What Makes A Dog Behave Aggressively?

Dog-To-Dog Aggression is the number one frustrating and upsetting problem which I get more calls about from desperate dog owners than anything else.

I understand this problem all too well as my very first dog, Jake would become really aggressive and reactive anytime he saw another dog whilst we were out on our walks.

At the time I was only 15 years old and I wish I knew what I know now, as I would have perhaps been able to save Jake’s life and prevent him from dying a horrifically painful death.

I blamed myself for Jake’s death for many years after, but it was the driving force behind me wanting to study the canine species in great depth, so I could understand where I had gone so wrong with him and learn how to be a better dog owner for the next dog that came along.

You can watch and listen to Jake’s story here in this recent interview I did and find out why that awful day turned out to be a massive blessing in disguise!


Through Jake’s sad death, I made a lifelong vow that I would find the solution to dog aggression once and for all, no matter how long it took!

No amount of dog training or gadgets claiming to solve dog aggression worked for me and looking back now, I really should have reported my Vet for suggesting animal abuse, when he advised that I roll a newspaper up and HIT my dog hard on the nose with it!

Jake was very obedient when food was around but he wouldn’t listen to me at all or be the slightest bit interested in food when he was in full rage attacking another dog.

A muzzle made him worse and I shudder when I think back at the man in the pet shop selling me a choke chain and telling me to yank him hard on it everytime he wanted to become aggressive.  This kind of advice is extremely dangerous and so very wrong and will only make the aggression problem between owner and dog ten times worse!

I knew that to solve this problem I would first need to understand it. I needed to understand what really caused dogs to become so aggressive and want to attack like that.

338_25237556374_3063_nI spent the next 25 years, studying and researching the canine species in great depth.

My journey took me all over the world where I volunteered in animal rescue shelters and I got to work with some of the most traumatised animals in the world.

It was these very animals that became my best teachers.

As I learnt to study them and understand their secret language, they began communicating with me.

They shared some incredible insights with me and they told me from their point of view, how our species has become so lost and wrapped up in the commercial world of fear and greed that we have forgotten the laws of nature and how to work them to our advantage.

55424_10151097588636375_317348727_oI even went and studied wolves in their wild habitat and was able to get up really close and touch them. They had the most incredible energy and presence about them. They were calm, loyal, sharp, wise, beautiful and so enlightening and they had me completely spellbound!

Getting up this close to a wolf really enables you to see how many similarities our domesticated dogs have in common with wolves. Both are carnivores and both are great hunters. Both come with a sense of deep wisdom and knowing and both love and want to work closely with humans.

A wolf only becomes aggressive when he needs to hunt and kill for food, or if his pack or territory are in some danger or under threat from attack. He will of course look for the weak animals in the forest to hunt them down so to keep the balance of nature and the law of the strongest survives.

scan0009Every single canine that I met taught me something new and enabled me to really begin to understand where I had gone so wrong with Jake. I remember thinking, “I wish I had know all this when Jake was alive, I could have prevented his early and tragic death that night.”

The dogs gently reassured me and communicated to me that Jake was sent to me for this important mission and he bought many valuable teachings with him which he shared with me.

They reminded me that I had a special gift in understanding and communicating with animals and that I was put here to be a voice for them and bridge the gap in communication between man and canine so we could solve problems much faster and much more effectively.

Dogs have served man for thousands of years and they are indeed special creatures. They are the only species which has been able to really get this close to man.

Dogs mirror back exactly what’s going on deep inside of us, they bring us lessons and teach us how to live more in the moment and stop worrying, fretting and getting angry about so much stuff.

Let us not be so quick to judge others.

When a dog is displaying aggression then the general opinion is that somehow it is just down to irresponsible ownership! Its the humans fault!

Well I am here to share a different perspective on this opinion as I know I wasn’t irresponsible when I was a teenager and had issues with Jake.

I was just UNEDUCATED or I was given the INCORRECT advice from the so called pet professionals at the time, because they too WERE UNEDUCATED.

No one took the time to look at what the possible cause of Jake’s aggression was, they just gave out shoddy advice on how to manage the aggression which was just the symptom.

If you don’t treat the CAUSES of the problem, then problem will never ever go away.

Let us look at some possible causes to dog aggression: 

The laws of nature. Dogs work on the law of nature, they are hunters and they are wired to wipe out weakness and illness. When one dog attacks another dog or human, then before we judge that dog as being nasty and vicious, we need to ask “What weakness or illness was it trying to tell us about?” or “What possible threat or danger was present for the dog to feel the need to defend itself, its territory or its pack?”

Fear. When fear is present in a human or another animal then the heart will beat faster, and adrenaline will surge through the body. Dogs can pick up on these bodily changes and are more likely to react and bite in order to calm down the other person or animal or wipe it out.

Aggressive owner.  If a person shouts at, smacks or hits a dog, then they are transferring angry energy into that dog and teaching it, that in order to control a situation, aggression and violence must be used. Treating aggression with punishment, such as force, control or more aggression will never work at solving the problem and will make it ten times worse in the long run.

Food. Dog’s need a species appropriate diet to thrive in every way and keep them balanced and healthy. Processed pet foods, treats and dog toys are all laced with harmful chemicals that upset the balance of your pet and compromise their nervous systems. If you have an aggressive dog then detoxing all the sugar and chemicals out of its system is going to help the animal to become calm again.  This rule also applies to humans who have anger issues. Cut out all processed foods and sugar for a month and see how much calmer and in control you feel.

Prescribed medications from the vet can also cause a dog to become aggressive. We are seeing more and more evidence of dogs who have been given booster vaccinations every year or the rabies shot for pet passports to increase and aggravate a dog’s aggression. Anger stems from digestive issues such as liver or kidney failure, so again further investigation into the animal’s health should be given before just labelling it as a psychological problem.

Wrong equipment being used. Over 80% of aggressive dogs have thyroid issues and the thyroid gland is located in the throat. One yank on a collar or choke chain can serious damage the thyroid gland and cause further health and psychological imbalances and can aggravate an aggressive dog even more.

Pain. A dog is more likely to snap or bite if it is in pain in someway. 99% of aggressive dogs I have treated all have had tooth decay, gum disease and mouth rot. How grumpy do you get with a toothache? It is no different for dogs. Also every single aggressive dog I have every worked with has spinal or hip issues and are in alot of pain with them. A simple trip to the animal chiropractor can help.

I am currently running out a series of training seminars and workshops focusing purely on teaching pet owners more about the canine species. If you would like further training and education then please see below for details about my up and coming events.

For more details about my seminars and training workshops please CLICK HERE 

For private 1-2-1 lessons, please contact me through my Canine Angel Website


Written by Nikki Brown 

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