You may consider yourself a dog person. You may have had dogs growing up or have one as an adult. You likely have also done your best to teach your children that dogs can pose dangers as well as be friendly. Still, it is important to understand that a strange dog or even your own pet could show aggression when you least expect it.
Of course, most dogs will show warning signs that they feel agitated, scared or defensive. Understanding these signs and remembering to back off when a dog shows them could help prevent a serious incident that could lead to injuries.
Signs of building aggression
When a dog becomes tense, it can show a number of traits that indicate its discomfort. Some of those signs include:
- A still and rigid body position
- Lunging forward without making contact
- Showing teeth
Often, dogs will present tense behaviors that start out mild, like becoming still, and build to more intense actions, such as snapping and, possibly, biting.
Types of aggression
Dogs can become aggressive for a variety of reasons. Commonly, this aggression presents itself as a defense mechanism for the animal in the following forms:
- Defense aggression, which means that the dog feels fearful and wants to protect itself
- Fear aggression, which is similar to defense aggression in that the dog feels fearful and will act aggressively if cornered or feels trapped
- Protective aggression, which means the dog may act aggressively if it thinks its family is in danger
- Territorial aggression, which means that dog may act aggressively toward someone who entered its territory
- Social aggression, which means a dog who thinks of itself as the alpha or otherwise high in status may act aggressively toward those it perceives as lower ranking
Of course, these are not all types of aggression or reasons why a dog could become aggressive.
Dogs can attack
Though you and your children may do your best to steer clear of strange dogs and avoid actions that could heighten aggression in a dog, you could still end up the victim of a dog attack. Some owners let their animals roam free or otherwise do not practice good pet safety when the animal is on their property, and as a result, their negligence could lead to serious injuries. If so, you may have reason to file a personal injury claim in an Ohio civil court in an effort to pursue compensation for damages.