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Are there common signs of dog aggression?

| Jul 15, 2021 | Dog Bites

With the summer in full swing, Southern California residents are likely seeing more and more animal activity all around them. From dog walkers getting to and from their destinations to crowded dog parks on the outskirts of your city, it is not uncommon to come face-to-face with numerous animals each day. Unfortunately, an aggressive animal can attack with little warning and no provocation.

Even though popular media would have people believe that a dog’s aggression is generally identifiable due to bared teeth, flattened ears and a wide stance, that is not always the case. While those might be the most obvious signs of aggression, there are other types that indicate bystanders, children and other pets are at risk for injury. Generally, experts identify two categories of aggressive behavior:

  • Dominant aggression: Pet owners will often joke about the personality of their dogs. A dominant personality, however, can lead to aggressive actions. Signs of dominant personality aggression can include the animal blocking the path of another person or dog, stopping eating to watch someone who is approaching, lunging at people or pets, or standing between the owner and other people or pets. These actions, taken individually, might not indicate potential danger, but when a pet exhibits numerous signs an attack could be imminent.
  • Fear aggression: Some pets might have a personality based on defensive-aggression. This fear-based aggression might be mistaken for kind or submissive behavior. Examples of submissive body language that can be indicative of fear aggression can include ears held back, avoiding eye contact, the lowering of the head, the lowering of the body and protectively tucking its tail between the legs.

A dog bite or animal attack can lead to torn flesh, amputations and broken bones. Even what might be considered a small puncture or laceration can become infected resulting in subcutaneous damage. It is wise to recognize the signs of danger and react accordingly.