Keeping Your Family Safe: Signs Of An Aggressive Dog

Whether you come across a stray dog in your neighborhood or you rescue a dog from an animal shelter, it’s always important that you take precautions when dealing with an animal you don’t know. While some dogs are docile and would enjoy the opportunity to lick and play with you, other dogs are more protective and become aggressive when approached. In order to keep yourself and your family safe, it’s important that you know the signs of an aggressive dog.

Growling and Snarling

Growling and snarling at you is the first sign of aggression in dogs. Dogs tend to growl or snarl as a warning to those it finds intrusive or threatening. If you come across a dog that is snarling or growling at you, it’s always best to leave the dog be. Never approach a dog that is growling or snarling at you, and never stick your hand out to a dog that is showing signs of aggression.

Barking Aggressively

There’s a difference in the way a dog barks. They can bark for excitement, and they can bark for rage. A raging bark tends to be deeper and contains a mixture of barks with growls and snarls. If a dog is aggressively barking at you, it’s always best to leave the dog be.


If a dog is lurking towards you with a snapping motion, you want to leave the dog alone. A dog that snaps is a dog that bites, and a dog that bites can cause serious harm. Aggressive dogs are known to snap at people or objects that they find threatening, so use this as a warning sign to stay away.

Blocking your way.

If you are walking down a sidewalk and come across a dog that is trying to block your walkway, this is a form of aggression in the dog. The dog is trying to keep you confined to a certain area or trying to keep you out of an area they believe belongs to them. Aggressive dogs will try to protect their area by blocking you from it, so if you come across a dog that is blocking a certain area, it’s always best to walk away. Trying to walk through the dog or push it away will only result in the dog becoming physically aggressive.


The number one sign of an aggressive dog is biting. Even a small snip at you that doesn’t break skin is a form of aggression in dogs and should never be taken lightly. A dog’s bite is much stronger than humans, and a dog biting at full force can do severe damage to their victim, especially if they bite near main arteries or veins.

If you come across a stray dog that shows signs of aggression, it’s best to leave the area as quickly as possible and contact the authorities. This way, the dog can be removed from the area and the public can be safe.

If you have an aggressive dog in your home, you should bring them to the vet. It’s possible the dog is showing aggression due to a recent illness or injury, or it may stem from their past. Your vet can help determine the route of the problem and help you determine if your dog’s aggression can be controlled with professional help.


Peter Goldman is a veterinary technician and blogger for who often writes about dogs and how to easily spot and recognize their personalities.

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