Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.
HAWS License #267280-DS
Many dog owners wonder how to know if their dog’s behavior poses a risk, and how strongly does a dog’s breed factor into the potential for aggressive behavior. Human behaviors influence dogs - and dogs in turn give indicators that intervention is necessary. While any dog has the potential to behave aggressively depending on the situation, help is available! Education and knowledge can help prevent aggressive incidents that may result in physical and emotional injury.
At HAWS, we stress the importance of all dogs receiving training and socialization, to minimize problems and create the best possible relationship between pet and owner!
A first sign of trouble may be a “gut” feeling: Anything about your dog’s behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable indicates a need for intervention. Don’t ignore the first signs of trouble.
Observe your dog: Dogs displaying non-social, “stand-offish” beavhior may bite if forced to interact. Dogs that forcefully jump up or against you, attempt to mount, or are “mouthy” are showing their intentions are confrontational. Dogs that stiffen momentarily in response to eye contact or touch, or when you are close to their food/toy/another person, do not welcome your interference and may bite if their signals are ignored. Specifically watch for body language like direct and hard eye contact from your dog, the base of tail elevated above the level of the dog’s back, and hackles up. A warning grow should never be ignored. These are signs that additional training is warranted.
Behavior depends on individual genetics and the environment in which the dog was raised. Pit Bulls can be cream puffs and Golden Retrievers can be Godzilla! Puppies with no littermates or pups that are taken from their mothers/litters before 7 weeks of age may not learn appropriate social skills – increasing the possibility of biting.
If you notice any signs of unsocial or aggressive behavior, contact a qualified trainer, behaviorist, or veterinarian. Being proactive, doing your research about where you obtain a dog and which breed you choose, and seeking help at the first sign of trouble will increase your chances of fixing a problem before serious harm is done.
By the way: HAWS’ Behavior Department is available to answer any questions at 262-542-8851, x204, or email our Certified Dog Behavior Counsultant, Dr. Claudeen, at email@example.com.