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Canine aggression, anxiety aggression dogs, symptoms, causes and treatment

Canine aggression is an extremely common problem, and although it is usually a mild and rare occurrence, in some cases the problem can be quite severe.



A fact that is missed in a large number of cases is that aggression is really the result of severe anxiety. A dog that feels anxious and insecure will sometimes display aggression in order to get a sense of control over its situation or to ward off the source of its anxiety. Treatment of this problem takes a lot of time and effort, and often requires professional help.




Symptoms
Common signs of aggression in dogs include growling, barking, snapping, and biting. In case of nervous aggression in dogs, these signs are obviously accompanied by anxious, nervous behavior. The dog may cower or try to evade the perceived source of the threat at first.



Very often, aggression comes only later, as the anxiety gets worse and worse. Even when aggression develops, the dog will usually not bite or attack unless it feels that it has no other option. The first reaction will be to escape, and only when it is seems impossible to either escape or scare away the threat will a nervous dog bite. Leash aggression towards other dogs might also be seen, as the dog is always nervous and feels confident enough to assert itself only when on the leash.

Causes
Anxiety aggression in dogs can usually be traced to problems with the way the dog is treated, either by the current owner or by a previous owner. Abuse, especially in the early part of the dog's life, often causes aggression in dogs. Sometimes simply the use of harsh training methods such as choke collars, shock collars, whips, and so on will lead to fear, anxiety, and ultimately aggression. Sometimes a single traumatic experience, such as being attacked by another dog, may cause a dog to be fearful and thus display aggression. In some cases, it may merely be due to inadequate socialization as a puppy, which leaves the dog fearful of new, unfamiliar people, dogs, and situations as an adult.

Treatment
Treatment for aggression must always address the root cause. In case of nervous aggression, the dog must be made to feel comfortable and secure in his or her environment. Positive training methods must always be used, such as food and praise. It is also important to move slowly and with patience, or else the problem will only get worse. In many cases an experienced expert must be consulted to deal with canine aggression.

 
  Submitted on June 1, 2010  
 
 
 

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