Causes of Dog Aggression

Dog aggression is a frightening experience, and very dangerous for both dogs and people because it can happen as if out of the blue. A very friendly dog can suddenly act aggressively, growling, snapping, and lunging at other dogs and people. At its worst, dogs may attack and cause injury or even death to other dogs and people, including their owners.

In many cases of dog aggression, owners do not know why it happened. Dog owners are usually unaware of the signs of aggression until it is too late. Knowing the potential causes of aggression can help owners see the signs and deal with the aggression before it escalates. Preventing this type of dangerous behavior is far better than dealing with the consequences.

Dog aggression may be due to the following reasons.

Illness or Injury

Pain is a common cause of aggression in dogs. It is not surprising, as people in pain frequently become irritable and aggressive as well. If your dog suddenly shows signs of aggression, it may be due to pain caused by some type of disease, illness, or injury.

Check your dog carefully for injuries. If your dog appears unusually sluggish, quiet, or inactive, starts limping, or stops moving completely, the dog may be sick or have internal injuries. If you cannot figure out the problem, bring your dog immediately to your veterinarian. Do not give your dog any kind of medication, such as pain relievers, unless prescribed by your veterinarian. Giving medication without knowing what is wrong could cause more harm than good.

Fear

A dog constantly in fear can become aggressive. Like most animals, dogs may go through freeze, flight, or fight mode when confronted by a dangerous situation.

When dogs sense danger, they will try to escape and get away. If escape is not an option, fear sets in and they will either freeze or fight. In most cases dogs will confront the situation by becoming aggressive, like a rat caught in a trap. It will resort to physical violence to escape the cause of its fear or the source of perceived danger.

Physically abused dogs almost certainly become aggressive because of this fight response to fear. This is very common with rescue dogs many of which are victims of abuse. If you have a rescue dog or if you are not aware of your dog’s history before you got them and they act aggressive, this is most likely due to fear from past abuse.

The best way to get around this situation is to reassure the dog that there is nothing to fear. Be gentle and patient with them. If they show signs of aggression in certain situations, stop immediately and remove them from the environment. Introduce them back to the same situation slowly and with care. It may also be best to consult with a dog trainer that specializes in abused dogs.

Territory

Territorial behavior is instinctive for some dogs. Also known as resource guarding, this happens when dogs become very possessive of certain objects or areas of their environment such as food, toys, sleeping area, or their owner. When a person goes near a dog that is eating, playing with a toy, or resting on its bed and the dog displays aggression, it is probably due to this territorial instinct.

The best way to avoid this situation is to respect the dog’s space when engaging in these activities. Punishing or scolding the dog for this will only confuse it.  The dog may even take it as a challenge and make the aggression worse. It will not always be easy to understand exactly what the dog is feeling territorial about, but over time it will become apparent.

Confinement

There are some cases when we need to confine dogs temporarily for safety reasons. Confinement may take the form of a traveling cage, a harness, leash, or a fenced area. Dogs not used to confinement may feel anxious or frustrated when in these situations, and these feelings may manifest as aggression. On the other hand, this may also likely occur when the dog is always in a confined situation, as its frustration from the lack of freedom can build up.

In the former case, it is important to reassure your dog about the temporariness of the confinement. You could do a couple of test runs before the day so they know what to expect. In the latter case, the best way to mitigate aggressive behavior is not to confine your dogs as much as possible. Let them have enough room to run around and burn off excess energy. They are more likely to behave better during confinement if they know they can have some freedom on a regular basis.

Conclusion

The best way to deal with aggressive behavior in your dog is to find out the cause for it. If you are at a loss, you need to consult with a veterinarian or a dog behavior professional. Misinterpreting the cause of your dog’s aggression may lead you to take action that could just make things worse for you, your dog, and those around you.

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The Loyal Dachshund

The Dachshund is truly a magnificent breed. They are one of the most popular choices as family companions mainly because they are small, loyal, and adorable.

People tend to think that because they are small, they are not meant for hard work, but they were originally bred to hunt down badgers and other animals that tunnel underground. The name “dachshund” actually means “badger dog” in German, which is their country of origin.

Their peculiar shape makes it easier to distinguish them from other breeds. It is also what makes them so cute and endearing. Their shape has also given them loving nicknames such as wiener dog, hot dog, and sausage dogs.

Possible Health Issues

Like all breeds, they are prone to certain diseases and health conditions for which you should be prepared if you decide to take one in to the family. It does not necessarily mean your particular wiener dog will get any of these diseases, but there is a possibility.

INTERVERTEBRAL DISC DISEASE (IVDD)

This is basically a back problem, to which dachshunds are prone to having. Some people attribute their tendency to acquire this problem to the disproportionately long torsos of dachshunds, although there is no conclusive evidence to support this. It may also be due to genetics, certain movements, or falls from height.

