It’s important to look at dog aggression from the point of view of involuntary learning sometimes.

How do people teach their dogs to demonstrate aggression? 🤔

Imagine: the owner makes their dog go through something that’s not exactly pleasant (trimming nails, for instance) without first teaching the dog anything about it, and then ignores all the discomfort signs.

In the end, their dog, desperate after trying to get to the owner using peaceful ways, resorts to biting them.
What does the owner do?

1️⃣. Stops the unpleasant action.

This ends up being negative reinforcement for the dog. It’s okay if it only happens once, after which the owner starts working on teaching the dog to handle unpleasant procedures.

But if the situation keeps repeating over and over again, the owner is basically teaching the pet that he/she can avoid unpleasant things by biting. So, biting becomes a common occurrence.

2️⃣. Thinks the dog is showing “dominance” over them and punishes him/her. In this case there are 2 ways the dog reacts:

• demonstrates obedience signals (hunched back, tail hidden between the legs).

Not everyone understands dog body language though and can react properly.

If the owner decides to continue the punishment, the dog goes into a “fight or flight” mode, and bites again.

Continued punishment causes even more fear in the dog, making him/her bite even harder. It’s a full circle, which can only be broken by the human, but not the dog.

This exact situation often causes dogs to change families or be put down, because their behavior becomes “worse and worse”, and they get aggressive easier and more often.

If after noticing the signs of obedience, the owner stop the punishment, the dog will most probably keep demonstrating them more often, but won’t learn to handle unpleasant procedures any better.

He/she might bite next time, and then demonstrate obedience to avoid the aggression of the human.

• The dog goes into the “fight or die” mode and bites the owner.

There might be different harsh reactions from the owner, but all of them tend to end with the full circle of further escalation of aggression