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Understanding the Canine Ladder of Aggression: Key to Preventing Dog Bites


Learn about the Canine Ladder of Aggression, a vital tool that helps dog owners and trainers understand how dogs communicate discomfort and stress. Recognising early signs can prevent negative interactions and ensure the safety of both dogs and people.

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Section 1: What is the Canine Ladder of Aggression?

Explain the concept of the Ladder of Aggression, which illustrates the progression of a dog’s behavior in response to stress or threats. Emphasize the importance of recognizing these signs early to prevent escalations.

Section 2: Signs at Each Step of the Ladder

  • Lower Rungs: These include subtle signs of discomfort such as yawning, turning the head away, and lip licking.
  • Middle Rungs: More evident signs like growling, showing teeth, or a stiff body posture indicate increasing discomfort.
  • Upper Rungs: Critical signs include snapping and biting. These are last-resort behaviors when earlier signs have been ignored.

Section 3: How to Respond to Signs of Aggression

Provide guidance on appropriate responses at different stages of the ladder, emphasizing de-escalation techniques such as giving the dog space, avoiding direct eye contact, and calmly removing any stressors if possible.

Conclusion: Summarise the importance of understanding and respecting a dog’s body language to foster a safe and harmonious environment. Encourage ongoing education and training for dog owners.

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Justin Jordan Trainer

Justin Jordan

Master Trainer

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