Canine Aggression and Predation

Canine Aggression and Predation

 Perspectives & Practical Solutions

Aggression in dogs is not only dangerous , it can feel stressful and embarrassing for the owner. Owners ask me for help because, after trying to do something when their dog is aggressive, that their dog repeats aggression, increases its reaction, or frequency. An owner may not know how best to deal with the situation. An owner may want to know the dog signs of aggression or indications that it may become aggressive. A dog could react aggressively in a particular context, or in more than one scenario as an individual. Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behavior and Welfare, said: “Dog owners and members of the public need to be aware that any dog could potentially show aggression, if it is anxious, or feels threatened, even when it has never done so before.” 

A higher proportion of aggressive incidents are reported of certain breeds. Indeed aggression is the very trait that we as humans, bred particular breeds for. However breed is just one factor. A dog could exhibit various types of aggression. Aggression in any species is relative to the environment, resources for survival, learning history, or lack of experience, hormones, the context in which the animal is and other factors. Just a few examples of aggression types are; predatory, possessive, fear, redirected, pain, territorial, consequential and inter-dog. Rachel A (2013).

There is a long history of integrated involvement in human society, including using canine aggression to human benefit. What is important to the survival of that individual animal, including humans, as a social, or part social species is cohesion of a group. These dynamics require co-operation. Like a dog, humans are a social species. Perhaps that is why humans have formed coexistence and working relationships with dogs. The relationships with dogs is so important to people, as part of the social group, but there is often misunderstanding of the dog language. There is unnoticed or, anthropomorphic interpretation of dog calming signals, leading to dogs being misread by humans. There is also a denial of the predatory traits and anthropomorphic perceptions, making dog aggression a very emotive poignant subject to the owner. Overall K (1997).

Dominion and not domination with the socially co-operative dog is the key to addressing dog aggression.  In my work with aggressive dogs, it is important to understand the dogs communication, body language and read and talk dog. In doing so, I help owners build trust and mutual respect with their dog. So the dog can learn along with safety suggestions, management and behavioural training (bespoke to that dog). We can begin to influence the dog to choose a different behaviour. With a new understanding of their dog, this facilitates the owner to help change their dogs aggressive behaviour. Success is governed by you.

Aggression can get worse if not addressed. If you would like help with your dog behaviour problem Canine Whispers is here to help. Start to make a difference today. Go to the contact page, phone, or fill out a booking form. Look at your dog and tell him you are going to make a difference!

Ref Blackshaw K (1991) An Over view of types of aggressive behaviour in dogs and methods of treatment Accessed Jan 19. Available from

Rugass T (2005) On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. Published by Quanuk Ltd