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Dealing with Aggression in Dogs

Although your dog is as sweet as can be with you, there may be times when your pet shows too much aggression towards other dogs, cats, and people. Even though dogs have been domesticated for years, they are still animals with the “fight or flight” instinct when faced with a potential threat or danger. Any breed of dog can be aggressive, but, fortunately, the majority of this aggression can be both prevented and treated through behavior modification. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we feel that dog owners should know the signs of aggressive behavior as well as how to understand the different types of aggression, which can help you treat this behavior. We would like to talk a bit more about the different signs and types of aggression to help you get the best treatment that can prevent any aggressive behavior.

What are the signs of dog aggression?

Dealing with Aggression in dogs Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Of course, growling, snarling, baring teeth, and barking are obvious signs of aggressive behavior in dogs, but there are some other signals that can alert you. If you ever notice your dog suddenly becoming still and rigid, VetStreet says that this is a sign of aggression. Your dog may lunge at a target without making contact and punch the target with his or her nose. There is no set sequence of aggressive behaviors that they follow, but the previously mentioned actions should warn you before any biting occurs as dogs rarely bite without warning.

What are the different types of aggression?

Knowing what causes your dog to become aggressive is key for treating this behavior.

  • Dominance aggression – If your dog threatens or attacks people who try to correct his or her behavior, your dog’s aggression has to do with dominance.
  • Fear aggression – If your dog urinates or defecates during the aggressive behavior, he or she is most likely responding out of being afraid.
  • Maternal aggression – Mother dogs can become very aggressive if she feels someone is threatening her puppies.
  • Pain aggression – If your dog becomes aggressive when you try to touch him or her or pick him or her up, pain is generally the cause of this behavior.
  • Possessive aggression – This behavior occurs when your dog feels someone or another dog is trying to take away food or a toy.
  • Protective aggression – Even if a person or animal does not pose a threat to you, your dog may be aggressive when guarding you from this person or animal.
  • Territorial aggression – Similar to protective aggression, your dog could become aggressive towards people and other animals while protecting your house or yard.
  • Redirected aggression – If your dog cannot attack his or her intended target, he or she may take out the aggression on another target.


Early and frequent puppy socialization is the best way to prevent aggressive dog behavior. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you need recommendations for behavior modification treatment for your dog.

January Is National Train Your Dog Month

We begin each year with resolutions to make improvements in our life, and, very often, at least one of these resolutions has to do with our pets, including training your dog. Since so many families adopt or purchase a new puppy over the holidays, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) started a campaign to make the public aware of the importance of dog socialization and training and dedicated the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month in 2010. of At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we celebrate along with APDT, and as part of our commitment to this campaign, we wanted to tell you more about how important socialization is in the training process of your puppy.
January Is National Train Your Dog Month Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Socialization includes so much more than people and other animals.

When you think of dog socialization, you probably just think about getting your puppy together with the other members of your family, your friends, and other dogs and cats. However, socialization includes places, things, and activities. Your new puppy will be very curious and eager to explore the world. Whenever possible, you should bring your dog along when you to visit friends and family. If you have kids who play outdoor sports, bring the puppy with you to watch the games. You will also want to take advantage of nearby parks for walks with your dog. Your new pet will also take some time getting used to everything about your home. Certain appliances may startle your dog at first, but as your dog gets used to your family’s and home’s daily routines and habits, he will become more comfortable.

Socialization requires positive thinking.

In order to keep this process stress-free for you and your new dog, APDT has some tips for safe socialization.

A positive attitude equals fun for your puppy.

Allow your puppy to explore on his own. You can give your dog opportunities to take his time to approach new things.

Be respectful of your puppy. If your puppy seems afraid of something or is reluctant to do a certain thing, do not push or force him to do it. You can try to help your dog overcome his fear by laughing at the object or doing the action yourself.

Use common sense, but remember to stay positive. You want everything your new puppy experiences to be good and happy. If you think a person or experience may upset your dog, avoid these situations.

Studies have proven that well-socialized dogs are more secure and confident. To find out more information about getting started on training your new puppy, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital. Take advantage of National Train Your Dog Month and start socializing and training your dog properly.

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