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3 Aggressive Behaviors Dog Owners Should Know

Dog owners have a legal responsibility to observe their pet’s behavior in order to discover any aggressive tendencies the dog may have. This must be done in order to prevent injury to people and other dogs. Below, we discuss three aggressive dog behaviors every dog owner should know.

#1. Territorial Aggression

Dogs are related to wild, territorial animals, such as wolves. Dogs’ evolutionary history means they can still have territorial instincts in them to protect their home or their “pack.” Aggressive tendencies associated with territorial aggression include:

  • Barking or charging at people who approach their home
  • Attacking or biting intruders, whether they be friend or foe

While some territorial aggression has been valued by dog owners because it makes them feel safer in their home, it’s vital that this behavior be strictly monitored. It’s possible that a dog will exhibit territorial aggression toward someone who is supposed to be in the home, such as a family member, delivery person, or someone hired to work in the building.

#2. Fearful and Defensive Aggression

Dogs, like most animals, have a “fight or flight” response in situations perceived to be dangerous. This can come through in any situation, whether it be in the home or at a dog park. Aggressive tendencies associated with these forms of aggression include:

  • Coming up behind someone and biting them
  • Showing teeth or growling

#3. Social Aggression

Another element descended from dogs’ wolf ancestors is their tendency to understand and follow social hierarchies. This actually helps to reduce aggression sometimes, because dogs in a social hierarchy know who gets to eat food first and who has to wait. However, there is a downside to this social hierarchy. Sometimes, the social hierarchy can be changed through fighting or aggressive behavior. Additionally, some dogs may feel they are ranked above their owners, and can display aggression toward their owners to enforce this belief.

Although dogs are known as “man’s best friend,” it’s important to remember that these animals are descended from wild ancestors and, sometimes, aggressive behaviors can come through.

If you have been bitten by a dog, our San Jose personal injury attorneys at (800) 900-0863 can help you determine liability and recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more.