What Is Redirected Aggression?

Have you ever tried to break up a dog fight and your dog turned around and actually took its frustration out by giving you a big bite on the hand? Yep, it has happened probably at least once to any person that has gotten between two fighting dogs, but the question is why?

Your dog didn’t really want to bite you, however it was in the middle of a fight, and you just happened to get in the middle of the fight. It’s called redirected aggression. For those of you that still doesn’t understand, let me give you a human example of how this might happen.

Two neighbors get into a fight in the front yard and their wives run over to break it up. As one wife grabs her husband to pull him off, he swings and punched her in the nose…redirected aggression.

Quite often you can see an example of this when two dogs are at a fence barking at a passing dog walker and his dogs. Since they can’t get through or over the chain link fence, one dog turns around and snaps or bites at his buddy….redirected aggression.

So when I have clients that tell me their dog bit them while barking at a passing dog when they were out for a walk, I explain the reason.

So how do you avoid it? Good question, and it sort of depends on the situation. Never get between two fighting dogs. Separate them differently by using a water hose, a loud whistle or even a small air horn.

What about when you are walking your dog, and it goes crazy about another dog? Training will do the trick. Teach your dog some obedience so that you can give your dog a command as simple as a sit-stay while the other dog passes. You can also do something to distract your dog. For example, you can offer a high value treat that your dog may find more important than another dog and keep him busy while the other dog passes.

Redirected aggression is something that can be controlled with some good obedience training. Not just so-so training, I mean having a dog that accepts you as the alpha and obeys your commands even in situations that include a distraction.

It’s a fact that with as little as 15 minutes worth of training a day, you can have the best trained dog in the neighborhood. Give it a try, it will be good for you and your dog.


Do you need help with an aggressive dog?  We can help.  If you are in Nashville, TN,  Chattanooga, TN,  Clarksville, TN, Knoxville, TN, Huntsville, AL and Indianapolis, IN visit our website and give us a call.

Please remember, we can help you with an aggressive dog no matter where you are located.  In fact, we have clients all over the U.S. simply give us a call, so we can tell you how.

Until next time,

P.S. Do you need some advice from a Canine Behavior Specialist?  If so, CLICK HERE now!

About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists, which is headquartered in Nashville, TN, but serves clients all over the U.S.  If you have a dog with aggression, behavior problems or simply needs training, feel free to contact him.

Wayne has also been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990, and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network.  If you would like to become a Professional Dog Trainer, he can get you started.