Sunday, June 25, 2006

Types of Dog/Shih Tzu Aggression

Types of Dog/Shih Tzu Aggression

By nature, Shih Tzu is generally not an aggressive type of dog. However, there are exceptions and in this article I will discuss 4 types of dog aggression that could be a warning sign to the owner that his Shih Tzu is in need of professional help.

Four types of dog and possibly Shih Tzu aggression are:

Dominance Aggression Toward People
Interdog Dominance Aggression
Fear Aggression
Territorial Aggression

Dominance aggression toward people: Dominance is the driving force behind all canine aggression. Without dominance dogs and Shih Tzu also would not be able to stand up for themselves. Even a Shih Tzu with a submissive type temperament will have a small amount of dominance behaviors, enough to warn intruders off a favorite food, toy or circumstance. Protection of the Shih Tzu’s valued assets can be virtually the only sign of dominance. An aggressive response by a dominant Shih Tzu may also occur when the Shih Tzu is prevented from doing something it wants to do, in response to manipulations around the head and neck or when the Shih Tzu is disciplined. Different dogs and different Shih Tzu have different priorities with regards to what will “tick them off.” Dominance aggression is also dependent upon the time, place and circumstance. Dominant Shih Tzu is not likely to become aggressive toward the person he perceives as his leader. Dominance aggression is the primary way dogs and Shih Tzu establishes their hierarchical structure and relationships with each other. Therefore, some dominance aggression in dogs and Shih Tzu is to be expected.

Interdog dominance aggression: This is a dog or Shih Tzu that constantly picks fights with other dogs. The subordinate dog defers to a dominant dog by averting his eyes; holding the head low, body hunkered down, tail tucked or held low, which is the canine equivalent of waving a white flag. Treatment of aggression between dogs is not easy. You can, however, keep your interdog dominant Shih Tzu on lead when he is likely to be confronted with other dogs. Seek professional help if your Shih Tzu continually exhibits this type of aggression.

Fear aggression: Fearful and insecure dogs or Shih Tzu may exhibit aggression whenever they feel threatened. Often there has been a point in these dogs’ lives when they were exposed to some unpleasant experience involving a person or another dog. Many Shih Tzu from rescues, pet shops or puppy mills may acquire fear aggression. A Shih Tzu purchased from a reputable breeder and then mistreated by new owners can also acquire fear aggression. Fear aggression involving people are often men and children, and almost always strangers. Professional help is often needed for this type of Shih Tzu and most often the cause for the fear aggression can be ascertained.

Territorial aggression: Some Shih Tzu aggressiveness to strangers and other dogs occurs when they are approached within their own space or territory. The territory can be the owner’s home and property. They will bark and otherwise attempt to intimidate intruders until such time as it is clear that the visitor is welcome by the owners.

One very positive side of dog aggression is that a good guard dog is better than any alarm system. A house with a dog is far less likely to get burglarized. Many times the house with the dog or dogs remains unmolested. Just having a dog with you as you walk is a deterrent for many would-be attackers.

Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. Sign up at: Designer Dog Clothes are offered on the website.

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