Dog Has Become Aggressive Towards Strangers

My dog has recently started showing random aggressive behavior towards people. He has always had dog aggression and we had him in training for that, but in the last few weeks he has exhibited 2 instances of aggression towards random strangers. Both incidents happened in an elevator with a person that was staring at my dog and clearly uncomfortable with the dog. Both times he growled and lunged, but I was able to easily get control of him and change his attention.

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It is very disturbing to me because he's always been a people lover. What could be causing this random aggression? Is it because he is getting old? He's a 9 year old Boxer. The first time I thought it was because the person was a guy that looked shady and maybe my dog sensed that. But this second time was some chick. Now, I feel like I need to take him up and down the 9 flights of stairs to take him to the bathroom.

Any ideas as to what could be causing this sudden change in behavior and what I should do about it?

By Amanda from NYC

September 21, 20100 found this helpful

Direct eye contact could trigger aggression. It's a challenge or threat to a dog. Don't let dog stare at others. Stand in front of dog if necessary to block his view or turn his head with leash. In the elevator keep your dog against a wall with you next to him to block him. If aggression continues you may have to use a muzzle. I'd have the vet check your dog to make sure he's not in pain or sick. Good luck.

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Anonymous Flag
September 21, 20100 found this helpful

I second OliveOyl and especially the staring type of eye contact! Most humans do not realize that doing that is considered a challenge/threat by dogs!

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September 21, 20100 found this helpful

I agree. Block his view & distract his attention when someone is staring at him. I imagine he feels even more threatened/challenged to be stared at in a closed space such as an elevator where he can't get away & he is probably being protective of you too.

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