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Published: Jun 18, 2012

Dogs are adored by many people for their companionship and love, but not all dogs are inherently good-natured. Although most dogs are raised to be well-behaved and gentle toward humans and other dogs, dog aggression is real and it is important to understand how to prevent an accident.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, aggressive behaviors are a means of communication among animals. Cats and dogs alike use aggression to resolve competition over resources such as food or territory. They also may become aggressive toward one another to escape threatening situations or to increase their potential to reproduce - like the aggression sometimes seen between unneutered male dogs.

It can be difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause of the aggression. If your canine is suddenly displaying aggressive behaviors like snarling and dog barking, it is important to consider any factors that might be causing the episode. Is there a resource it wants but fears it can't access? Where is the incident occurring? Even if you have determined the cause of the aggression, you should discuss it with your veterinarian.

Proper training and treatment of your dog can prevent aggression from developing, but it is also important to be cautious around strange dogs. You should also always teach your children not to approach a strange dog or try to pet it through a fence, and always ask an owner before petting an unfamiliar dog.