According to the CDC, there are roughly 800,000 medical visits caused from a dog bite related injury per year in the United States. There are many factors that can contribute to aggression in dogs. Genetics, hormones, learned behaviour, and past trauma are several major contributors to how a dog may react in a high stress situation. Aggression in our canine counterparts is the number one reason people seek training and behavioral rehabilitation.
3 Signs of Aggression in Dogs
Despite the common triggers for aggression in dogs, it is sometimes more difficult to spot aggression warning signs before it is too late. Being aware of aggression signals may help you avoid a potentially fatal dog bite.
If you are near a dog that suddenly stiffens his body and locks his gaze or flattens his ears, this dog may be showing fear and aggression. Some dogs may also tuck their tail or completely avoid looking at you. Approaching dogs that seem fearful or territorial may result in a gruesome dog bite.
Snarling and Growling
Two of the more obvious aggression signals, growling and snarling, are strong signifiers that a dog is feeling threatened or fearful. If a dog is snarling or growling, it is a small step away from biting. Never instigate or raise your voice at a dog that is snarling or growling as that will escalate the situation and potentially result in a full attack.
This is often the final warning from a dog before it brings up the intensity of it’s aggression. Often dogs will snap several times and intentionally miss before they finally bite and latch onto their victim. If a dog is snapping at you you must proceed with extreme caution to avoid being bitten. Never approach a dog that is snapping at you or others.