Features August 2016 Issue

Fear Aggression in Dogs

We hope that the expression and posture of this fearful dog makes you feel like backing away, not moving forward to give her a cuddle . . . because the latter would likely result in a bite. Give fearful dogs some space, and then get to work identifying what they are so afraid of, and modifying their response to the stimuli.

Fear Aggression in Dogs

Many types of aggressive behavior in dogs are rooted in fear. The good news: You can reduce your dogs fear and the aggressive behavior.

Fear-related aggression most frequently appears between the ages of eight to 18 months, as a young dog reaches maturity. This may be because increased boldness tends to come with maturity. But its also likely because, over time, aggressive responses are reinforced; the scary stimulus (most often a human, when were talking about aggression issues) backs off. Initially, a fearful pup generally tries to hide from scary humans by moving away, perhaps crawling under a chair.

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