Dog People Aggression

Dog People Aggression

dog sniffing hand

Dogs might be our best friends, but they are still another species. We have different ways of communicating, and sometimes dogs can’t read people’s intentions correctly. Dogs communicate with barks, growls, snaps, bites and attacks. We need to teach them, just as some humans need to be taught, to trust us and to control their emotions and not react when scared, upset or startled by becoming angry or aggressive.  There are many possible reasons for dog people aggression.

Socializing while young

Usually, the main problem causing dog people aggression is that, when a dog is very young, he did not get enough socialization with humans. Behaviorists set a goal for puppies that 100 people handle them before they are 12 weeks old. That way, he sees all types, sizes, shapes & outfits of humans and becomes comfortable with anything that comes at him. Without proper introduction to a variety of people at a young age, your dog will lack some social skills and not learn how to read people. As a puppy, he might have just shied away from being petted or ran away from visitors in your house but now, as an adult, he is trying to stand on his own and defend himself and/or his household from an uncomfortable situation. So, now he growls or snaps or lunges at strangers. And, guess what? It works. The people trying to interact with him backed off. Lesson learned! It’s good to defend yourself against people.

Bad experiences

Sometimes, even though he had some good socialization, your dog was a little shy. If he didn’t get enough confidence around people and different situations and get taught how to properly interact with humans, he could decide new people are not good thing. Or perhaps when he was young, he learned snapping at someone made them stop brushing him & hurting his skin – or it kept them from trying to pick him up. So he learned that being aggressive made people stop doing things he didn’t like. And, of course, many rescue dogs did not have a chance to really bond with humans and learn to trust them. People might have hurt them. And, we certainly cannot blame them for not trusting people after that.

How we are affected

So naturally we, as owners, are embarrassed. Or, we get worried that our dog is going to bite. We now cringe when someone tries to pet our dog because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Our stomachs drop, we avoid people on the street, we walk our dog late at night when no one else is around, and we don’t invite people over any more. But, when we cringe or get nervous, we’re letting our dog know something is wrong. We set our dog on high alert. Now he has to protect his scared owner as well as himself. The cycle is getting created and getting worse.

How to stop it

We live in a dense area. We cannot avoid letting people pet our dogs forever, and we shouldn’t have to. Our dogs should be happy to meet new people and we should all be relaxed and happy when out on our walks or inviting our friends over to visit. When you work with SF Dog Connect, you’ll learn how to change your reaction as well as your dog’s so that you both become more comfortable and confident around other people. We’ll teach your dog that it’s great fun to meet new people and get petted. You can invite people into your home with confidence, and pick up or brush your buddy whenever you’d like. You envision it. Together, we’ll make it happen.


We are the SF Bay Area’s experts in dog aggression.  Schedule an appointment today!


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