Dog Aggression: Can CBD Help?

Some of the most common behavior problems in dogs are those associated with aggression.  And most of the time, fear or anxiety is at the root of the problem.  As aggressive behavior may result in possible injury to people and/or animals, it is recommended that pet owners facing this issue consult with their veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist, and/or professional dog trainer.  But there is an increasing body of evidence that CBD for aggressive dogs may prove to be a useful tool for professionals as well as owners in addressing aggression and modifying behavior.  Case in point from this month's contributing author, Julie McLean, Certified Master Dog Trainer with 15 years of experience working with dogs (and humans) of all different abilities and temperaments:

"One of my favorite cases of a very difficult dog rehabilitation was 'Sawyer', a 5 year old Pitbull mix.  She had bitten two people and was very nervous around other dogs -- a ball of anxiety.  Sawyer was enrolled in our 'Board and Train' program, and after almost 2 weeks I felt stuck.  She was so unable to think clearly with stimuli as simple as the wind blowing or a noise in the distance.  I have used CBD for aggressive dogs in the past, so I suggested Trove Canine CBD Oil to her owner, and she agreed to try it. Within a few days of dosing her with CBD twice a day, we saw Sawyer start to relax and be able to better absorb her learning.  Fast forward to 4 weeks later, and she was much more comfortable around new people.  We finally were able to get her to be around a couple of other dogs without immediately going into fight mode.  It was clear that the training -- in combination with Trove Canine CBD Oil -- allowed a much smoother and effective process for Sawyer to overcome her aggression. We still see Sawyer from time to time at our facility when she boards, and she’s a totally different dog than she was the first day we met her.

We use Trove CBD for dogs with a variety of issues, but my favorite usage is definitely anxiety and how CBD can help anxious dogs transition to training as well as adapt to a boarding environment. We prefer to use it twice daily to keep a constant flow in their system for the most effective results.

When it comes to CBD for aggressive dogs, aggressive behavior and anxiety are usually connected.  It’s fairly rare for an aggressive dog to be “dominantly aggressive” as aggression usually stems from some form of fear. We are a balanced training facility and use a variety of techniques to address what the dog specifically needs.  We call it "gentle discipline" because we do believe it’s important to use all 4 quadrants of learning in behavior modification. Dogs need to understand right from wrong because they need someone to be the leader. You can still love and spoil your dog without abdicating proper leadership and guidance.  The more structure you provide, the more comfortable and confident they become.  Be your dog's leader first!"

Julie McLean started her career as an accredited 'positive reinforcement' dog trainer. She felt it was a great start, but she wasn’t seeing much desired behavior changes in dogs. To further her knowledge, she attended and graduated as a Certified Master Dog Trainer through Anthony Jerone’s School of Dog Training & Career in Queens, NY. This is the only New York professional dog training school that is licensed by The New York State Education Department’s Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision.  Julie then went on to start her own business -- training dogs and their owners. During that time she also became a Veterinary Assistant in a conventional veterinary hospital as well as a holistic practice. She has been studying holistic care for pets ever since.  Throughout her career of training dogs, Julie bred working line German Shepherds, and participated in rescue and rehabilitation of shelter dogs—with a focus on Pitbulls and German Shepherds. She is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, and was an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.  Despite 15 years of experience under her belt, Julie knows that her chosen career is one where you never stop learning. Every dog teaches her something new, and she is excited to have the chance to see something she’s never seen before.

What is aggression?

Aggression involves a threat of harmful behavior directed toward another individual or group, with the intent of avoiding conflict escalation, displacement of the perceived threat, or actual intent to cause physical and/or emotional injury.  An “aggressive dog” comprises a variety of behaviors or a behavior sequence, most typically expressed in body language including a fixed stare, growling, baring teeth, snarling, barking, lunging, snapping, and biting. 

What are the different kinds of aggression?

Aggressive dogs issues can be better described by the motivation, context, and intended target of the behavior.  Often, an underlying medical issue or painful condition may cause or contribute to the aggression.  In addition to aggression motivated by anxiety, pain or fear, other common types of aggression are:

Territorial Aggression - Dogs and their wild relatives are territorial by nature, and some dogs will act aggressively in defending their space from perceived intruders.

Protective Aggression - Dogs, especially mother dogs with a litter of puppies, may exhibit aggressive behavior in a desire to protect their human or animal family.

Predatory Aggression - Some dogs with a high predatory drive are prone to chase or grab fast-moving things such as wildlife, cars, bikes, livestock, other pets, or even children.  A dog with predatory aggression may suddenly and without warning turn what may have started as a game of chase into a dangerous attack.

Possessive Aggression - Dogs may guard items they value such as food, toys, beds, and other possessions.  Some dogs will react aggressively if another animal or a person gets too close to a valued item.

Leash Aggression - Some leashed dogs will feel confined or trapped and exhibit aggressive behavior especially when confronting another dog on a leash, including lunging, charging, jumping, barking, growling.

Sexual Aggression - Typically seen with intact male dogs, even same sex dogs in the same household may exhibit aggressive behavior towards one another in an effort to display dominance.

Social Aggression - While it is natural for a group or "pack" of dogs living or spending time together to sort out their pecking order, some dogs will show aggressive threats to establish and maintain their place in the pack.  This aggressive behavior may not be limited only to other dogs, but also may be exhibited towards family members.

Frustration Aggression - A dog who is excited by something but restrained from reaching it by a leash or other confinement may act aggressively out of frustration.

Redirected Aggression - Similar to frustration aggression, a dog that is aroused by something or acting aggressively towards another, may redirect its aggressive behavior towards someone who interferes, such as when one tries to break up a dog fight.

Learned Aggression - No matter the motivation, if a dog's aggressive behavior succeeded in accomplishing its purpose -- removal of a threat, protection of a coveted toy, retreat of an unwanted intruder -- the dog may learn to repeat that behavior to get the same result.

Is there treatment for aggressive dogs?

First and foremost, if your dog exhibits aggressive behavior, seek professional help.  Consult with your veterinarian to help diagnose any medical or pain-related issues.  If your vet has ruled out a medical problem, take steps to prevent contact with other animals or family members, and seek help from a veterinary behaviorist or professional dog trainer.  Together with your professional team, you may find that CBD may be a valuable complement to the treatment and management plan for your aggressive dog.  Trove Canine CBD Oil may help address aggressive behaviors by:

  • addressing anxiety and promoting calm
  • relieving pain and inflammation
  • increasing mental focus

Why Trove CBD for aggressive dogs?

Trove is the best CBD for aggressive dogs for the same reasons it’s the best CBD for dogs.  Period.  Not all CBD pet products are created equal.  Not only are there different CBD product types and formulations, there are also different strengths, concentrations, and contents.  And not all CBD products are tested and verified.  So, in order to be sure about the quality and strength of the CBD you choose for your pet, start with a CBD product that is tested for purity and concentration and offers a laboratory Certificate of Analysis to back it up.  Know the product's CBD concentration per mL, and verify that package labeling accurately represents actual CBD content, not just a host of other cannabinoids, hempseed extracts, or other botanicals.  And as added safety for your pet, choose a product that is THC free.  Trove Canine CBD Oil 750 contains 750 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 25 mg CBD.  Trove Canine CBD Oil 300 contains 300 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 10 mg CBD.   All Trove products are THC free, non GMO, and gluten free.  Trove sources organically-grown USA hemp, and all products are triple tested and labeled with a QR code that links directly to the Certificate of Analysis for that batch.  For more information and specific dosing guidelines, consult Trove packaging information, the Trove website, or contact us.

To contact an accredited member of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) in your area, please visit

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