All smart dogs have the potential to develop some kind of aggression. I have never met a “dumb” aggressive dog. Every time we work with an aggressive dog, they always learn things very rapidly. If a dog is very slow to catch onto patterns then their odds of becoming aggressive go way down.
Clients often wonder where they went wrong. They socialized the dog a lot, did training, love the dog, feed the dog.
From my experience, unless you understand pack rules, body language and teaching the dog what they are not allowed to do, you will end up with dog aggression at some point.
A lot of dog trainers are pushing this notion that you shouldn’t say no, there is no pack structure, no dominance and only use reward. If a person follows that advice with a very smart dog, it is the perfect way to turn that dog into an aggressive monster.
When I started dog training, I quickly learned there were two opposite sides, reward and force. Those sides argued a lot with each other and wanted to have nothing to do with each other. It also seemed common that they didn’t ask questions and test their theories. Many would just be told this is the way it is and they would run with it without questioning its validity at all. Sure enough, that creates a lot of problems. It is very dangerous to follow the wrong advice for certain dogs. When you hire a dog trainer as an expert, you trust their advice. Until it leads to problems, sometimes big problems like dog aggression. People continue their search for answers and that is where I get contacted. Over 90% of people that contact us are looking for help with dog aggression.
Fear aggression is also very common with dogs. This happens with smart dogs that have a fear of something. Usually that fear stems from not having seen that “scary thing” during their socialization period as a puppy. They learn to make noise at it, bark, lunge, etc. Happens a lot when looking out a window. They start barking and acting aggressive and the “scary thing” goes away, walking down the sidewalk. The dog thinks they did their job scaring that thing away. Creates a positive feedback loop for aggression.
Some dogs you will fully overcome all aggression issues with. Other dogs you will be managing in certain situations the rest of their lives. But they can live a decent life. They just need a good strong human leader.