7 Signs that a Dog is Nervous to the Point of Aggression

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.

Is your dog acting nervous to the point of becoming aggressive or is he just being playful? It’s never easy to interpret what dogs are trying to communicate. Here are seven signs that could indicate that your dog is reaching the point of aggression.

Types of Dog Aggression

Before we reveal these signs, it’s important to understand the different types of dog aggression and the root cause for each. Here are the most common types of aggression that dog owners may encounter.

Signs of Dogs Becoming Aggressive

Here are some signs to watch out for when it comes to dog aggression. Knowing these signs will help you better handle a situation when a dog becomes aggressive against other humans or dogs.

1. Dog suddenly becomes still or rigid.

2. Dog curls his lips to reveal his teeth at the “threat”. Dog may also wrinkle his nose.

3. Dog’s ears are pointed backwards – this may, however, also be a sign of a dog showing his friendliness or showing submissiveness to other dogs and humans.

4. Dog lowers his body with all of his feet firmly planted on the ground. This could be a sign that a dog is ready to lunge forward at his threat.

5. Dog’s tail moves from a neutral position to a stiff, vertical position. The higher the tail, the greater the potential threat.

6. Dog raises his back or has raised hackles (hair along the dog’s back).

7. Dog’s eyes are large, dilated and stares directly at the threat.

Stop a Nervous Dog from Becoming Aggressive

So how should you act when your affectionate dog suddenly becomes aggressive to other dogs and humans (including yourself)? Here are some quick tips.

If your dog continues to remain aggressive then we highly recommend that you see a professional dog trainer or dog behaviorist to help figure out your dog’s aggression.


  • Sammye Guenther Ph. D. | 19/10/2021

    We are a close knit family with each household having a fairly large dog. My dog (boxer/greyhound mix) normally goes wherever I go. However when I first rescued her, we went visiting to see my son and daughter and at each of their respective homes, my dog attacked their dogs without provocation. At my son’s house, they have a Shephard mix and my dog attacked her. At my daughter’s house, they have a yellow lab and my dog attacked her. My dog is well treated and I cannot figure this out. Please help.

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