Your dog is most likely considered a part of the family, so worrying is normal if they begin exhibiting abnormal behavior. If your dog is showing signs of aggression towards you or other family members, it is a cause for concern. Growling, barking, and even biting are all signs of aggression that should be evaluated by your dog's veterinarian. With this guide, you will learn a few common causes of newly aggressive behavior in dogs.
Dogs may act out aggressively when they are trying to establish dominance. This can occur if your dog is new to the family or you are bringing an additional dog or other pet into the household.
Dogs that attempt to show dominance over you, other family members, or other dogs may bark, growl, snap, or bite at you or another family member. Your dog may push their way through doorways before you and other dogs.
A dog will also try to establish dominance by mounting other dogs and taking claim over toys, beds, and food bowls.
One of the most common causes of newly aggressive behavior is some form of illness. Medical conditions that affect your dog's underlying health and wellness, such as brain tumors, rabies, and thyroid disease, can enormous behavioral changes.
If your dog is in any pain or discomfort, they are likely to show aggression if they are touched or handled in any way. Conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, will also cause your dog to show aggression.
Dogs may show the classic signs of aggression in an attempt to fight you off to prevent further pain. If you believe your dog is suffering from an illness, make sure to consult the veterinarian immediately.
Lastly, your dog may exhibit aggressive behavior if they are fearful of a person, animal, or situation. Here are a few signs your dog is showing aggression because they are frightened:
- Changes In Body Posture – Your dog may cower or retreat away from the area, person, or situation that is causing them fear.
- Changes In Facial Expression – If your dog is frightened, they may begin licking their lips repeatedly and showing their teeth. If you or another person is frightening them, they will avoid eye contact.
- Defensive Behavior – If your dog feels they are going to be harmed, they will act out to defend themselves. Snapping and biting is normal for dogs who need to defend themselves.
Aggressive behavior should never be considered normal. If your dog is showing any signs of aggression, schedule a full evaluation at a vet clinic.