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Aggression in Dogs Toward Familiar People

3 min read



Animals exhibiting aggression towards familiar people require strict behavior modification therapy, and possibly medication. Behavior therapy involves eliminating or controlling situations that may trigger aggression. Veterinarians will help the owner identify the triggers and behaviors, so they can work to correct them. Some dogs will require a muzzle until the behavior is under control. Affection control (working to make the animal obey a command before they receive any treats) is also effective for behavior modification. In addition, desensitization can decrease the animal's responsiveness to anxiety and fear.


In some cases, physical activity can help reduce feelings of aggression in dogs. A low-protein/high-tryptophan diet has had success in reducing aggression. There currently are no approved medications to treat canine aggression, but surgically neutering aggressive male dogs is a common recommendation.


Living and Management


The treatment recommendations given to reduce aggression are designed to be lifelong and should be strictly and consistently followed by the dog's owner. There is currently no cure for aggression.




One of the best preventative measures is to not breed aggressive animals, and to begin socialization and hierarchy training at an early age.


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