While most pet owners do not want to think about their dogs attacking another person, most dogs are capable of aggression. To avoid a disaster, dog owners and those who spend time around dogs need to know the signs of aggression.

The ASPCA explains what to look for in an aggressive dog. The more knowledge that a person has, the more likely he or she can prevent a dog bite.

What is aggression?

Dog aggression describes a wide array of behavioral problems. Animals may use aggression to negotiate interactions with other animals and humans. It can also be a threat to secure a dog’s safety or peace.

Aggression can include several different behaviors. Often, it may begin with different signs until it turns into an attack. Knowing the signs of aggression is the best way to prevent a dog attack. Often, dog owners are unaware of a dog’s warning signs before an attack. Due to this ignorance of aggression, they experience shock when a dog attacks or bites. Most dogs give a warning before a bite.

What are signs of aggression?

When a dog is about to bite, there are a series of behaviors that it may engage in. Some dogs will give plenty of warning, whereas others may only provide a second before it bites. The most common signs of aggression include:

  • Rigid body
  • Forward lunging
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Guttural barking
  • Teeth showing

These are not the only signs of a dog preparing to bite. One of the easiest signs to recognize is nipping. If a dog nips or quickly bites the skin, this may be a warning that it is feeling aggressive.