How to deal with redirected aggression in dogs?

Redirected aggression in dogs is an emotion that your dog feels and even though this can be corrected it can turn to bullying behavior. How can you help your dog with redirected aggression?

How to deal with redirected aggression in dogs?
Redirected aggression in dogs.

Redirected aggression in dogs is referred to as a situation whereby a dog is upset at something, an actual event, another pet, or a human and then turns his anger elsewhere because it is unable to direct it at the actual thing or event.

Often, a dog will strike at another dog or maybe even a person without being provoked, this happens when a dog is unable to vent the anger on the source that provoked it and this can sometimes be a result of frustration, stress, pain, or fear.

Displaced or redirected aggression in dogs doesn’t happen all the time just because a dog is provoked, sometimes a dog may have an injury or illness and it could be going through pain.

Some injuries and illnesses like arthritis, bone fracture, tumors, or some internal injuries may be causing the dog major discomfort and this may cause the dog to become unreasonably aggressive.

Aggression in dogs is a behavior that occurs for several reasons and in different circumstances, as difficult as this might seem sometimes, it can be managed and eventually corrected over time.

Aggression is a common problem and it can be so serious sometimes that it requires that dog owners seek professional help from animal behavioral consultants, veterinarians, or dog trainers.

Dogs can be aggressive when guarding their territories, protecting themselves or their offspring and this is a good thing until it is becoming an abnormality.

What is the redirected aggression in dogs?

Redirected aggression is a behavioral problem that can be found in all pets and humans, it is a type of aggressive behavior whereby dogs or human transferstheir frustration or stress onto the closest thing.

Many years ago, we thought puppies were born with “Blank Slates”, meaning they were born without built-in mental content, and, therefore if something bad happened it was our fault or it was as a result of the experiences and things we exposed our dog to. Now, studies have shown that genetics are in control, we can certainly positively expose them to new situations but we can not control the outcome or how they would respond to new situations.

Redirected aggression in dogs is unpredictable, as it could happen anywhere, at any time, and to anyone irrespective of their relationship with the dog. So, therefore, if you have a dog that demonstrates redirected aggression often it is best advisable to keep him away from other dogs and people until he has been evaluated by an expert because it will only get worse until he learns new ways to handle frustration and stress.

Redirected aggression in dogs is not revenge-seeking, it is simply when a dog takes out or transfers his frustration or stress on nearby objects, other dogs and it can even be on the dog owner. Unlikely any dogs plot revenge but redirected aggression in dogs is a behavior that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible because it can turn into bullying behavior if not addressed in time.

In order to solve redirected aggression in dogs, it is usually best to first understand the sources of the provocation that your dog is responding aggressively to.

How to deal with redirected aggression?

  • First and foremost, you should know that this aggressive behavior isn’t really directed at you but the dog is simply reacting to how his body feels, and this doesn’t mean that your dog is mean, doesn’t like you or you have a bad relationship with your dog.
  • Walk away! You can consider just walking away and giving your dog a chance to calm down if he is showing signs of aggression towards you for seemingly no reason. Leaving your dog to get over the feelings of aggression is best to ensure there is no unintended attack.
  • You should also try to ensure that the dog is set apart from any other pets or humans in the house at this point in time.
  • If you observed that your dog is looking at something outside the window with incredible intensity and that it is agitating it, you may quickly sprinkle some water at your dog, make a loud sound or clap your hands loudly to startle your dog and distract his attention from whatever it is that is agitating him and give him an opportunity to calm down.
  • Remember that you’re dealing with an aggressive dog and it is possible that the dog may claw you or even bite you in his emotional outburst so you should take proper safety precautions by wearing thick gloves or several layers of clothing.
  • More so, remember that it is possible for the dog to injure itself also, for that reason, you should try to control the dog’s behavior at this point without provoking it to react in a way that it could harm itself.
  • Try to avoid separating fighting aggressive dogs and if you must interfere, you should be extremely careful and be cautious of bites or scratches. You can use an object to separate them.
  • You should visit a doctor right away to get treated if you got bitten or scratched by the dog, even if it seems like something is not serious it can cause very severe infections if not treated.

How to calm an aggressive dog?

  • You should try to understand the type of aggression that the dog is demonstrating because that will best help you know how to deal with it.
  • Identify the source of the frustration and stress that makes your dog become aggressive.
  • Make sure your dog receives adequate exercise, training, and environmental enrichment that can reduce this behavior.
  • Use a loud noise to distract the dog if he is acting aggressively and you are afraid it could hurt someone including other pets.
  • Don’t try to calm the dog by petting it, it can interpret your approach as a threat from a larger animal and may bite or claw you even if it is your own dog. It is important that you stay away from the dog at this point.
  • Endeavor to play with your dog every day to manage its energy level because dogs need to work off their energy by being active and play playtime is a great way to do that.
  • Reward your dog for calm behavior by offering it treats and love when it’s open to it.

Redirected aggression is simply a response to an emotion that your dog feels and it doesn’t mean that your dog is mean or doesn’t love you. Even though this can be corrected it can become a bullying behavior towards other pets if not addressed in time. If your dog's aggressive attitude seems to be way beyond you, then you should consider consulting a professional.