How to Stop Dog Aggression Towards Owner

Owner-directed aggression is always a distressing experience for dog owners. Aggression towards strangers, while undesirable and possibly more dangerous, is relatively more understandable. However, when your own dog displays aggressive behavior against you, the person who loves and cares for them, many unpleasant emotions may be provoked.

Fortunately, owner-directed aggression is highly manageable. Don’t wave the white flag on your dog just yet! This type of behavior may be a result of other issues that you can address to correct it. 

What does Owner-Directed Dog Aggression Look Like? 

Signs of owner-directed aggression may not be as apparent as you think. Sometimes, small changes or behavior patterns indicate micro-aggression, before slowly building up to the much more serious cases such as biting. Just so you know, there are many dog toys for aggressive chewers. You should get one for your dog too.

Also, consider that a dog can be perfectly friendly and affectionate ninety-percent of the time and be aggressive on certain occasions. That’s why this form of aggression may be particularly hurtful to owners who are in tightly bonded relationships with their pets, indicating a problem with trust. 

Related Post: How can you train aggression out of your dog?

How do you explain this dog aggression type? 

Some experts have called this type of behavior, “dominance aggression.” This term, which widely used pack systems as its reference point, was commonly used in scientific behavioral textbooks published before the early 2000s. 

Invasions of dog’s space 

The behavior got its name because aggression directed towards family members instead of strangers usually occurred over resources or invasions of the dog’s personal space.

The usual triggers cover being disturbed while resting, sleeping, or eating, reaching for their collar, or experiencing physical or verbal-punishment. However, this explanation has become gradually discredited over the years as a theory. 

Dog’s aggression due to Anxiety 

It is a more commonly accepted idea that social status disputes do not play a role in behavioral problems. Most of the time, aggression stems from anxiety triggered in everyday situations. It is a mark of low impulse control and a low threshold for discomfort.

aggressive dog barking in park

What Can You Do to Adjust Owner-Directed Dog Aggression?

List what’s triggering it 

First, make a list of every kind of situation that you think triggers your dog’s aggressive behavior. Doing so will help you pinpoint areas you need to correct. 

Begin a training plan

You can either choose to avoid the situation or begin a training plan to correct it. For example, if your dog’s problem is with you being near their food bowl while they eat, you can either feed them in a separate bowl or find a way to gradually make them more comfortable with your presence while they eat. 

To know more about dog training, check out some amazing training tips for your aggressive dog.

Stick to rewards-based training

Training plans for more serious cases require guidance from a good trainer or veterinary behaviorist. As much as possible, stick to reward-based training, to get them to associate certain behavior with positivity. 

Don’t punish

Never punish your dog, as this increases their anxiety and, as a result, their aggression.

Wrapping up

The next time your dog starts growling at you, don’t panic. Calmly diffuse the situation, and make sure that you remain firm but gentle. Touch base with a specialist if you need to, but have faith that this problem can be managed.


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