While dogs likely can't feel complex emotions like shame or guilt, they can experience more basic emotions like joy, love, fear and anger, according to "Modern Dog" magazine. The triggers for a pup's anger may differ for each individual dog, but there are some common things that can upset a pooch, possibly resulting in aggression or even an attack in some cases. Avoid angering your pooch by watching him for signs of upset during your interactions and treating Fido with love and kindness.
Observe your dog for signs of upset, anger and aggression during your interactions with him. These signs include a stiff body posture, growling, snarling, showing his teeth, lunging, snapping or even physically biting you. Stop whatever you are doing that is eliciting this reaction and walk away so you don't negatively reinforce this unwanted behavior or further anger the dog.
Avoid pestering, petting or otherwise interacting with your pup while he's eating or playing with a favorite toy. Some pups guard their resources and become angry when you attempt to interact with them when they are with their favored possessions or food, especially if you try to take these items away from them.
Don't make your dog interact with unfriendly strangers, people he doesn't seem to like or other people's pets that he doesn't get along with. Healthy socialization as a young pup with lots of friendly and calm people or other pets is desirable. Exposing your pooch to situations that upset and anger him, such as hanging around with unpleasant or cruel people, is not productive and will only serve to anger him, making him fearful and aggressive.
Avoid using negative punishment methods, including yelling, hitting or otherwise treating your pup cruelly. These methods are not only ineffective, but they can anger your pup and increase his level of fear toward you and other people.
Use positive reinforcement methods to train Fido. These methods involve giving your pup verbal praise and food treats to encourage the behavior you want. To discourage the behavior you don't want, simply ignore it or redirect it into behavior you do want. These training methods won't upset or anger your pooch in any way, but are constructive ways to teach him.
An Item You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Teach your dog the "Drop it" and "Leave it" commands so that you can easily get him to let go of objects or leave them alone in the first place without having to wrestle them out of his grasp, angering him.
- If you encounter a stranger's dog, don't approach him or play with him unless you are aware of his temperament. Poorly socialized dogs can become easily angered when meeting someone new by sudden movements or behavior the pup perceives as a threat to him or his owner.
- Hand-feeding your pup from a young age can help deter angry, possessive behavior around food later in life.
- If your pooch becomes very aggressive or violent when angered, work with a veterinary behaviorist to safely resolve his behavior issues.
- Modern Dog Magazine: Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience?
- Purina: Do Dogs Have Emotions?
- ASPCA: Aggression in Dogs
- Psychology Today: 10 Ways to Tell if Your Dog is Annoyed with You
- Animal Planet: Stopping a Dog's Excessive Guarding
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Defensive Dog Behavior
- Victoria Stilwell Positively: Why Positive Reinforcement (+R)
- John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images