What Is Owner Directed Aggression?
- Usually occurs in situations involving access to preferred resources, during interactions such as petting, moving, handling and reprimanding, or attempting to take objects from the pet
- Aggressive responses may range from mild growling to lunging and injurious bites. Responses may be unrelated to the suspected level of provocation.
- Common triggers include standing or staring at the dog, prolonged petting, manipulation of the body, reprimands, removing items, disturbing while resting, proximity to food or valued toys, dog’s uncertainty about the outcome of an encounter.
- May occur concurrently with territorial aggression, dog aggression, stranger aggression, food aggression, and possessive aggression.
- Punishment may increase rather than decrease aggressive responses.
- Not always motivated by the desire to control, but is often anxiety and fear based.
- Some dogs appear confident while others appear anxious–body postures and emotional affect can change over time as the animal learns how to manipulate the outcome
- Preventing human and canine injuries is the first concern.
- Some cases may be impulsive and unpredictable, with injurious and dangerous consequences.
- Euthanasia is the only way to be sure your dog will not bite or cause injuries in the future.
- Certain family dynamics i.e. young children, immuno-compromised, elderly, and disabled persons may make keeping the pet dangerous and impractical.
- Re-homing the dog may not be practical or safe.
- All known situations that evoke aggression must be avoided.
- All family members need to comply with treatment recommendations.
Managing Owner Directed Aggression
- Do not allow the dog on the furniture or sleep in the bed.
- Avoid valued treats or toys. All treats should only be those that can be quickly consumed–like a dog biscuit.
- Pick up toys.
- Owner controls playtime and activity.
- Do not physically punish or reprimand the dog.
- Do not attempt to take items the dog may have or want. Instead, offer an alternative activity or trade at a distance for a food reward.
- The use of a basket muzzle may be necessary.
- It may be necessary for the dog to drag a leash around the house (supervision required)
- Limit physical contact with the dog, including petting.