How to Stop a Dog From Being Aggressive With Bones

How to Stop a Dog From Being Aggressive With Bones

Bones are a natural and instinctive pleasure for dogs, providing them with entertainment and exercise. However, some dogs can exhibit aggressive behavior when it comes to bones, which can be concerning for both the dog and its owners. Aggression over bones can lead to potential injury or fights with other dogs. If your dog shows signs of aggression when it comes to bones, here are some effective strategies to help curb this behavior.

1. Train your dog to “drop it”: Teach your dog the command “drop it” from an early age. This command will help you gain control over your dog’s behavior and encourage them to give up the bone willingly.

2. Trade for a treat: Offer your dog a tasty treat in exchange for the bone. This positive reinforcement will redirect their focus and encourage them to willingly give up the bone.

3. Use a safe chew alternative: Provide your dog with safe chew toys that can occupy their chewing instincts. These toys can help redirect their attention away from bones and prevent aggressive behavior.

4. Establish dominance: Show your dog that you are the leader by establishing dominance through consistent training and obedience exercises. This will help your dog understand their place in the hierarchy and reduce aggressive tendencies.

5. Practice obedience training: Consistent obedience training is crucial for curbing aggressive behavior. Teach your dog basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” These commands will provide you with better control in situations involving bones.

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6. Supervise chewing sessions: Always supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones. This will allow you to intervene if any aggressive behavior arises and redirect their attention appropriately.

7. Gradual desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to situations involving bones, starting with low-value bones and gradually progressing to higher-value ones. This process will help them become more comfortable and less possessive over time.

8. Avoid punishment: Avoid punishing your dog for aggressive behavior, as this can worsen the problem. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and redirection.

9. Seek professional help: If your dog’s aggressive behavior persists despite your efforts, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a certified dog behaviorist or trainer. They can provide tailored guidance and strategies to address the issue effectively.

10. Proper socialization: Socialize your dog from an early age to minimize aggressive behavior. Expose them to different environments, people, and other dogs, ensuring positive experiences. A well-socialized dog is less likely to exhibit aggression over bones.

11. Manage resources: Avoid situations that may trigger aggressive behavior. For example, if your dog becomes possessive over bones when other dogs are around, ensure they are separated during chewing sessions.

12. Regular exercise and mental stimulation: Ensure your dog receives adequate exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and reduce aggressive tendencies. A tired and stimulated dog is less likely to display aggressive behavior.


1. Why is my dog aggressive with bones?

Some dogs may exhibit aggression over bones due to possessiveness, resource guarding, or territorial behavior. It can also be a result of insecurity or fear.

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2. How can I tell if my dog is being aggressive over bones?

Signs of aggression over bones may include growling, snarling, snapping, biting, or stiff body language. They may become possessive, refusing to let go of the bone.

3. Can aggression over bones be fixed?

Yes, aggression over bones can be fixed with proper training, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques.

4. Is it normal for dogs to be possessive over bones?

Some degree of possessiveness over bones is normal for dogs. However, when it escalates to aggression, it becomes a concern.

5. How long does it take to stop aggression over bones?

The timeline for stopping aggression over bones varies for each dog. It depends on the dog’s temperament, previous experiences, and consistency in training.

6. Can I give my dog any type of bone?

Not all bones are safe for dogs. Avoid cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause choking or digestive issues. Opt for raw bones or specially designed dog bones.

7. Should I take the bone away when my dog shows aggression?

If your dog displays aggression, it is essential to address the behavior appropriately. However, it is recommended to seek professional guidance to ensure the safety of both you and your dog.

8. Can neutering/spaying help with aggression over bones?

Neutering or spaying can help reduce aggression in some dogs but may not directly address aggression over bones. Consult with a veterinarian or behaviorist for individual advice.

9. Is it safe to give my dog bones?

Giving your dog bones can be safe if done correctly. Choose appropriate bones for your dog’s size and breed, and always supervise chewing sessions.

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10. What if my dog becomes aggressive with other toys too?

If your dog shows aggression over toys or other resources, similar training techniques can be applied to address the issue.

11. Can aggression over bones be a sign of a health issue?

In some cases, aggression over bones can be a sign of pain or discomfort. If you suspect a health issue, consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying problems.

12. Can I ever trust my dog with bones again?

With proper training and consistent reinforcement, it is possible to regain trust and allow your dog to enjoy bones without aggressive behavior.