Every dog owner at some point in their life asks themselves whether or not their dog is too aggressive. In this day and age where dogs of almost all breeds are getting a bad reputation, it’s tough to make the call as to whether the actions of your dog warrant training and special attention. Of course, we all want to be good upstanding citizens (while having an upstanding dog), so it’s important to try and catch any aggressive behavior before it gets worse.

At Canine College, our expert dog trainers have decades of experience pinpointing aggressive behavior. In general, we encourage dog owners to watch out for the following behavior cues:

  • Becoming very still and rigid in new situations of when introduced to new people/pets
  • Guttural bark that sounds threatening or stops other dogs in their tracks
  • Being territorial by lunging forward or charging at the person or another animal (but with no contact)
  • Using their mouth to control another animal or person without making puncture wounds
  • Performing a “muzzle punch” — which is when your dog “punches” a person or other pet with their nose
  • Growling, snarling or barking repeatedly
  • Showing teeth or snapping at strangers, family members or other pets.
  • Quick nip that leaves no mark or a bite that tears the skin
  • A bite anywhere on the body the causes a bruise or a puncture wound
  • Repeated bites or nips that either cause bruising or puncture wounds anywhere on the body
  • Bite, grip and shake without any sign of letting go

Things to Keep in Mind

It’s important to note that not all of these actions will be labeled an aggressive tendency in every situation. For example, if you have a toy in your hand and your dog is biting, gripping and shaking it to try and take the toy from you, it’s probably safe to say that this is “play behavior” — not aggressive behavior. As the owner, you need to be the judge of the severity of the encounter your dog has with people and other pets. Don’t be afraid to ask fellow friends and family members who also have pets whether or not they think your dog is aggressive.

If you’re still unsure whether your dog is aggressive or not, or if other individuals have complained about your dog being too aggressive, we recommend contacting our dog trainers here at Canine College. We recommend private dog training lessons first then slowly assimilating your dog into group training classes in order to get them more comfortable with people and other dogs. Sign up for training today!

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