Canine Behavior and Relationship Consultant
Posted June 25, 2019 at 08:14 AM Under "Pet Behavior & Training"
Seven Roots Of Aggression

Seven roots of aggression

When we look at a behavior we don’t treat just the expression of it, but the underlying cause of the behavior.
For example if the dog displays growling around his food bowl, we define it as food aggression, and we would correct the growling. The dog would then chose another way to display his concern, usually snapping or bite. In fact growling is not sign of aggression but a sign of concern that has a deep root in the dog’s psyche.

I’m many cases trauma is the primary cause.
I hear many times from my clients: “We adopted our dog at 8weeks . We brought him home from the breeder ourselves and have done nothing but love him. Why is he aggressive?”

When people surrender their dog because of aggression we need to understand that it was likely not the dogs fault and/or the people didn’t know how to establish or improve their relationship with their dog.

If the dog goes into behavior assessment or foster care the behavior the dog was surrendered can only successfully treated if we understand the root of the dispute and help the dog get back on track.

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  • November 27, 2019 at 08:37 AM

    Interesting....but how does this change with HOW to deal with it? Or does it? Might you give an example of how you'd deal differently with food aggression?

    • November 27, 2019 at 08:50 AM

      Hi Diana, thanks for sharing your problem. Can you describe your dogs behavior? When does he show it? How does he show it? And who is present when the dog shows food aggression?

  • November 27, 2019 at 08:37 AM

    I don't believe that we can always identify the root of the aggressive behavior. I feel that the most important thing to do when dealing with aggression is to identify what causes the behavior (antecedent) and what maintains the behavior (consequence). Although there can be many reasons why a dog may exhibit aggressive behavior it does not change the way that I train a dog exhibiting aggressive behavior.

    • November 27, 2019 at 08:48 AM

      Thank you for your comment. I agree we will not be able always able to identify the exact route of the dogs aggression. If we see it as such. However understanding that the dogs behavior has two main functions either to gain more or to avoid. This will narrow it down to 50%.

      Having the history of the dog will further help narrowing down what causes the dog to react a certain way.

      Another factor is to look into the breed traits of the dog, which will additionally help to see if this behavior is based on bread traits or environmental factors.

      Some behaviors serve multiple functions.

      Here is important to understand the breed traits, have experience looking at body signals. And to help the dog learn how to build secure attachment relationships.

      From my experience, over the years, you can take care of 80% of behaviors by helping the dog learn how to build secure attachment relationships first with his caretaker, then with people and pets in the immediate close environment, And finally generalize his experience with strangers.

  • June 26, 2019 at 10:54 AM

    If you read the document, what are your thoughts?