Aggressive behaviour in a dog refers to any behaviour connected with becoming still and rigid, growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, and nipping or biting. The purpose and motivation behind these behaviours are to increase distance. You cannot design a plan to modify your dog’s behaviour until you understand its motivation. The most common types of dog aggression include:
1) Fear Aggression
The dog takes an offensive posture to increase the distance from the trigger (e.g., human or dog). In short, the dog takes an attack-is-the-best-defence approach.
This aggression can also be directed at inanimate objects (e.g., vacuum cleaners, skateboards, scooters, bicycles and cars in motion.
Fear aggression can simultaneously present with avoidance behaviours (i.e., the dog tries to escape from the trigger) and aggressive behaviours.
2) Territorial Aggression
Aggression is directed toward humans or other dogs in the dog’s perceived “territory”.
Dogs presenting with this type of aggression can sometimes show few signs of aggression outside of their “territory”.
The intensity of the aggression can be significant.
The dog’s “territory” is typically the inside of their home but frequently extends to the area surrounding their home.
3) Idiopathic Aggression
An unpredictable type of aggression because the triggers are not known or understood. The word “idiopathic” means “relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for unknown cause”.
This type of aggression can be very dangerous, including sudden and severe outbursts with little to no warning. Owners describe seeing their dog’s eyes as being glazed.
It often has a neurological origin.