Dogs are one of the most loyal and friendly animals. This quality is mainly what makes most of us love them as members of our families, but what if your dog suddenly became aggressive toward you?
I know the feeling. It sucks seeing your companion becomes less friendly and aggressive all of a sudden.
Aggressiveness in dogs comes in different forms and can be caused by many factors. I’ll help you understand what could be going on in plain terms in a few paragraphs. Keep reading, I’ll break the reasons into the 3 parts:
Why Is My Dog Suddenly Aggressive Towards Me?
First of all, we have to know exactly what type of aggressiveness we are talking about. Is it biting? Growling? Or simply barking at you?
Biting is the extreme case. Most dogs growl and drive the owner away. Hopefully, that’s what you mean by aggressiveness. If it’s biting then maybe you are a bit too late. You will need expert help.
I’ll assume your dog’s aggressiveness is in its early stage. You can relax, it’s nothing bad usually. Can be fixed.
There are different reasons why your dog’s behavior suddenly changed. It differs from dog to dog. However, we can summarize them to 3 main broad reasons:
1. Physical Pain or Sickness
Hopefully, this is not the case with your baby.
Sudden aggressiveness in dogs can sometimes be traced back to physical pain. Dogs experiencing pain, or sickness, tend to become more aggressive.
That’s their way to let us know how they feel.
Before reading further, please make sure your dog is not experiencing any kind of physical pain or sickness.
You can do this by monitoring your dog’s behavior and sleeping/eating/peeing schedules and patterns.
Look for any unordinary signs or behaviors that would suggest your dog is suffering.
If your dog goes outside often and interacts with other dogs, then injury could be the reason.
If pain is the case, please visit a veterinarian NOW!
You have to rule out physical pain before reading on. If pain is indeed the case, then you need urgent intervention by a vet.
And DON’T just Google “home remedy”. Never jeopardize your dog’s health and safety.
If your dog is not experiencing any signs of pain or unease, then the reason is probably the following:
2. Fear and Anxiety
One of the main reasons that may explain why your dog has become suddenly aggressive towards you or any member of your family is fear or anxiety.
In fact, this applies to humans as well. With fear and anxiety comes aggressiveness.
Dogs become aggressive and unfriendly when feeling afraid or anxious. Fear can be caused by many factors.
If your dog, for whatever reason, started to feel threatened, he’ll start exhibiting signs of aggressiveness. That’s pretty common and expected in dogs.
To see if anxiety/fear is what making your boy/girl aggressive all of a sudden, you should start looking for anything that could be leading your baby to feel anxious.
Maybe you added a new pet to the family? A human guest your dog is not a fan of? Or maybe you changed something in your home? Did you get a new haircut?
It could even be some new smell your dog never smelled before.
It goes without saying, of course, that if you raise your hand at the dog, the only reaction will be some level of aggressiveness.
In such case, it’s totally normal. You should be understanding.
Was Your Dog Rescued?
Sometimes, rescue dogs exhibit aggressiveness due to abuse, neglect, or/and traumatic experiences during their early years. You may wanna look for more information about the people who took care of the dog before you.
There are plenty of scenarios that could explain your dog’s reaction. You have to remember what changes you made lately. Or what experiences your dog went through.
I wish our dogs could talk, but they don’t, so we have to think for them and try to see things from their point of view.
3. Possession aka Resource Guarding
Dogs are pack animals by nature. They tend to control stuff around them.
If your dog “owns” a spot in the house, an object, or a toy, and you are trying to challenge his sovereignty over it, he’ll become aggressive. You better stay away!
That’s how your dog is telling you “It’s mine, stay away!” You gotta respect that sometimes.
This is called resource guarding. It is normal in dogs and similar animals. However, the degree of aggressiveness is what matters here.
If it’s mild then you should just ignore it and move on….while keeping an eye of course on it.
It’s a normal behavior. All dogs are expected to act like this. You just need to make sure it’s not getting our of control.
Does My Dog Hate Me?
Of course not. Your dog will never hate you no matter what you do.
It’s just that your dog is trying to send a message to you with this. You have to understand the message and remove the reason causing it if it’s bad.
If it’s pain, then see a veterinarian as soon as possible. If it’s just a show of possession, then relax. Things can be fixed.
Should I Keep a Dog That’s Aggressive Toward Me or Family?
Dogs’ aggressiveness is a behavior, not a personality trait. Meaning, it’s not something ingrained in your dog.
It’s a behavior he developed as a result of some external factor, and it can be reversed with training.
As long as your dog doesn’t bite, you can keep him in your family.
However, if you have any toddlers or young kids, you should keep an eye on the dog. Never leave him alone with your human babies. Not saying the dog will hurt them, just being cautious until you seek expert help for a solution for the aggressiveness.
Dog sudden aggressiveness can be fixed through training by an expert.
What Should I Do If My Dog Became Agggresive Suddenly?
As I mentioned before, your first move should be making sure the dog isn’t experiencing any kind of physical pain that’s causing him to act this way. That’s priority number 1. Rule it out, then you can read on.
The best answer is dog training. Aggressiveness in dogs can be, in most cases, reversed by dog training. Either by you, or a professional dog trainer.
It takes some time though. There is not overnight fix for bad dog behavior, unfortunately.
Prevention is key. The best way to handle dog aggressiveness is preventing it before it develops.
Things to consider if you have a dog:
- Try to discourage dominant behavior whenever you notice it
- Watch out for early signs of resource guarding
- Do the socialization the right way. Both with other dogs and humans
- Use positive reinforcement training
Dog aggressiveness can be boiled down to three broad causes: physical pain, fear or anxiety, and possession.
Don’t worry, your dog doesn’t hate you or think you are a bad person.
You should first make sure the cause is not physical pain. Visit a veterinarian immediately if you believe so. You should never neglect any sign of physical pain in your dog.
If it’s not caused by pain, you can relax, the aggressiveness can be fixed through training. Your big boy/girl can become friendly again in a couple of weeks or months.
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