. However we would hope that the aggression is controlled and doesn’t actually cause harm. However, even in cases where your dog is not behaving appropriately, we shouldn’t look at aggressive behaviour as being nasty or wrong. Dogs always have a reason for acting the way they do.
However, just because your dog is considered normal, doesn’t mean a situation can’t develop. Normal dogs are often put into situations they can’t handle and this can cause a problem to develop.
When is dog aggression a problem?
When dogs perceive a threat when there clearly isn’t one, or the dog is clearly over-reacting, he or she is not behaving normally. When aggression starts to interfere with the relationship between the pet and the owner, other people, or other animals, it becomes a problem and we need to take steps to improve the situation. Often when this happens, most dogs with behavior problems are not just misbehaving: they are not normal. Typically these dogs have developed an underlying anxiety problem that is contributing to the aggression issue. To treat these dogs as normal, but misbehaving and to expect a normal response to corrections can be dangerous. There are right and wrong ways to handle dog aggression. Read more on the right treatment methods.
Does your dog have an aggression problem? Take the quiz below:
Select the most appropriate answers from the 9 questions.
Canine Aggression: Neurobiology, Behavior and Management, Ilana R. Reisner, DVM, Phd, DACVB, Originally appeared on : http://www.vetshow.com/friskies/cani.htm
Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr 1991 Jan;98:15-9 [Behavior disorders on Dogs — study of their classification] [Article in German] Feddersen-Petersen D. Institut fur Haustierkunde, Universität Kiel
 Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Karen L. Overall, M.A., V.M.D., Ph.D. Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behavior, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, Mosby, Inc. 1997