Dog Aggression: Reactive Dog vs. Aggressive Dog

✅ Fact Checked
Updated on January 16, 2023
Michael Colt, Bachelor Computer Science Degree & Computer Engineering.
Written by
Michael Colt, Bachelor Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science.
Ella Williams
Fact Checked by
Ella Williams
Dr. Michael Colt is a highly qualified veterinarian and animal scientist. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the care and treatment of animals, and a deep understanding of the latest scientific research in the field. Dr. Colt is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of animals, and is committed to providing the highest level of care to his patients. Holds a Bachelors Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Middle Tennessee State University.

It can be hard to know when your dog aggression is acting out of aggression and when he or she is just reacting to something that’s happening in their environment. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of dog aggression and explain why each might occur.

What is Dog Aggression?

Understanding Dog Aggression: Reactive Dog vs. Aggressive Dog

Dog aggression is a term used to describe the various behaviors that can occur between dogs. reactive dog aggression is a type of aggression in which a dog attacks out of fear or retaliation, while aggressive dog behavior is characterized by an intentional and excessive display of dominance and power. There are many different factors that contribute to canine aggression, but it’s important to remember that not all aggressive behavior is bad. In fact, many aggressive displays are simply reflections of a healthy pack dynamic.

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So what’s the difference between reactive and aggressive behavior? The key distinction lies in the motivation behind the respective actions. With reactive aggression, dogs are typically reacting out of fear or other negative emotions; with aggressive behavior, dogs are typically seeking to dominate and control their environment. Other key differences include the frequency and intensity of the types of behaviors involved, as well as the potential consequences for engaging in either kind of aggression.

So how do you know if your dog is exhibiting reactive or aggressive behavior? The easiest way to tell is if the behavior is occurring in response to something your dog perceives as threatening or inappropriate – for example, if your dog starts barking at passersby or

Causes of Dog Aggression

Understanding dog aggression can be difficult. But it’s important to remember that there are many different types of aggression. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between reactive and aggressive dogs. And help you understand why your dog may be acting out in a certain way.

Reactive Dog Aggression
Reactive dog aggression is often the result of a traumatic event or series of events. The dog may be afraid or traumatized, and may lash out in an attempt to escape or protect itself. This type of aggression is usually brief and sporadic, and tends to dissipate over time.

Aggressive Dog Aggression
Aggressive dog aggression is more persistent and severe. The dog may become violent in an effort to intimidate or confront people or other animals. This type of aggression can be dangerous, and can lead to injuries or death if not controlled.

There are several factors that can contribute to aggressive dog behavior: genetics, temperament, environmental stimuli (such as noise, smells, etc.), training methods, and punishment/negative reinforcement (positive reinforcement can also lead to aggressive behavior). It’s important to seek out professional help if you’re struggling to control your dog’s behavior; a qualified trainer can help you identify the root

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Symptoms of Dog Aggression

Understanding dog aggression can be difficult, but by recognizing the different types of aggression and the symptoms, you can start to make sense of what’s going on. There are two main types of aggression in dogs: reactive and aggressive.

Reactive aggression is a response to a specific event or situation that makes the dog feel threatened or uncomfortable. This might include things like being barked at, being chased, or getting poked with a stick. Dogs who display reactive aggression typically aren’t trying to hurt anyone, they’re just reacting out of fear or discomfort.

Aggressive behavior, on the other hand, is more serious and intentional. This type of aggression can involve biting, barking excessively, lunging at people, and chasing animals. Aggressive dogs often have a desire to dominate and control their surroundings. They may not necessarily be scared or anxious in situations where reactive dogs are, but they do have a purpose behind their actions.

There are several signs that can indicate whether your dog is displaying reactive or aggressive behavior. Some common signs of reactive aggression include lip latching (when a dog grins when showing teeth), growling vocals (when a dog barks or whines in

How to Properly Train your Dog for a Low-stress lifestyle

Understanding dog aggression: reactive dog vs. aggressive dog
There is a big difference between reactive and aggressive dog behavior. And knowing the difference is important if you want to keep your pet safe. Reactive dogs are typically fearful of new people or animals, while aggressive dogs are more interested in attacking or dominating their surroundings. Here’s what to look for to identify each type of dog behavior:

Reactive Dogs: These dogs are typically fearful of new people or animals. And may bark, growl, or hide when they see them. To train a reactive dog, start by creating a calm atmosphere and making sure the new person or animal is respectful of your pet. Once your pet feels comfortable around the new person or animal, begin training using positive reinforcement (such as treats) and positive punishment (such as a reprimand).

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Aggressive Dogs: These dogs are more interested in attacking or dominating their surroundings than being friendly. To identify an aggressive dog, watch for signs such as staring at the other person aggressively, baring teeth, or snarling. Start training your aggressive dog using positive reinforcement (such as treats) along with negative punishment (such as sending your pet away from the other person).


Understanding dog aggression can be a difficult task, as there are many factors that contribute to the development of aggressive behavior in dogs. This article will discuss reactive and aggressive dog behavior, and offer some tips for dealing with both types of dogs. It is important to remember that no single approach to managing aggressive behavior will work for every dog, so it is important to find an approach that works best for your individual pet.


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