CBD for Aggressive Dogs

CBD for Aggressive Dogs

Aggression can be one of the most common reasons why pet parents seek professional help for their pups. Aggressive canine behavior is defined as hostile, destructive, or injurious behavior towards either another animal or person. When it comes to finding the right help for this type of behavior, it’s critical to first determine the cause of this aggression. There are a variety of reasons that can cause aggressive behavior in dogs including guarding territory, a family member, or resources; feeling fear, frustration, pain, or prey drive; and more. In all of these scenarios, a dog may be pushed too far and go beyond the normal reactive behavior to being aggressive. Before we learn more about CBD for aggressive dogs, let’s take a deeper look at this complex issue.  

What Behaviors Can Lead to Aggression In Dogs?

Understanding some of the behaviors that can quickly escalate to aggression is an important first step.


Being reactive can be commonly confused with aggressive behavior. With a pup that has reactive behavior, they can overreact to certain situations or stimuli. There are a number of underlying causes that can cause reactivity to develop in a dog. Lack of socialization, insufficient training for self-control, traumatic experiences, genetics, or a combination of these causes create this behavioral trait. Fear is often the driving force behind reactivity. Reactive dogs will usually have certain triggers like small children, men with hats, or situations where the dog feels trapped on a leash. 

Fight or Flight

Fear plays a main role in both reactivity as well as aggression. Typically, dogs will run away from situations that scare or threaten them. In certain situations where running isn’t an option, a dog may decide to fight for self-protection. During the fight or flight response, the only warning signs given may be body language. Lack of socialization can also cause this fearful response among dogs. 

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding is an evolutionary trait from ancestors that had to defend their resources in order to survive. Dogs engaging in this behavior can guard a variety of items including food, bones, toys, sleeping areas, and even people. In order to combat resource guarding, training is needed. Teaching your pup “leave it” training can help minimize the risk of this characteristic turning aggressive. Pet parents can also exchange objects their dogs are guarding with treats.

Leash Reactivity

Dogs that act reactivity when they’re leashed often bark, growl, or lunge towards certain things that make them scared or nervous. These triggers usually include people or other dogs. When dogs present this type of reactive behavior, they are trying to prevent a fight with a proactive threat or by creating greater distance between the threat and themselves.

Common Behaviors Mistaken for Aggression

Here are some common behaviors that are mistaken for aggression:

  • Nipping puppies: Puppies nip and mouth because that’s how they interact with their world. When puppies play, they can sometimes nip harder than they should. This type of nipping doesn’t come from a place of aggression but often means that the pup is over-stimulated and is in need of a break.
  • Rough play: Dog play is a critical part of canine interaction and includes mock fighting. Puppies learn how to use this behavior properly from their peers, making socialization with other dogs very important at an early age. It may look intense and even appear aggressive, but is perfectly safe if both dogs are enjoying themselves and respecting each other’s body language. 
  • Physical discomfort: For abnormal or unexpected growling or snapping, this can often stem from physical discomfort. If your pup is sick or in pain, they may act out and require a vet visit to determine if there’s a medical cause. 

  • Body Language for Aggression In Dogs

    Understanding your dog’s body language is crucial for spotting potential aggression or other concerns that can lead to aggression. 

    Signs of Anxiety or Fear

    • Panting
    • Sniffing
    • Sudden scratching
    • Lip licking
    • Yawning when not tired
    •  Tail tucked underbody

    Signs of Arousal

    • Eyes intense, open widely
    • Ears forward, mouth closed
    • Body tense and forward
    • Tail high, slowly wagging
    • Hackles raised

    Signs Prior to Aggressive Behavior 

    • Signs of anxiety, fear, or arousal
    • Showing whites of eyes
    • Growling
    • Showing teeth
    • Tense body
    • Intense eye contact
    • Raised fur

    Treating Aggressive Behavior In Dogs

    Once you have a better idea of your dog’s triggers or what may be the underlying cause of aggression, you can take the right steps towards treatment. If your pup normally isn’t aggressive but suddenly develops this behavior, they may have an underlying medical issue. There are a number of conditions that can cause aggressive behavior in dogs, making it crucial to visit your vet. Your vet will be able to determine if there’s a medical reason and what the appropriate treatment is.

    If your vet has ruled out a medical problem, the next step is working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Since aggression is a serious, complex problem, you’ll need professional help and shouldn’t try to fix it on your own. Working with the right professional can help you find the root cause of your pup’s aggression and create a subsequent plan in managing it. 

    In certain situations, training isn’t enough and a comprehensive plan including medication or therapeutics may be required. Medication may act as a temporary tool for helping your dog overcome the fear they’re experiencing.

    CBD for Aggressive Dogs

    In addition to working with a professional for behavioral training and your vet, CBD may also offer a natural option for supporting non-aggressive behavior. CBD may promote a calming effect among dogs by interacting with 5-HT1A receptors in their endocannabinoid system. Preliminary canine studies support CBD’s potential for reducing the fear response in noise-induced situations. While CBD should never be the only thing you use for addressing aggression in your pup, it may offer an additional tool during the professional behavioral training process. 

    Tip: In most cases, positive reinforcement is used for teaching your dog new behaviors. Try incorporating our Rover’s Relief CBD Freeze Dried Bites into your training or topping your pup’s food with our Rover’s Relief Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil prior to each training session.           

    Rover’s Wellness for Aggressive Dogs

    Rover’s Wellness proudly offers premium water-soluble broad-spectrum hemp products that are ideal for helping support your dog. Our fast-acting formula enables quicker effects for calming fear and stress. When combined with proper training and care, our broad-spectrum tinctures can provide comprehensive relief for your furry companion. For more information regarding CBD for dog aggression, please contact us!

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