Educational Articles

Behavior

  • Aggression is defined as threats or harmful actions directed toward another individual and can include threat displays, lunging, growling, snarling, snapping and biting. In animals, aggressive behaviors are a means of communication.

  • This type of behavior in cats is usually quite confusing to owners. Initially the cat acts like they enjoy the physical contact and may even purr and rub against the person. However, after a variable period of time, the cat may become agitated and turn and bite the hand that is petting them.

  • Under stimulation, an excess of unused energy, and lack of appropriate opportunities for play can lead to play-related aggression. This may be exhibited as overly rambunctious or aggressive play, which inadvertently leads to injuries to people.

  • Redirected aggression occurs when a cat is aroused by another animal, person or event, but is unable to direct aggression toward the stimulus. For example, your cat is sitting on a windowsill and sees another cat out on the property.

  • Territorial aggression is aggression that is exhibited toward people or other animals (usually cats) that approach or reside on the pet’s property. Aggression can occur toward outside cats or to cats that live in the same household, especially new cats coming into the territory.

  • In order to ensure that there are no injuries and that all introductions are positive, a desensitization and counterconditioning program is the best way to ease or re-introduce a cat into a household.

  • Aggression may be defined as any threat or harmful behavior directed toward another individual or group. Aggression in dogs commonly includes body language or threat displays such as a hard stare, growling, barking, snarling, lunging, snapping, and/or biting. There are many different categories or types of canine aggression including territorial, possessive, maternal/protective, pain-related, predatory, frustration, social conflict-related, sexual, disease-related, and fear- or anxiety-related aggression. The most common presentation of aggression is fear or anxiety motivated. The treatment of aggression will depend on the cause of aggression. Aggression should first be discussed with your veterinarian regarding the most appropriate treatment.

  • Possessive aggression is aggression that is directed toward humans or other pets that approach the dog when it is in possession of something that is highly desirable, such as a favorite chew toy, food, or treat.

  • Territorial or protective aggression may be exhibited toward people or other animals that approach the pet's property. Generally, people and other animals that are unusual, less familiar to the dog, or most unlike the members of the household are the most likely “targets” of territorial aggression.

  • With a little effort, a lot of patience, the advice of veterinary professionals, and a new anxiety wrap, you and your dog may successfully weather the storm. Take some preventive steps to help distract your dog during storms and use food or toy rewards to make the time less stressful.