The Andys Veterinary Hospital

Dog Aggression

Dog aggression is a character many dogs owners encounter with trepidation. There is no doubt that many dog owners are victims of bites from their own dogs, especially when they try to separate dogs fighting. While there are many others who have been ambushed by an aggressive dog.

There are animal factors like Hereditary or Genetic and Environmental factors that play a major role in dog aggression.

Animal factors include Breeds like Rottweiler are more likely to be aggressive than Golden retrievers. Females on heat or those that are nursing puppies can be aggressive as well.

Environmental conditions include lack of socialization, poor living conditions, excessive punishment and teasing by the children can be a source of aggression in dogs.

Dogs may exhibit more than one type of aggression;

  • Territorial: Normal between males or females
  • Fear: This is directed towards other dogs or even human which is as a result of nervousness from poor environment or handling of the dog.
  • Dominance: The dominant dog controls the pack and those that challenge his or her authority get into fights.
  • Frustration: Lack of socialization or playing with other dogs or even human cause aggression.
  • Misdirected aggression: Seen in dog fights where aggression is directed towards the person who is trying to separate them.
  • Predatory: Anything that can stimulate chase response or fast movements that stimulate even calm dogs.
  • Drugs: Some dogs on treatment with steroids (prednisolone) can exhibit aggression towards other dogs or human.

Early socialization of puppies and matching the right breed with the owner helps to prevent aggression. The goal is never to let a dog achieve dormant status on other dogs or even human. Behavioral modification like training on obeying crucial commands with food treats helps. Neutering helps in reducing aggression between dogs but has little effects on aggression towards human. When a dog is very dangerous to people, it is the responsibility of the owner to make drastic decisions to avoid unwarranted injuries or death to other dogs and more so to human beings.


Dr. Anderson Gitari. Bvm, Mvet Surg

Nairobi | Nanyuki
Phone: 020 2044155 | 0722752182 | 0736752182
Email: |

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