Dog aggression is a fairly common problem that many owners will face at one time in their dog’s life or another. It is actually so common that there are hundreds upon hundreds of studies associated with aggression. Questions such as “Why does aggression occur,” “Why are some breeds more aggressive,” and “How can I use aggressive dog training to curb aggression in my dog,” are asked on a regular basis. Before you actually begin aggressive dog training, it is important to understand the type of aggression that your dog may be experiencing. Believe it or not, there are actually several types of aggression and each one will need to be handled in a slightly different manner. The types of aggression are:
· Dog Aggression: this can be seen in many different breeds and it is actually aggression that a dog shows to other dogs. · Fear Aggression: Many people may not see fear as an aggressive behavior but if a dog begins to bite, bark, growl or bare his teeth when he is frightened than it has moved from simple fear to fear aggression.
· Dominate Aggression: This is a very serious type of aggression since the dog has many traits that you would see in a “bully.” One of the biggest problems with dominate aggression is that it is not always seen as aggression, just an alpha personality doing what it does best, until the dog attacks someone or something. Another problem is that dominate aggression is very unpredictable.
· Possessive Aggression: To get a clear idea of this, watch your dog while he is eating and is interrupted by someone. If he is fine and continues to eat or even allows you to put your hand in the dish then there is no real aggression there; however, if he growls or bites then you know that he is being possessive about things he preserves as his. While this may seem appropriate, a dog should never be possessive.
· Pain Aggression: This is aggression that is shown when a dog is in pain. · Maternal Aggression: Seen only in female dogs, this is an aggression that is seen when a female is raising a litter of puppies.
· Territorial Aggression: There are several breeds of dogs that are prone to territorial aggression where they see an area such as the house, the yard, the neighborhood or all of the above as his. When other animals or people enter his territory, he reacts in an aggressive manner.
As you can see, there are a large number of aggressions and many dogs will experience one or the other at certain times in their life. While some forms of aggression are very serious and require aggressive dog training, some of them aren’t and really only require some patience by the owner to overcome. In the case of pain aggression, it is important to find out why your dog is being aggressive. If he is hurt, take him to the vet to have the problem looked after. When the dog heals, the aggression should go away on its own but if it doesn’t, you can move into training methods for it.
In addition, maternal aggression can be avoided simply by spaying your dog but if she does whelp a litter, the maternal aggression should diminish as the puppies are weaned and placed in new homes. In many cases, the easiest way to use aggressive dog training is to socialize your puppy and dog correctly. Many people see socialization as a process that is done when their puppy is young but socialization should be done throughout your dog’s life. Exposing him to other dogs, people, places and stimulations will help curb many different areas of aggression such as dog aggression. Remember that when you do socialize your dog, especially if he has some aggression problems, that you do so in a controlled manner.
Make sure all the dogs are on leashes and introduce him to one dog at a time. Never allow your dog to be surrounded by a group of dogs since this can frighten him and trigger his aggressive response. If at any time your dog starts to indicate aggression, simply correct him by removing him a few feet away from the other dog and then praising him when he calms down. Another way to make aggressive dog training easy is to place firm rules in your house from the moment your dog arrives home. This means that he is not allowed on the furniture and that he understands that the home is yours. To battle dominance aggression, it is important to put yourself and everyone else in the role of dominate. Your dog should never eat before the family and he should never be allowed to find food for himself.
When he does eat, take the time to place your hands in the dog’s food dish and feed him by hand. This teaches him that anyone is allowed in his dish and it will help curb some possessive aggression. Make sure that everyone in the house does this as well and never let the dog go around your hand to eat directly from the bowl. In many cases, aggressive dog training needs to start with owners. To make it easy, you need to look at how you are training your dog, how he is being socialized and what negative behaviors are being reinforced. For instance, if you nurture fright responses such as growling by coddling the dog whenever he is scared, then he will quickly learn that growling is the proper response to being scared, which may develop into fear aggression.
Ignore some behaviors and correct others with a firm “no,” which is an important command with aggressive dog training. When you are using aggressive dog training, it is important that you do not correct your dog in a harsh manner. Although it may not seem like you are being abusive to your dog, a small slap can cause a large amount of damage and if a dog is already aggressive, it will just reinforce the aggressive behavior. After you have corrected how you train your dog, it is time to start aggressive dog training and it is very easy; simply break out the basics of training. Many times, basic training on a regular basis can really help with many forms of aggression and many different types of negative behaviors.
To battle territorial aggression, start by inviting people over to your home and correcting your dog when he begins barking with a loud noise to interrupt the behavior and then a firm “no.” When your dog stops barking, praise him and treat. Increase the frequency that different guests visit as your dog becomes accustomed to people being in his space. If your dog is aggressive during walks, it is time to take aggressive dog training out on a walk. Start by taking different routes every time you take a walk. Since the route is different, your dog is less likely to imprint a route as being his.
When he meets people or other animals on the street, correct his negative behavior with a firm “no” and praise him when he doesn’t react. As the aggressive dog training is advanced, gradually begin taking him to higher traffic areas until he can walk in a busy place without reacting in an aggressive manner. Although aggressive dog training is fairly easy, it does take some time and it is very important to watch your dog’s stress levels and to take your time with training. Remember, your dog didn’t become aggressive over night and you can’t expect the aggressive dog training to work overnight either, so take your time and enjoy every success your dog has.
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