Approximately 4.5 million dog bites are reported each year according to the CDC. Dog aggression can be devastating for loving pet owners, and it can also be very costly from a financial standpoint if the dog does hurt someone. Understanding effective dog training for aggressive dogs can mean the difference between building a positive relationship with the animal and living in fear of what the dog might do next. Pet owners should first note that dogs of any breed can be aggressive and that learning how to socialize an aggressive dog can take time. Here is what everyone should know about effectively teaching dogs with behavioral problems.
Dog Training for Aggressive Dogs: Understanding The Behavior
1. Get the Dog a Medical Checkup
Once your dog has begun to show signs of aggressive behavior, the first step in effective dog training for aggressive dogs means ruling out any potential medical problems. A veterinarian can examine the pet to see if any diseases or conditions are causing your dog to behave more aggressively than usual.
2. Understand What Causes the Aggression and Avoid Those Situations
If your vet cannot identify any potential medical problems causing the aggression, it is important to determine the situations most likely to result in undesirable behavior from the dog. For example, some pet owners may find that their dogs behave more aggressively when children play close by, or when human food lies out in the open, such as at a picnic or barbecue. Identifying and then avoiding these situations will help to reduce the stress on the dog and make it easier for the animal to improve its behavior.
3. Involve a Professional to Determine the Best Course
FINALLY! The new episode is up! This episode is SUPER packed with the breakdown of #dogaggression. This is one of the ONLY times I had to immediately grab the leash so no one got hurt. CLICK the link in my bio to watch the full episode! ??? #dogtraining #dogsofig #dogsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #rottweiler #upstatecanine
Dog aggression not only can cause frustration for owners, it can also threaten the safety of other people, including strangers and children. When pet owners find that their dog behaves aggressively, they should not attempt to treat the situation on their own; they should involve a professional.
An experienced dog trainer who has helped with dog aggression in the past can help pet owners better understand what causes their dog to behave in such a manner and the next steps to curbing the behavior and nurturing a healthy relationship. Vets can help owners find the professionals that will help them move forward.
4. Develop a Treatment Plan
Sometimes, even after the dog has been trained and knows what’s expected, he might still try to test his owner to see if he can get away with various infractions.? Here, we are working to help Raleigh’s owner develop and trust her intuition about her dog’s attitude when they go on walks or have fun playing fetch or tug.? We are looking for her to have confidence in her ability to interrupt any and all shenanigans with a 100% success rate.? After we gave her this primer, we saw her address moments of goofiness with just the right amount of correction and assurance which made us add “helping dog owners be successful in training” to our gratitude prayer for today.
Professionals will help pet owners to better identify the causes behind the aggression and the best plan for moving forward. This stage will likely utilize a variety of training methods, including positive reinforcement, to help the dog feel?more comfortable in the situations that once caused them considerable stress. In a controlled environment, the dog will be properly socialized and taught, until the owner and trainer both reach the point where they feel that the dog can be trusted in difficult situations.
5. Communicate Effectively with the Dog
It can be tempting for many pet owners to react to signs of aggression in dogs with anger: they want their dog to know ?who is in control?, and thus punish their animal for poor behaviors, such as growling. Unfortunately, this does little to help the dog feel more comfortable. Instead, the animal may hide their feelings until they feel pushed to their breaking point and they actually bite or attack. Instead, owners must help dogs reduce their stress in these situations and feel more comfortable, treating the source of the aggression rather than the outward signs.
It can take time for dogs to become more comfortable and calm in situations that once resulted in undesirable behavior. Owners must be willing to put in the time to make these changes. In some cases, however, this might not be possible– such as a pet owner with children and a dog who feels aggressive around kids. In these situations, rehoming might be the most humane situation. There may also be some cases in which effective dog training for aggression is not enough, and despite work with professionals, the dog continues to be a threat to its owners and strangers alike. Humane euthanasia may end up being the only possibility.
Learn more about understanding aggressive dog behavior in this video from National Geographic:
Pet owners, however, should focus on their goals and work with professionals to help them effectively educate their dogs and obtain a more peaceful household. The better these owners understand effective dog training for aggressive dogs, the easier it will be for them to make the right decisions.
Have you had an aggressive dog? How did you manage its aggressive behavior? Please share with us your experience by leaving your comments below.