Dog Aggression Rehab

When we think of dogs normally the image of a cute loving best friend comes to mind. Sometimes though our canine counterparts can show a darker side through growling, barking, snarling or in the worst case, biting. This does not indicate that you have a dangerous pet or that you are a mean caretaker. Statistics show that around 40% of dogs have, at some point, shown signs of dog aggression and growled or snapped at their owner.

Dogs do not just have a switch that randomly flips from nice to mean without reason. There are several levels of dog aggression and some are perfectly normal in certain situations. Typically pets are convinced they have a valid reason to lash out when they do. If your furry friend is suddenly aggressive and displays a notable change in behavior then you should always contact your veterinarian immediately as this could be brought on by internal pain or a health condition. Constant dog aggression can be a tricky thing to cure and might require the talent of a professional trainer.

To help you better identify the scale of aggressive behavior in your dog we have compiled 5 basic types of dog aggression and some simple tips on dealing with each one.


This classification of dog aggression usually is experienced by protection or herding based breeds. This is the tried and true scenario in which your dog barks or growls anytime the catch a glimpse of someone coming to the door or through your yard. This reaction is reinforced when the dog succeeds in making the person or other animal leave immediately by showing their aggressive nature.

A good way to combat this is to plan ahead with someone the dog is not familiar with. Let them walk through the yard or up to the door and once your dog begins barking or lunging have them toss him one of his favorite treats. As the dog takes a break to quietly munch on the snack the person should praise them and walk away. This lets your dog know that in order to get the result they are looking for it is better to be calm and not aggressive.


This type of aggression is not really aggression at all. It may look frightening but dogs have a special way of letting each other know that it’s all a game. From an early age dogs learn to hold back on their biting when playing.

If your puppy bites too hard when playing a good conditioning technique is to whine or whimper and let the puppy know verbally that the bite was too hard. After you alert them to this fact, it is also good to give them a short “time out” from play time to quickly show them that play time is over if they bite too strongly.


When a canine feels trapped or is just downright scared this type of dog aggression begins to emerge. It is a pretty well known fact that a cornered or caged dog will often bite or growl out of fear. In their experience, a loud bark or menacing growl will usually make the thing that has frightened them go away. Dog also tend to be scared of hands reaching towards their heads because to them it looks like a threat.

Try to avoid going directly for the head when petting. Instead try to pet the dog’s back or side. Staring can also be interpreted as a form of intimidation by pets. One of the best things to do to combat fear related aggression is to build a strong bond with your pet that encourages trust and love.


This form of dog aggression involves guarding specific items that your pet deems to be his own. This can include certain pieces of furniture, favorite toys, and a freshly filled food bowl. This behavior is typically found in young males that have not been neutered. This dog aggression is also reinforced by the fact that whenever the dog growls whoever is moving in on his stuff generally backs off.


This type of aggression is deep seeded in a dog’s instincts and originates from the necessity to hunt for food. It can include stalking, running down, and biting. This predator instinct can often be triggered by moving objects or sounds made by young children or smaller animals.