Dog Behavior

Dog behavior is a dog’s primary means of communicating with humans and other animals. Dogs use behavior to express hunger, joy, a need to use the bathroom, and any other needs or emotions. Dog behavior can reveal a well balanced dog or can be an indication of aggressive tendencies that may increase the likelihood of a dog attack.

Natural Dog Behavior

Dog behavior stems from natural instincts, most of which are acceptable in the wild but may be difficult to rectify with a domestic household. Behaviors such as chewing, digging, scratching, marking, barking, and running away are part of the way that dogs explore and experience the world. When integrated into a household, however, these behaviors are seen as problematic.

Dog Behavior and Households

Many problems with dog behavior stem from a hasty decision made by the dog owner to take the dog into the home. Each dog is different, with different personality traits and needs. A dog should be introduced to all members of a household, including other pets, prior to inclusion into the home to determine compatibility. The dog’s new owner or owners should assess all of the dog’s needs and decide upon exercise regimens, feeding schedules, and other daily tasks that may be required. Failure to properly provide for the dog due to time limitations can result in an unhealthy, unbalanced, or even aggressive dog.

Training to Influence Dog Behavior

Dog training is the best way to influence dog behavior and should begin as soon as possible after bringing a dog into a home. Owners should work directly with the dog so that the dog sees the owners as the leaders. If owners opt to have a dog trained by professions, the owners should make it a point to be present during training and to be as involved as possible. A properly trained dog is less likely to engage in behaviors seen as problematic, and is much less likely to attack.

Aggressive Dog Behavior

A dog that shows aggressive tendencies is a danger to humans and animals. Aggressive dog behavior is natural in the wild, but is usually suppressed in the domestic setting. Aggressive dog behavior is a warning sign in any setting and must be addressed immediately in a household setting to prevent a dog attack.

Reasons that a dog may act aggressively include:

  • Pain
  • Illness
  • Territoriality
  • Redirected aggression
  • Fear
  • Self-defense
  • Provocation of predatory instinct

Responding to Aggressive Dog Behavior

If an unowned dog reveals aggressive tendencies or has attacked in the past, adoption agencies will often euthanize the dog. If a dog that is owned shows aggressive behavior, it is typically up to the owners to determine the best course of action. An exception to this is if the dog attacks and injures or kills a human or animal. A court may order euthanization if a dog attacks.

Aggressive Behavior Training


A dog that shows aggressive behavioral tendencies can sometimes be trained to acclimate to a household setting. This training should be done by a professional, to ensure that the proper methods are used and to avoid a dog attack during training. A dog that has shown aggressive tendencies should be kept away from children, as children may be seen as prey by the dog, and are inexperienced with common actions that may provoke a dog attack.




“Bringing a Dog Into Your Home.” The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States, 03 November 2009. Web. 16 Jan 2014. <

“Natural Dogmanship.” Dog Breed Info Center. Dog Breed Info Center, n.d. Web. 16 Jan 2014. <>.

“Pet Care.” ASPCA. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 16 Jan 2014. <>.