Unfortunately for some dogs, something has happened to have traumatized them into becoming very fearful at times. The fear that they are feeling is so strong, that they may actually respond to their fear with aggressive behavior. The fear expresses itself after the dog has been traumatized by something in his past. On other occasions some dogs have what seems to be an irrational fear of things such as very loud noises-perhaps the loud sounds of a thunderstorm or gunshots sets them off.
You can easily recognize the body language of a dog with fear aggression issues. It is very likely that you have seen this type of aggression before-it is not a pretty picture. You can recognize fear aggression when you spot a dog that is cringing and skulking around with a greatly exaggerated submissive posture. The dog that is suffering from fear aggression will also carry his tail tucked between his legs and next to his tummy, his ears will be pulled back, and his teeth will be displayed in a snarl as he moans, whines and even growls. All it takes is one look at a fearful dog and you know it is really suffering.
If your dog is suffering from fear aggression or you encounter another dog that is displaying the fearful body language above, do not try to comfort or pet the dog to help it with its fear problem. This is because dogs that are suffering from fear aggression are sometimes likely to lash out and bite-at either the cause of the fear or possibly something or someone else near the dog. This is an example of misdirected aggression and you want to be sure it is not misdirected towards you.
In order to correct the fear aggression problem, it will mean first diagnosing the actual reason behind the fear itself. How did the dog originally become so traumatized? If you have raised the dog yourself, of course you will have insight as to when and why your dog became traumatized. If you got your dog from someone else it may have already suffered abuse from a person or a dog when it was a puppy. Pay attention to what triggers his fear aggression-so you know how to go about correcting the problem-note whether certain dogs or people or noises set him off. If your dog begins to act very fearful and becomes aggressive at the approach or another dog or a particular person, you can start to get a pretty clear idea of what is going on inside his poor head. It is pretty easy to diagnose many cases of fear aggression (especially if it is due to something obvious like gunfire or fireworks exploding). Other times the source of your dog's fear is not apparent, and seems to point at a psychological problem more than an abuse problem.
Professional veterinarian dog behaviorists can help you diagnose the problem if it proves elusive for you. If you are going to be able to successfully correct your dog's fears and resulting aggression problems, it is first necessary to root out the cause of that fear.
Once the fear's cause has been established, the method to correct your dog's fear aggression is to attempt to gradually desensitize your dog's reaction to the fear stimulus. For a dog that is frightened when around other dogs, you can start his training by exposing your dog to other, friendly dogs in frequent short sessions until he finds he can relax around other dogs without being attacked. It is smart to have a leash on your dog to prevent him lunging at the other dog or from running off. If your dog is known to lunge when fearful, you may want to also use a muzzle to prevent him accidentally biting you during the training.
Be sure you only use positive techniques while working with your dog. If you hit him or yell at him you are just reinforcing his fearful condition. You must be patient and understanding of your dog's condition in order to properly correct it. The problem of fear aggression is curable, but you will have to make sure to take the effort and the time needed to remove the trauma's effects from your dog's psyche. Naturally the time and effort to help out your pet become well balanced and happy is time well spent.
I sure hope you have a better understanding of fear aggression so you can get to correcting this problem if your dog has it.
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