How Anxiety Can Lead to Aggression
Anxiety can be described as, “A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
It is important to understand that our dogs can only communicate to us through action. When our dogs are faced with certain situations in which they do not like and become anxious, we (the owners) must be aware of how our dog responds and notice their body language. If a dog spends too much time in a state of anxiety, it will turn into fear and their fear can lead to an aggressive action to demonstrate their dislike.
So, with that said, what can lead to a dog having anxiety?
Many situations can lead to or be the cause of anxiety in your dog, but we can categorize them into three main reasons.
Lack of Socialization
From an early age, dogs should be introduced into safe, productive socialization. Dogs that have been isolated from triggers and particular stimuli, could become shocked and unsure when finally faced with unfamiliar situations. Having past experiences with various stimuli, the dog will be more likely to feel comfortable and less fearful. For example, if your dog has never encountered a larger dog before and one day a large dog approaches, rationally your dog could fear for its safety. This could lead to your dog lunging, growling or barking excessively in order to protect itself.
Unfortunately, past abuse of a dog can create a very fearful/anxious dog. These past experiences can cause the dog to feel unsure about its safety in any situation. If not addressed, previously abused dogs can become reactive and demonstrate aggression.
A very common cause of anxiety often overlooked is lack of leadership. Dogs want and need guidance. Remember, they are pack animals and instinctually they believe in an alpha. I have seen many dogs that truly believe they run the house they live in and show signs of dominance/aggression towards the family in the house. If the owner does not become the leader, the dog may take it upon itself to become the leader.
How do you combat these root causes for anxiety?
In all situations above, anxiety can be combatted with customized training coupled with proper exercise. Super Sonic Dog Training’s training program, observes your lifestyle and the dog’s behavior, analyzes root causes to dog’s behaviors and takes your dog out into the real world to face real life distractions and situations. Our program makes the dog owner the centerpiece of the training program, so the dog sees its owner as the leader, not our trainer. By doing this, the dog will look at the owner for guidance and structure in every situation, resulting in a confident and comfortable happy dog!
If your dog is showing any signs of anxious behavior and/or aggression contact Super Sonic Dog Training today. I look forward to creating a stress-free life for you and your pup!