Can Dogs Turn Aggressive?
When a dog has a negative experience, such as being scolded or hit, it may become aggressive in order to protect itself. Fear is often the root cause of aggression in dogs. If a dog feels threatened, it may lash out in an attempt to defend itself.
Other reasons for aggression include territoriality, possessiveness, and resource guarding. Dogs that are not properly socialized may also be more prone to aggression. As Daniel explains:
"You can be fearful if you've been mugged in the street, right? Or, in the subway - wherever you live in a big city or something. You definitely, then are gonna change your perception of the world. The same thing happens with dogs. That's why socialization is super important and making sure you control the environment."
However, a controlled environment is key. If a dog is constantly exposed to situations that make it feel uncomfortable, it may become aggressive as a way to cope with its fear. The need for a controlled environment is why Daniel is a strong opponent of dog parks.
"Against free-roaming dogs on the beach. Against free-roaming dogs in any park whatsoever. Or, as a lot of people do here in Hawaii, they'll go to a neighborhood park and they're afraid of their dog getting in trouble with other dogs, so they'll go into a tennis court, close the doors and they might let in one or two other people's dogs that they know of. They think it is a controlled environment.
But, you never know what could happen. Dogs get crazy, especially if other dogs are running along the fence and they can divert aggression to the dog within the enclosed area and you'll end up with a catastrophe, anyway. I really limit the interaction any of my dogs have ever had with other dogs because I don't want my dog to turn aggressive because of a negative experience."
Dogs that are aggressive need to be managed carefully to keep both themselves and the people around them safe. If you have an aggressive dog, it is important to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist. With proper training and management, many aggressive dogs can learn to control their aggression and live peacefully with people.
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