Understanding Fear Aggression in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment


Aggressive behavior in dogs poses a danger to humans or other animals, with probable physical injury.

Many dog owners in Sacramento fail to recognize the warning signs before their dogs bite them, leading them to believe their pups have suddenly taken an uncharacteristically violent turn. But that is rarely the case: warnings often precede attacks. Dogs rarely attack without providing some form of warning beforehand.

Different Kinds of Aggression

In California, aggression is a serious matter and is one of the top reasons why dog owners seek professional help from a professional dog trainer or a local veterinarian.

Common types of dog aggression.:


Directed to a person or animal who approaches the owner’s territory (home or owner’s property).


Also known as “resource guarding,” is when directed toward any person or animal by dogs who sense they will take away valuable resources like food or toys from them.

Maternal or Protective

Aggression is directed toward humans or animals by female dogs protecting their puppies.


Aggression against any individual or animal triggered by discomfort.


Aggression that arises incidentally to another form of aggression or emotional arousal. It occurs when a dog becomes frustrated when its target cannot be reached and instead redirects his aggression to other objects, persons, and other animals.

Social Conflict-Related

Aggression towards a person or animal familiar to your pup and usually motivated by internal conflict and various social interactions.


Aggression directed against another male or female dog. Commonly occurs during mating when male dogs compete to win over female dogs or when female dogs fight over access to male dogs.

Symptoms of Fear Aggression in Dogs


Aggressive chewing

Lip tension

The whites of the eye turn pink or red

Ears held back

Licking nose or face (with no food present)

“Punching” with the muzzle

Excessive vocalizations



Tail tucked under

Holding head lower than back

Showing the whites of the eye

Exaggerated yawning


Escape behaviors



Causes of Fear Aggression in Dogs


Abuse and traumatized events can have more of an impact during a puppy’s developmental phase. improper early socialization can make your pup fearful of strangers and lead them down an uncertain path in later years.


Shelters that impose confinement and overcrowding on canines may induce chronic fear and lead to aggression.


Certain breeds of dogs may inherit predispositions for fear and more susceptible to aggression due to fear.

Physical Disorders

Physical disorders that cause chronic pain can often trigger fear-driven aggression in canines.

Treatment of Fear Aggression in Dogs

Treating fear-induced aggression should involve working in cooperation between their owners and an accredited trainer