Kids and Pets: What to Do if Your Pet Turns Mean

Pet Turns Mean

Shelters are wonderful places to find your next furry BFF. And you’re helping give an animal a forever home. But what happens if the dog or cat starts showing signs of aggression?

The solution is all about noticing the warning signs and managing the behavior before it escalates into something you can’t control.

Dogs and Why They Act Out

Dog aggression can show up in separation anxiety and destruction, biting, and fear among other things. One of the first things to do is remain calm.

Dogs pick up on panic in a human which can increase their anxiety. Your dog didn’t come out of the womb as an aggressive pup. That behavior happened over time.

Defining Canine Aggression

Aggression is a catch-all term for a whole host of behavior issues. Know that things like teeth baring, lunging or growling is the precursor to a bite. Take a good look at what is upsetting your dog. Is it a male or a female human? Is it another dog and he is guarding you and his new territory?

Determining the cause will help you deal with working out the problem. Call your vet and get a recommendation for a behavior expert. If you have adopted a senior dog, he may be suffering from confusion and that could make him lash out because he feels insecure.

Can Dog Aggression Be Cured?

It can be managed, certainly. If you are afraid your dog will bite, a way to manage this is to use a soft muzzle and work with a trainer.

Some behaviors can be minimized and even eliminated especially when you understand the warning signs and cut off the behavior before it escalates.

Cats: How to Handle Feline Aggression

Cats can show the signs of aggression just like dogs and there are signs to pick up on just as you can with dogs. For cats, aggression can show itself in a couple of ways.

Play Aggression

We’ve all laughed at cat videos watching kittens rock back and forth, move sideways and pounce. This is part of their normal hunting behavior using an element of surprise.

The best way to short cut any aggression that is tied to play is to distract the cat before she moves into attack mode. Using play is helpful to disengage her but keep your hands and feet out of the way.

Petting Aggression

Has this happened to you? Your cat is perched on your lap, you’re petting her and bam! She turns, bites you and jumps down.

You may be scratching your head wondering what just happened and here’s one answer. Cats feel static electricity in a big way. Your hand could be creating that static and it’s painful so she lashes out.

If your cat’s aggression turns intense, reach out to a cat behaviorist for help.

Aggression in your pet isn’t fatal. Put a plan in place and work to read the signs and short circuit the behavior.

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