A dog’s ears are pinned back, their eyes are glaring at you, they might even be snarling and showing their teeth. The dog has got so angry you’re scared they could even bite you. What can you do?
Sometimes, even the calmest dog can get angry and upset. Whether from illness, injury, fear, jealousy or frustration, dogs – like their human owners – can sometimes get angry even with those closest to them.
How to spot when your dog is getting angry
Despite the many thousands of years we’ve spent together, communication between dogs and humans isn’t always plain sailing. Despite what we may think, we can’t read each other’s minds!
While we often use our voice to communicate, a dog tends to use its whole body. So, understanding your dog’s body language is vital if you want to spot the warning signs that your dog is becoming angry.
- Yawning, blinking, lip licking – An early sign a dog might be feeling uncomfortable.
- Turning head or body away and avoiding your eyes – An unhappy dog.
- Walking away – The dog is trying to remove themselves from a situation that’s causing them distress. They want to be left alone and need a time-out.
- Creeping, ears back, tail tucked under – They may be feeling anxious or afraid and are trying to demonstrate submission. This is a middle ground between when the dog is trying to appease you and when it might turn to anger and aggression.
- Lying down with one leg up – Even more submissive. They’re worried and trying to let you know they aren’t out to hurt you.
- Stiffening up, staring, raised fur – The dog is feeling very threatened and is beginning to show signs of aggression.
- Growling and showing teeth – The most direct way of showing they are uncomfortable and may bite.
- Snapping – Usually in the air in the direction of the perceived threat. The final warning before a serious bite incident occurs.
5 Proven Ways to Calm an Aggressive Dog
The most important thing to remember is to keep calm. If your dog is acting aggressively and you react with anger, tenseness, a loud voice, or anything else that could also be perceived as aggression, then you’re just exacerbating the problem.
Here’s a simple way to remember it. Aggression + Aggression = More Aggression.
Our goal is to reduce aggression. So, you’re going to need to keep calm and steady. Don’t raise your voice or yell and don’t tense up. If you hold your dog’s leash tight once they start being aggressive, they could interpret this as a sign that they should continue to be aggressive.
Use a calm, quiet, but firm voice to command your dog when they’re being aggressive. Keep your body language relaxed so it doesn’t come off as threatening.
Once you show your dog that you’re calm and in control of the situation, they’re much more likely to calm down and follow suit.
Dogs are very in-tune with our emotions and feelings. If you’re afraid, your dog will sense it and will be afraid as well. Likewise, if you show your dog that you’re confident and unafraid, then they will also be less fearful and are less likely to display aggression
Use a Calming Diffuser
You can solve this problem with Relaxivet Dog Calming Pheromone Diffuser. You only need to plug it in and for best results, keep the diffuser connected for at least 7 days at all times. Calming diffuser refill is one of the best anti-stress diffusers for dogs that helps to reduce anxiety. A solution to decrease fighting between cats and allow them to live in harmony.
Avoid Triggering Situations
As we just mentioned, triggering situations can cause your dog to react aggressively. This could be strangers in the house, being taken to a new place, loud noises, or crowded scary places like the bus, subway, or beach.
It’s important that you know and understand what triggers your dog’s aggressive behaviors. Once you identify these triggers, you can take steps to avoid them. If you can prevent your dog from being triggered, you’ll be able to stop their aggressive behavior.
Of course, there are times when those triggering situations are unavoidable. When that’s the case, you’ll want to try suggestions number one and two. Try giving your dog a calming supplement before introducing them to a triggering situation. Once in the situation, remain completely calm with relaxed body language and a firm yet quiet and calm voice to let your dog know that everything is ok and you have the situation under control.
Make Your Dog Feel Safe
One of the main reasons that dogs act aggressively is out of fear. If your dog is afraid, aggression is just a natural reaction to try to keep whatever they’re afraid of at bay.
If you can show your dog that there’s no reason to be afraid, then the aggression will dissipate on its own.
You’ll need to show your dog that you’re in control of the situation. If you can tell what is causing your dog’s reaction, put yourself between your dog and the source of their fear. For instance, if your dog is reacting aggressively to a person, stand between your dog and that person. Speak to your dog calmly and firmly while maintaining relaxed but confident body language.
Your dog will quickly pick up on all of this and realize that there is no reason to be scared because you have everything under control. In the end, you just have to make your dog feel like they’re safe.
Socialize Your Dog
Dogs often become aggressive when new people, animals, places, or situations are presented. But if your dog is used to the unknown variables, then it won’t be as unnerving. As mentioned, fear is often the biggest reason for dogs to display aggression, so if you can make your dog more comfortable with these unknown situations, then they’ll be less likely to react with aggression.
To do this, you’ll want to introduce your dog to as many people, animals, and places as possible. Take your dog to your friends’ houses and let your friends bring their pets to your home. Bring your dog to the dog park where they can meet loads of people and pets.
The more often you introduce your dog to new situations, the more comfortable they’ll be in new places with new people. Once your dog is confident with meeting new people and seeing new places, you probably won’t see them reacting aggressively again.
Socialization also works best when implemented early. If you can start introducing your dog to new situations at a young age, then they’ll adapt quickly and won’t ever develop the fear of new people and places that many dogs do.