Initial symptoms include difficulty or inability to use their hind legs. This could eventually lead to paralysis, and in some instances, loss of bladder and bowel control.

Health professionals suggest always supporting the dog’s back and rear area when they are being carried to prevent injury. Treatment for the disease may include crate confinement, anti-inflammatory medicines, surgery, and the use of a dog wheelchair.

In some cases, rehabilitation therapy can also help before the disease completely takes over. Use of dog wheelchairs are also included as part of the therapy or rehab program.

EPILEPSY

Dachshunds are also prone to epileptic seizures. This may also be due to genetics, congenital abnormality, or severe trauma to the head. Treatment usually involves medication. Bring your dachshund to the vet at the first instance of a seizure get proper treatment.

GASTRIC DILATATION-VOLVULUS (GDV)

Also known as bloat or torsion, this disease usually affects large breed dog, but dachshunds are the exception. This may be due to their deep chest shape. It is a life-threatening condition that causes the dog’s stomach to fill up with gas. This causes the stomach to twist and get distorted. As the air or gas builds up, the dog cannot belch or vomit to remove the air because of the distortion. This blocks the normal flow of blood to the heart, causing blood pressure to go down, and eventually lead to shock.

Immediate medical attention is critical for this condition. Symptoms may include excessive salivating and dry retching. It is best to bring the dog to the vet immediately if you observe these signs.

CANINE DIABETES MELLITUS (DM)

This is common to the breed,  especially for overweight dachshunds. Symptoms may include urinating excessively, persistent thirstiness, and weight loss despite an increased appetite. Treatment may include a special diet and regular insulin medication. Keeping your dachshund’s weight in check is a good preventive measure.

Choosing Your New Best Friend

When selecting a dachshund puppy, look for a breeder that can provide you with a health clearance for both parents of the puppy. Genetics may play an important part in the eventual health of the puppy.

If you are getting a dachshund from a shelter, try to get as much health information as possible. Bring the dog straight to a vet for a complete checkup to get a rundown of existing and potential health problems. This will give you a good idea of how to provide your new best friend the best care.

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Braver Hund! The German Shepherd

For all you German Shepherd lovers out there, here are some facts about these awesome-looking dogs you may not know:

They are a fairly new breed. They date back to 1899 when a German Cavalry Officer, Captain Max Von Stephanitz decided to come up with a German herding dog breed better than their human counterparts.

Hollywood made them popular. During World War I an American soldier rescued a German Shepherd puppy from a bombed-out dog kennel and brought the pup back home to America. This puppy eventually became the most popular dog in Hollywood: Rin Tin Tin. This dog’s rise to fame also made his breed very popular in America and eventually the world.

They are very smart. Intelligent and capable of accomplishing almost any task, they can easily be trained to do all sorts of things.

They are very hard working. Not only are they smart,they are also very persistent. Once they are given a job to do, they will make sure it is done just the way they have been trained to do it.

They’re not just shepherds. Because of their intelligence and persistence, they eventually ended up doing so much more than just shepherding livestock. German Shepherds help in law enforcement, military, rescue, assisting the blind and disabled, and so many other jobs.

They get lonely. You cannot leave them alone for long periods of time. By long periods, we don’t mean days but hours. If you do leave them alone, they get bored, lonely, and upset. To cope they turn to disruptive and destructive acts such as constant barking, scratching or chewing on anything they can get their paws at.

They need activity. Partly because they easily get bored and lonely and mostly because they seem to generate a lot of energy, it is a must that they enjoy regular, rigorous activities to keep them preoccupied and to use up all that energy. Daily runs and park visits help as well as assigning them simple tasks to do. They can fetch the daily newspaper—if you still subscribe to print or your slippers, if you don’t—or keep the doors closed or put down the toilet seats and covers. Giving them regular training sessions will definitely keep them happily busy.

They shed a lot of fur. You’ll need to practice regular good grooming to keep their fur at bay. Plus you’ll probably need to vacuum around the house more often.

They don’t like strangers. Although they need companionship, they are very wary of people they do not know. This can be remedied by getting a German Shepherd pup adapted at an early age through regular exposure; for example, try bringing them to public places where they can be exposed to other people.

They make good guard dogs. Their wariness of strangers is what makes them good at guard duty.

They love their family. When we say family we don’t just mean their moms and puppies. When we say family we also mean their human family. They are one of the most loving, caring and loyal pets you and your family can ever have. They are very good with kids, sometimes acting like human parents would.

We’re sure you and your family will have lots of fun moments with a German Shepherd, that is if you’re not having lots of fun already.

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