5 Possible Causes of Sudden Aggression in Dogs

It is really frightening to be around an aggressive dog, isn’t it? It is even more frightening to be around a dog that is usually friendly but then suddenly becomes really aggressive, showing its teeth, growling and lunging.

In an extreme case, the aggressive dog may bite or attack you or other family members it knows. Spend time reading things you probably still believe to happen after a dog bite you.

As a dog parent, it is very important to know the causes so you will be able to help your dog overcoming the aggression. By knowing the causes of your dog being suddenly aggressive, you will also be able to figure out the best plan to stop it. Here are the 5 possible causes of sudden aggression in dogs.

  • Getting Ill or Injured

Some illnesses or diseases can cause dogs to become aggressive, especially if the dogs have never shown any signs of aggression before.

Pain is commonly the cause of aggression in dogs. The pain of the illness causes major discomfort and stress. The possible causes of pain include arthritis, bone fractures, internal injuries, various tumors and lacerations.

The other illnesses may also affect your dog’s brain leading to unreasonable aggression. Conditions such as cognitive dysfunction and brain disease are able to provoke aggression too.

These conditions are more likely to occur in senior dogs, however, it can also happen at any age. Dementia is one of the diseases that affect the dog’s brain. Get to know more about dementia in dogs.

If your dog experiences sudden aggression, contact your vet immediately before attempting to address it as a behavior problem.

  • Fear

A fearful dog can also develop aggressive behavior. Most dogs only exhibit aggressive behavior once they sense that they are in danger, cannot escape and need to defend themselves.

If your dog is a rescue dog and it exhibits aggressive or fearful behavior more than usual, then it may have been abused, neglected, traumatized or not properly socialized as a puppy before.

You can find information from the organization where you adopt the dog so that you can find the best way to handle the situation. You can also find the signs that tell your dog has ever been abused and see tips for handling previously aggressive abused dogs.

If you have this kind of dog, then try to speak to your veterinarian about the best course of actions. Your dog might need to manage its on fear with training and patience too.

  • Possessiveness

When a dog is possessive of something, it can show possessive aggression. The thing could be food, toys or some other objects of value. A dog which shows possessive aggression may growl if someone approaches his bowl or gets too close when he is playing with his favorite toy.

When a stranger steps into your home, which is your dog’s territory, he may also bite that person. The degree of aggression of a dog varies from one another and between objects.

For example, your dog may not care if you sit down and pet him while he chews his favorite toy, but it is also possible that he may turn and snap at you when you do the same thing while he’s chewing a pig’s ear. It all depends on how much value your dog attributes to each object.

  • Show of Dominance

Dogs sometimes show aggression as a display of dominance. This is often shown toward other dogs, but it can also occur to people.

Dominance is a behavior, and it is very important to understand it. Dogs are not dominant by nature. Some may tend to show it towards one behavior or the other, but it is typically determined by the situations.

Dogs that display dominant behavior feel that they must prove they are in charge of the situation. When they feel their position is challenged, they will start to growl, snap or bite.

Unfortunately, people often misunderstand the cause of canine aggression as dominance-related behavior. In reality, aggressively dominant behavior is not as common as the other causes of aggression.

  • Frustration

When a dog is frustrated at not being able to get something, it may start to be aggressive. This type of aggression is mostly experienced by dogs who spend a lot of time tied up, restrained on a leash or behind a chain-link fence. If your dog is sad, then you can consider these strategies to cheer up your sad dog.

A good example is a dog that’s chained the whole day in a yard may spend its day straining to get to a dog that lives across the street. The restrained dog usually barks and growls more fiercely as the frustration grows. The owner should be careful as the dog may redirect its frustration and bite the owner.

You have to be really aware of the cause of sudden aggression in dogs. Make sure to rule out a health issue or fear before you assume you know the reason. Always ensure to consult with your vet too.