Types of aggression in dogs

Dogs may show more than 10 types of aggression, and there are signs that will help

people tell the difference between a dangerous animal and a playful or fearful pooch.

Signs of aggression include becoming very still or rigid; growling, threatening barks;

snapping, snarling and baring teeth; lunging and charging; biting and shaking.

Following are some of the most common types of aggression dogs display:

Territorial Aggression

Dogs are territorial by nature. Some dogs are completely friendly and wouldn’t so much as bark at even a dangerous intruder, but others may react negatively to the most welcome visitors.

Territorial dogs often bark threateningly and charge at people or animals encroaching their territory.

Protective Aggression

This type of aggression occurs when a dog senses a member of its family is being threatened. A dog may reserve this form of aggression for people or animals it considers particularly vulnerable.

Typically nice, friendly dogs might become protective after having a litter of puppies, or when its pet parents have a child. The aggression may wear off as the dog gets used to people being around the babies — human or pups — but this is not always the case.

Possessive Aggression

Dogs aren’t protective only of people but also possessions. Some dogs might get snippy when people or other animals go near their food bowl or favorite toys. Others might be protective over their beds or crates.

A possessive dog is easy to identify because it only acts aggressively when others go near its food, toys or bed. This behavior may become dangerous if a possessive dog takes to hiding its things and lashes out when someone gets to close without knowing.

Sex-Related Aggression

Intact males and females will vie for the opposite sex’s attention. Males may challenge and fight with other males, even if there are no females present. This fighting may even occur among dogs in the same household that normally get along.

The behavior is most common in males that are still able to reproduce, though females may also act out. Dogs that weren’t spayed or neutered until adulthood might still show this type of aggression.

Predatory Aggression

Thanks to their ancestry, dogs often show this classic predatory behavior — chasing fast-moving things. Cars, people on bikes, joggers, livestock and more may fall victim to a dog’s predatory instincts. This form of aggression is different than others because there is rarely any warning before a dog starts the chase.

SOURCE: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals