Tips to Help Your Aggressive Dog
24 August, 2012
Some dogs can be aggressive at times. They can bite or fight others in certain situations, but that doesn’t mean they will always be aggressive.
First of all, we have to remember that dog aggression is not always a bad thing. A dog with absolutely no aggression is submissive, and just like humans, a submissive dog has just as many issues as an aggressive one. A dog that is afraid of you can be just as disobedient as an aggressive or dominant dog.
Below are some tips to try to help your dog that has been acting aggressively.
Identity the situation when your dog has been aggressive
Identify the situations when your dog shows aggressive behavior. Some dogs may feel threatened by the presence of another animal or be anxious about defending their food, turf or toys. Is your dog reacting when being touched? Does he or she react on walks when spotting other dogs? If you can first identify the cause, you can try to do the next:
Avoid the activities that cause aggression
Avoid activities that could elicit aggression. Seemingly harmless and affectionate acts like hugging your dog could actually be a trigger for aggression. Respect the dog’s boundaries and keep alert to his or her body language. If the fur on your dog’s back rises, the ears lie flat, the eyes focus sharply or the teeth are showing, your dog wants to be away from the situation.
Praise and positive reinforcement works wonders
Hand out praise and treats in a step-by-step program to desensitize your dog to the situations that make him aggressive. Calm down a food guarder by handing him his kibble one piece at a time. While praising him, take a piece out of the bowl after you feed him one. He’ll gradually get used to the idea that you’re the boss of the food.
Walk an antisocial dog a good distance from just one other dog, praising and treating your pup for continued nonaggressive behavior. Always maintain control of the leash. Slowly increase the proximity and number of other dogs over time as your dog tolerates it.
Try to remain calm when your dog reacts aggressively
Try to remain calm when your dog is aggressive. Dogs are adept at picking up your emotional energy, so if you’re angry or nervous, they will know and may become aggressive in an effort to protect you. Practice being a calm, assertive leader for your dog and let him learn to trust your instincts.
Don’t punish your pup
Don’t use punishment on any dog, especially one that is sometimes aggressive. Punishment will lead only to increased aggressive behavior. Positive reinforcement used consistently gets the best results and develops the pet-owner bond, reducing aggressive behavior. Food equals love to dogs as well as humans!
If you can identify the situation and slowly train your dog with positive reinforcement and praise, you should be able to minimize your dog’s aggressive behavior.