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What is canine aggression?

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Aggression is a normal part of the way animals behave. Often people only consider aggressive behaviour in dogs to be a problem when it reaches biting, but it can include lesser degrees, such as; grumbling, growling, snarling, teeth baring and snapping at the air without making contact. Bites too can vary from light touches with the teeth through to inflicting serious injury.

Aggression is the outward expression of an emotion and can be used to communicate various intentions. Rather than being something that switches on and off suddenly, aggression is part of a range of behaviours that dogs have available to them to deal with life¿s challenges. Many of these behaviours are passive and it is only when the dog changes from trying to avoid a situation, through things like moving away or showing that they aren't happy, to actively trying to manage the situation, that we term it aggression.

When a dog has to cope with a particular feature of its life it has a number of options available to it. Aggression is simply a part of some of those options.

For more information visit the RSPCA: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/behaviour/aggression