When I took my daily early morning walk with my dog today at the local park, we ran across a loose dog. Normally, that in itself is no reason for alarm. Because I have lots of experience recognizing aggressive body language in dogs, I could tell from a distance that something about this dog was wrong. As he got closer I could tell at a glance that he meant trouble. Instead of looking friendly, his appearance was quite aggressive-and he was heading straight for us. The approaching dog wasn’t barking, but just by looking at his intense body language, I could see this wasn’t going to be a friendly visit. I had time to change directions and avoid a confrontation with this aggressive dog because I could recognize his aggressive attitude.
If you learn to recognize aggressive dog body language it will be helpful in avoiding confrontations leading potentially to a dog fight. You have probably noticed how dogs will usually demonstrate to each other who is the dominant dog and who is the submissive dog. Providing that one of the dogs remains submissive to the dominant dog, there shouldn’t be the tension that could lead to a dog fight.
The following tips should help you be able to know how to spot the body language of an aggressive dog before he gets close to you. If you see these signs of aggression, with your own or another dog, you should be ready to defuse what could turn into a dangerous situation by taking immediate action. Avoiding a bad encounter could be as easy as controlling and calming down your own dog (if he’s the one that is aggressive) or just leaving the vicinity of the other dog that is acting aggressive.
- We have all witnessed the body language of aggressive dogs many times. If is common to see the more dominant of the two dogs putting his head above the other dogs, and maybe jumping up to place his paws and forearms over the second dog’s shoulder area. The more dominant dog might even try to mount the other dog, not because he is feeling sexy, but because that’s one way to show dominance. If neither of the two dogs is submissive, these types of displays could become more agitated and quickly lead to a fight .
- If the displays now contain growling and snapping of exposed teeth, the dog (or dogs) are obviously about to have a fight. Make sure you control the situation and avoid any chance of the two dogs fighting.
- You can also spot an aggressive dog through his very intense stare and tense body movements. The aggressive dogs tail will be held up (but it will not be wagging, unfortunately) and his ears will be held back. It is clear to see he is not in a friendly mood.
- The easiest and most familiar sign of dog aggression to spot from a little distance is when the aggressive dog raises up the hair on his back-his “hackles”. During my morning walk, I could tell the approaching dog was clearly aggressive, as his hackles were already up before he even reached us.
Even if you didn’t always know what these aggressive displays meant, you have seen them all many times before. You can now spot aggressive behavior and you are also aware of the danger that this aggression can lead to, so be pro-active in keeping your dog from getting into a fight.
With my own aggressive dogs, until I finally got serious and trained them better, I could never take them out in public without a leash on them for fear of one of my dogs starting a fight. If you take an aggressive dog of your own with you to a public place, you must be responsible for making sure he doesn’t cause any problems.
Pay attention to dog body language, and when you see these aggressive postures, you can avoid getting into a dangerous situation. If there is another dog in the area that is acting aggressively, because you recognize the aggressive dog’s body language in advance you can prevent your own dog from coming in to close contact with that uptight dog. Just veer off the course that will bring you into contact with the problem dog, and avoid the two dogs coming into contact with each other. If the aggression problem is with your own dog, you can solve that problem by paying a lot of attention to his training (especially training dealing with aggression) so that your dog really obey your commands. If your dog is well trained and accepts that you are the boss, it is much easier to control your dog’s aggression.
If you want to learn to train your dog at home, I recommend strongly that you check out my review of the very best dog training program. Using these tips and positive reinforcement techniques, training my own dogs is much easier and effective than it used to be.
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