Sometimes people will write and ask for advice. They don't know whether their dog's behavior is "aggressive" and whether it is a problem. I have to explain that it would be completely irresponsible to make any kind of determination without seeing the dog, and that is a job for someone trained in evaluating a dog's temperament. Having had the experience of taking in a dog that was to be destroyed "for aggression" and then finding no serious problem with the dog I'm in no hurry to make a judgement. On the other hand I've known of tragic consequences when early indications of aggression were not taken seriously.
Aggression of any kind often a fatal disease in dogs. So when you think it might be possible that your dog is aggressive the smartest thing to do is exactly what you would do if you thought your dog might have cancer. You start with a vet checkup.
A lot of aggression is caused by things like pain, poor vision (making the animal more fearful) or blood chemistry imbalance can cause aggression. If there are no physical problems the next step is an evaluation from a professional. That will tell you how serious the problem is, and what it will take to prevent it from becoming a fatal problem.
Once you know that then you will know whether you are able and willing to work on the issue. Sometimes it is just a small problem easily addressed, and sometimes it is a very big problem that love doesn't see or excuses. To get competent help your dog must be seen in person by someone who knows what they heck they are doing - and that means they should have had special training. I have more information and resources on For additional links and resources check:
Just some additional resources, and e-mail discussion groups.
Deciding whether to even try to rehabilitate a dog that has bitten or threatened to bite a child is not even an issue for some people - they put the dog down or otherwise remove it from the household. Other people want to take a closer look at the situation before condemning the dog. This article is great for prevention of such a situation regardless of which side you would be on should a bite actually occur.
|Professional Resources from Dogwise|
|Behavior Problems In Dogs by Bill Campbell|
|Handbook Of Applied Dog Behavior And Training, Vol. 3: Procedures And Protocols||Handbook Of Applied Dog Behavior & Training, Vol. 2: Etiology And Assessment||Handbook Of Applied Dog Behavior And Training
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Created: September 9, 2008 Updated: March 19, 2007
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