10 Types of Aggression in Dogs

Types of Aggression Cover

All the animals in the world, including humans display aggression from time to time, and there are various underlying factors behind it, which may or may not be noticeable. Aggression can be harmful to both the dogs and people around them, as they can seriously hurt. Fortunately, when it comes to dogs, their aggression is easy to read, and some of it can also be corrected with proper training.

10 Types of Aggression in Dogs

In the doggy world, aggression can also be seen as a common way of communication; however, if a dog is being aggressive towards people, then correction is required unless the dog is being treated wrongly. When a dog is aggressive, its body language will change drastically, it’ll show teeth, growl, and bark, while constantly staring. So let’s see how many types of aggression are there in dogs. [1]VCA Hospitals

1. Territorial Aggression

This is self-explanatory, as once a person or any other animal enters a dog’s territory, which is usually the house of their owner, they will show aggression. This happens mostly when the dog deems itself as the leader of the pack, and it takes on the duty of protecting the household. By showing dogs that you are the leader, and training dogs that they don’t need to be aggressive unnecessarily, this type of aggression can be fixed.

2. Possessive Aggression

Possessive Aggression occurs when you take away your dog’s beloved possessions or their favorite person. Usually, this type of aggression happens when a dog is allowed to take whatever it wants from puppyhood, and over the years, the dog learns that it can show aggression to keep its belongings. Once again, training can resolve this as well.

Possessive Aggression

A dog aggressive for its bone

3. Maternal Aggression

A universal form of aggression that is shown by a new mother of all species. This typical behavior is exclusively from the female dog towards anyone that tries to come near its offspring. No amount of training can fix this instinctive aggression, but if the dog trusts you, she’ll allow you to see her puppies after a few days.

Maternal Aggression

A mother dog with her puppy

4. Discomfort Aggression

Once again a form of aggression that is not limited to dogs, if any animal is feeling discomfort, pain, or is being irritated, it will result in aggression. It is also an obvious sign to stop annoying the dog, and if one continues to cause discomfort to the dog, they will attack in defense.

5. Predatory Aggression

This typical behavior is exclusively seen in hunting and guarding breeds because of how they were raised and used in the past. Whereas other forms of aggression can be clearly seen with the dog’s body language and loud barking, predatory aggression is silent, as if the dog is hunting. One must be particularly careful in these situations, as the dog will not give any warning before attacking. A thorough training by an expert is the only way out of this.

Predatory Aggression

A dog showing aggression

6. Frustration or Redirected Aggression

Lack of exercise and mental stimulation is the number one cause of destructive behavior in most dogs, especially in breeds with high energy levels. In this type of aggression, a dog usually starts destroying objects in the household, and can even attack family members. The pent-up energy must be released through exercise and once the dog is exhausted, it’ll become much calm.

7. Social Conflict Aggression

This is a rare form of aggression, as dogs usually befriend even the ones they were fighting with minutes before. If a dog is mistreated by someone or they relate a certain mindset with a particular individual or animal, they can become aggressive. A professional dog trainer might be able to work with the dog, understand what’s causing the problem, and then mitigate it.

8. Sexual Aggression

Once again a form of aggression has been seen in all species. This typical behavior can be observed during the mating season when two male dogs fight for females. Also, if dogs aren’t allowed to mate, they’ll become severely aggressive and can attack anyone. Unless you plan to take your dog twice a year for mating at the veterinarian, it is best to neuter them.

Sexual Aggression two

Two dogs fighting

9. Disease-Related Aggression

Once a dog contracts an infectious or non-infectious disease, they become aggressive. It is also observed that if a dog is having dental issues, it’ll typically start biting with being aggravated, therefore, it is always best to get your dog checked up.

Disease Aggression

Injured dog aggressive towards passerby

10. Fear-Related Aggression

If a dog is cornered, feels trapped, or is anxious, it’ll growl, bark, and start showing teeth as a sign of aggression, but if all these signs are ignored, it will bite. Usually, this form of aggression is seen in abused dogs. Fortunately, with proper training and a lot of patience, a fearful dog can be turned into a playful pooch.


1 VCA Hospitals

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