Any kind of dog aggression, and there are close to 20 different kinds of identifiable dog aggression can have serious consequences.
Dogs clinically diagnosed with dominance aggression, which can also be called conflict aggression, obsess about rank order. In other words they are in conflict with their owners over control of the environment (the home, the back yard) and the dog is ready to do battle over this at any given moment
The dog has no normal social tolerance for people who invade the dog’s own personal space as well. This would show up as an intolerance by the dog to being touched when you try to pet him, especially on his backside. And, in some cases the dog might be insistent on being touched ONLY to turn and snap or bite if your do indeed try to touch him. These dogs seem to lack any other tools or methods to resolve dealing with owners, owner’s friends, or people who tend to get in “the dog’s” home or yard during daily, normal home activities or even the dog’s personal space.
Working with this dog as a puppy to begin desensitizing him to being petted, correcting any inappropriate nipping or biting and redirecting to a sit or down, would, in the long haul, prevent snapping or biting as an adult dog.
Other tools an owner could give their dog that would be more appropriate than snapping or biting are commands such as sit, down, leave it, come, go to your bed or “look at me” – all adequately taught by the owner over time since puppyhood.
Providing this type of dog with clear expectations and boundaries on “who does what for whom” (dog sits to earn food, petting, toys, etc) will provide owners with more of a hassle-free life with their dog.
A total lack of structure or “owner leadership” from the very beginning begins to set this dog up for endless indulgence of food, space, toys and love and affection. He never develops a way to cope with the frustration that eventually develops in his mind when he doesn’t get what he wants right away? Remind you of raising kids?
Set boundaries for your dog right away. Put your dog on a learn-to-earn program of sits and downs for everything they need from you i.e. food, treats, praise, love, affection, walks, potty breaks etc. Begin early and avoid conflicts later!
Be as comfortble with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”
Jim Burwell, Jim Burwell’s Petiquette