It is very common for your dog to show behavioral symptoms of anger like growling and revealing teeth. The depiction of symptoms of aggression by your dog can be extremely hard to handle.  Even calm dogs like golden retrievers can show symptoms of aggression. The underlying question is that why do some dogs become aggressive whereas others are completely calm? What are the factors that contribute to agitating the dog and how to cure them should also be addressed?

To effectively deal with aggression issues, it is very important to be aware of its underlying cause. Understanding the reasons for your dog’s aggression can be helpful in managing it by devising an outline to control the frustration and stop the undesirable behavior.

The most common causes of aggression in dogs are the following factors.


There is the wide range of illness that can make your dog extremely aggressive. For instance, if a calm, happy dog suddenly began to show aggressive behavior like growling or biting it could be due to an underlying disease or sickness. The universal cause of aggression in dogs is pain. The aggression can initiate with brain tumors, thyroid or any other disease. It is important to talk to your vet to accurately determine the cause of aggression.


Fear is a substantial factor in making your dog behave aggressively. Normally, dogs behave aggressively if they think they are in danger and require to defend himself. This takes place if the dog is cornered with no routes to escape, or in case he realizes that the hand raised to pat him was to hit him. A dog only bites if he is frightened and considers that there is no way to escape or defend itself except inflicting harm and pain to the other party.

Possession aggression

This type of aggressiveness is depicted due to possessiveness of a dog for its belongings, like food, treats or toys. A dog depicting possession aggression will growl if anyone tries to take food from his food bowl and tries to close in on his favorite chew toy. In some cases, he can even bite a stranger who enters the house.

The extent of possessive aggressiveness can vary from dog to dog and will be expressed differently. An example is that a dog might be indifferent and not react when you sit beside him and chews on his toy. However, the same dog might not be so indifferent to you sitting close by while he chews on a pig ear.


In some instances, aggression is caused due to frustration. This type of aggression is deemed as redirected aggression or barrier frustration. This type of aggression triggers when the dog is unable to attain something he desires. The inability is taken out in the form of frustration in any other direction.

For instance, a dog is tied up in the yard and spend the entire day trying to, for example, reach the dog across the street. Throughout the day, it will growl and bark from time to time when frustration reaches its peak. However, by the end of the day, when the owner unties it, it will redirect its frustration and bite the owner.  Frustration is very common who spend a lot of time tied up, leashed or confined in a crate.