Aggression in dogs is one of the most serious and unavoidable dog training problems that we encounter as dog owners.
An aggressive dog is something that you simply can’t ignore…particularly with the larger or more aggressive breeds.
The truth is, any breed of dog can be aggressive.
The real difference lies in the damages that can be dealt out. For example, a Maltese will likely cause far less damage than a Mastiff with similar aggression levels.
That said, dealing with aggression starts with us.
It is important to understand that we set the standard early in life with our dog and that they will follow accordingly.
Take a look at how to handle dog training problems involving aggressive animals.
Dog Training Problems: Handling an Aggressive Dog
Dogs are pack animals and they live under a pack hierarchy. This means that they generally have a pack alpha dog and that leader is responsible for the safety and well being of the pack.
You have to learn to be that leader and to show a way of dealing with conflict calmly and assertively. If the dog feels secure and protected with you as their leader, they will rarely have an aggression problem socially at least.
The first step towards becoming the pack leader is calm and consistent leadership. Leadership is shown in many ways.
Correction and praise are important, but praise is absolutely the lynchpin in a great dog training session.
When they do what you want, make sure you praise them and reward them with a tiny treat of some kind. This type of reward behavior builds trust and leadership.
Another important aspect is to make sure you give them plenty of exercise. Make sure they have an area to run and play while still keeping them safe and contained.
If a dog gets plenty of exercise, they will be much more calm. A calm mind makes for a receptive dog. That is what you need in a teaching or leading environment. It will lead to far fewer dog training problems.
Finally, consulting a professional is extremely important if you have a dog that is showing aggression. Some dog training problems with aggression are far more involved than we are equipped to handle as amateurs.
If you are seeing signs of aggression, take the time and money to consult a pro about it. The money is well spent and it might even give you a great lesson that will bring you closer to your dog.
Another common type of aggression is territorial aggression. This is where a dog will “protect” the property and attack or bark at those that come anywhere near the property. While having a guard dog can be a good thing when it is properly done, having a dog that simply chases your company away is not.
The last thing you want is a dog that barks and bites at every single visitor. That is not a guard dog. That is a nuisance and a danger. This type of aggression usually starts when the puppy gets to about the one or two year old mark. It is for this reason that the behavior be addressed quickly and assertively by a calm and strong leader.
Tips on How to Handle Aggressive Dogs
While you may feel a surge of adrenaline when your dog is aggressive, take a deep breath and calm your nerves first.
Dogs can sense your fear, anxiety and stress. You don’t want to fuel your dog’s aggression with negativity.
There are different types of aggression. Identify which one is fueling your dog’s hostility to properly nip it in the bud.
There are three major types of aggression: Fear-motivated, territorial, protective and redirected.
Make an assessment on why your dog is exhibiting hostile behavior. Aggression is often triggered, so finding the root of the problem is the key to eliminating it.
Your dog is trying to tell you something by being aggressive. Is something scaring him? Is someone violating his personal space? Identifying the reason for aggression helps you better assess the situation.
Unsurprisingly, exercise will help expend energy that may otherwise go into aggressive behavior. Dogs of any age need to burn off excess energy.
In some dogs, it causes destructive behavior such as chewing, while in others it may manifest as aggression. Make sure you give your pup ample exercise.
- No Punishing
Do your best to refrain from punishing your dog. More often than not, punishment worsens the situation. It either traumatizes the pooch or elevates his aggression.
Attacking your dog physical or verbally to gain control could set off his animal nature to assert dominance over you.
Take the time to evaluate the situation. What kind of aggression is he or she exhibiting? What is the best course of action to take?
Oftentimes, breaking unwanted behavior takes a lot of time and patience. Do you have what it takes? Is anyone in your family or circle of friends in immediate danger?
If these questions produce negative answers, consider professional help.
- Turning to your Trusted Vet
Certain tendencies in dogs may be misunderstood to the laymen, but to your trusted vet, the dog is crying out for help or assistance in some way.
A professional might better understand your pup. There is no harm in taking them into the clinic for a quick checkup.
Your vet might recommend you take your dog to seek professional help. Behavioral specialists can diagnose the issue and come up with the best plan to eradicate aggression.
Aggression in dogs is simply about the dog being an animal. We, as animals too, have similar instincts though we show them in different ways.
Tapping into that realization and calming their fears will be the first step in overcoming the aggression.
We have to “artificially” provide the things they instinctively are looking for as animals….pack leadership, affection and protection.
A dog that has these things will generally not become aggressive, so these types of dog training problems likely won’t arise.