Understanding Dog Aggression

Dogs become aggressive out of frustration and dominance.


Any breed can cause trouble but the bigger breeds can create bigger damage. This is where I find a lot of what I call my red-zone cases.

Its important to recognize the power of a strong breed like the pit bull, the Cane Corso and the Mastiffs. These dogs are very powerful and can destroy anything in an instant.

Remember that these dogs don't dream of being in the news when they grow up. Dogs don't premeditate bad acts like people do. Bad things happen when powerful breeds (or mixes of powerful breeds) live with humans who like the breed but don't understand the animal in the dog.

In a larger breed, frustration will intensify what the animal can do. Many people consider the look or popularity of a breed before thinking about whether the dog works for their lifestyle. This is a recipe for disaster.

Wanted: Leadership
To control a powerful breed you need to become the dogs pack leader and establish rules, boundaries and limitations. You need to fulfill the dog as Nature intended him to be fulfilled.

Dogs become aggressive out of frustration and dominance. The frustration comes from a lack of exercise and the dominance comes from a lack of calm, assertive leadership.

I work with owners of many red-zone dogs. First I work with the owners to establish them as pack leaders and to understand the animal in their dog.

I also explain to the owners the importance of exercise. Physical activity burns the dogs excess energy and maintains his healthy state of mind. This is important because in order to talk to the mind you need to remove the energy from the body.

If you live with an aggressive dog, I urge you to find a professional dog trainer to work with you and your dog. Many so-called aggressive dogs can be rehabilitated with time and dedication, and we owe it to our dogs to try.

Next Step: A Success Story

Cesar and his pack
Get more tips from Cesar.

Note: Cesar Millan is a professional. Please consult a qualified trainer before attempting these techniques with your dog.

For more information, visit Cesar Millans Dog Psychology Center where the express purpose is to rehabilitate and maintain a dogs natural state of being.


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Robin   kennesaw, Georgia

3/17/2015 3:38:07 PM

I have a 15 month old yorkie named max he is a great dog ive had 2 previous yorkies..he shows aggressive tendencies running around the back yard he will bark if im not with him. He jumps up and bites the air..we recently adopted a puppy and now he shows aggressive behavior towards the puppy. Hes very protective towards my grandaughter shes 5 she loves to kiss and play with max but i am afraid he will bite her in the face.I am maxs master.but their are 5 of us in the household.He no longer listens to commands from me hes all over the place. I take him for walks most evenings so he does get plenty of excerise. Out of the 4 yorkies ive had max is literally hell on paws! I need some suggestions to put max back on track with me as his master before things get out of control.

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Vicky   Chantilly, Virginia

1/26/2013 10:27:07 AM

I have a 2 year old mutt, not sure of all the mix. We notice if someone comes over with a child he does not like them. He growls and trys to bite at them. What can we do to make him behave when small children are around?

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Gina   Fehrenback, North Carolina

1/16/2013 11:03:47 PM

Needing helping with an aggressive shihtzu who snaps if other dogs get near us or mainly my husband when he plays with him if his face get to close to the shihtzu then he snaps as well so far has gotten my husbands nose twice we rescued this dog two yrs ago I have no problems with him at all

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Arlova   Melbourne, Florida

1/14/2013 4:59:07 PM

I have a 8 1/2 year old Cairn Terrier who has been very calm and non aggressive. But recently she wants to attack most of the dogs we meet. Do you have any suggestions?

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