There are several reasons a dog may be aggressive toward family members. The most common causes include conflict aggression, fear-based, defensive aggression, status-related aggression, possessive aggression, food-guarding aggression, and redirected aggression.
1 Your suddenly aggressive dog may have an injury or illness that is causing a lot of discomfort and stress. Some possible causes of pain are arthritis, broken bones, internal injuries, various tumors and lacerations. Other diseases can affect your dog’s brain, leading to seemingly unreasonable aggression.
Aggression between unfamiliar dogs may be due to fear, poor communication, defensiveness, possessive behavior toward resources (including perhaps family members or other pets), or territorial behavior toward territory or owner. Aggression between dogs can result in injury to dogs and/or people attempting to separate them.
Aggression toward other pets can occur when a new pet is introduced into the family, as a younger dog matures, or when an older dog becomes weaker or less assertive. Increased aggression toward unfamiliar people and animals can result from your dog’s increasing fear and sensitivity as they age.
Aggression in dogs typically includes body language or threats such as a hard stare, growl, bark, snarl, tumble, snap and/or bite. Aggression can be a normal form of communication in dogs, however showing aggression towards a person or animal is often considered undesirable or problematic.
It’s important to remember that there is no cure for aggression. Aggressive behavior is managed and reduced with proper treatment with a veterinary behaviorist. It is also important to understand that aggression is a behavioral issue and not an issue of obedience.
No punishment: If your pet reacts aggressively (barks, growls, hisses, falls, or hits), simply remove them from the situation. Take him as far away as necessary to calm him down.
It’s an instinctive hormonal response instilled in our dogs to protect them. Sometimes reactivity can be a work-through of pent-up frustration. This is often reflected in line reactivity. You go on a long-awaited walk with Fido and see a dog coming towards you on the horizon.