Aggressive Behavioral Consultation

When your pet seems to be doing anything but listening to your voice there might be a problem. We, at Atlas Animal Hospital can diagnose the issue and work with you and your pet to ensure that the negative aggressive behavior stops once and for all.

Contrary to popular belief, most dogs would prefer not to bite humans or attack each other. Given this natural reluctance to bite, why are more and more dogs displaying acts of aggression to people and other dogs?

There are many reasons for the increase in these types of attacks. First there are many more dogs in our society than ever before. By law we have to keep then leashed or confined, so they lost their ability to be free, roam and to socialize with other dogs and people. Many dogs become isolated and fearful, which may lead to aggressive behaviour.

Another reason is that the average person does not understand what motivates a dog to attack. They are unaware that their own actions might incite aggressive behaviours. Dogs are unable to think or reason in the same way that humans do – they do not possess human logic. Instead, memory and instinct mostly guides their behaviour.

Often when a dog a bites it is reacting from instinct. Most cases of canine aggression are caused by fear. Very few confident dogs will bite. A dog’s fear may manifest from a lack of socialization. Dogs are often bred away from suburbia in an environment where strangers or other dogs are rarely seen may become fearful when they meet strangers or other dogs for the first time – it is the fear of the unknown.

Fear is a powerful survival instinct. If something scares a dog, it will do one of two things: run away or stay and fight. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is common to all mammals including humans. A dog that has had very little contact with strangers or other dogs or one that has experienced a trauma at the hands of a human being or a strange dog is much more likely to attack than a dog that has enjoyed only good experiences.

Some dogs are simply born fearful. This is due to indiscriminate breeding, breeding without much forethought or dogs randomly selecting a partner resulting in an undesirable temperament being passed down the generations. Some otherwise well bred-bred dogs might develop fear due to their environment being void of any social experiences. They live in virtual isolation and so cannot cope when confronted with things outside of their understanding. Others develop fear because they have no leader, they instinctively know they are not the leader types, and therefore feelings of vulnerability begin to manifest when their owners fail to display leadership qualities. They take matters in their own hands and act to protect themselves.