While dogs likely can't feel complex emotions like shame or guilt, they can experience more basic emotions like joy, love, fear and anger, according to "Modern Dog" magazine. The triggers for a pup's anger may differ for each individual dog, but there are some common things that can upset a pooch, possibly resulting in aggression or even an attack in some cases. Avoid angering your pooch by watching him for signs of upset during your interactions and treating Fido with love and kindness.
Tip #1 - Observe your dog for signs of upset, anger and aggression during your interactions with him. These signs include a stiff body posture, growling, snarling, showing his teeth, lunging, snapping or even physically biting you. Stop whatever you are doing that is eliciting this reaction and walk away so you don't negatively reinforce this unwanted behavior or further anger the dog.
Tip #2 - Avoid pestering, petting or otherwise interacting with your pup while he's eating or playing with a favorite toy. Some pups guard their resources and become angry when you attempt to interact with them when they are with their favored possessions or food, especially if you try to take these items away from them.
Tip #3 - Don't make your dog interact with unfriendly strangers, people he doesn't seem to like or other people's pets that he doesn't get along with. Healthy socialization as a young pup with lots of friendly and calm people or other pets is desirable. Exposing your pooch to situations that upset and anger him, such as hanging around with unpleasant or cruel people, is not productive and will only serve to anger him, making him fearful and aggressive.
Tip #4 - Avoid using negative punishment methods, including yelling, hitting or otherwise treating your pup cruelly. These methods are not only ineffective, but they can anger your pup and increase
his level of fear toward you and other people.
Tip #5 - Use positive reinforcement methods to train Fido. These methods involve giving your pup verbal praise and food treats to encourage the behavior you want. To discourage the behavior you don't want, simply ignore it or redirect it into behavior you do want. These training methods won't upset or anger your pooch in any way, but are constructive ways to teach him.
Warning: If your pooch becomes very aggressive or violent when angered, work with a veterinary behaviorist to safely resolve his behavior issues.
By Susan Paretts
Modern Dog Magazine: Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience?
Purina: Do Dogs Have Emotions?
ASPCA: Aggression in Dogs
Psychology Today: 10 Ways to Tell if Your Dog is Annoyed with You
Animal Planet: Stopping a Dog's Excessive Guarding
VeterinaryPartner.com: Defensive Dog Behavior
Victoria Stilwell Positively: Why Positive Reinforcement (+R)
About the Author
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.