Learn about reasons a dog may be aggressive and how you can help manage that behavior.

April 19, 2023


By Julie Schirado

At Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue (FFRR) our phones ring every week with people begging us to help with their aggressive dogs – and sometimes even cats.

I do believe we can help most people with aggressive dogs but this would be the single most common behavioral issue (with the longest wait list) that we have to date at FFRR, and it takes many weeks if not months to get these owners and their dogs some help. By the time most people call us they are beyond frustrated and simply don’t know what to do, and they are at the last resort stage. It doesn’t help to tell people that training is the problem, or lack of it. What we can’t train, we must manage.

90 percent of all dog behavior issues come from lack of exercise – imagine that!

My list of questions to the owners are:

  1. Have you had your animal in to the vet to make sure it isn’t sick/hurt? (It’s been known to happen and I’m pretty crabby when I’m sick/hurt myself.)
  2. What do you feel started the aggression? And how has it elevated?
  3. Tell me as much as you can about the situation you and your pet are in? Are their specific people involved, did you just move to a different environment, other animals, any new animals in the house, exercise routine, feeding practices, new babies, etc.

Causes of aggression in Dogs Infographic - Furry Friends Rockin' Rescue

There are many types of aggressions: Territorial, Protection, Possession, Fear, Defensive, and Social. It helps to know what kind of aggression we are dealing with as some can be managed fairly easy, and some are terribly difficult to deal with.

After we chat for a bit about their pet and I touch on calming agents such as CBD chews or oils, anxiety meds, a really good workout routine (treadmill), getting the dog used to muzzles, social support, and professional support with trainers and behaviorists, and last but not least, managing the animal where it’s at until we can help find a solution.

With each future newsletter edition I will try to break issues down and offer some suggestions on what people can do about them. It is vitally important that we socialize our puppies and work with them early and consistently so this problem can be dealt with at a young age.

We encourage people to reach out to us for help but please remember that in the rescue world nothing happens overnight – especially with aggression, but we try to help however we can.

Kudos to our volunteers at FFRR for helping our Tough To Adopt Out Dogs: Gabby, Buster, Chloe, Blue, Jack, Petey, Teeny, Chico, Leo, Sarge, Storm, Buddy, Carl, Ripley, Cadet, Titus, Freddie, Libby, Oakley, Wallie, JB, Charlie, and Hela!