Not all dogs are always friendly and in a good mood. Some four-legged friends growl and bark remarkably often or even bite in the worst case. An aggressive dog can become a serious danger and poses a significant challenge to its owner.
But what are the reasons for this behavior? We will get to the bottom of this question in the following. In addition, we will give you tips on how to train an aggressive dog.
Shortcut To Useful Tips
- 1 Causes of aggressive behavior in dogs
- 2 There are different forms of aggression in dogs
- 3 Professional help with the training of aggressive dogs
- 4 Common mistakes in dealing with aggressive dogs
- 5 You, as a dog owner, bear the responsibility
- 6 Avoid dicey situations
- 7 Be confident
Causes of aggressive behavior in dogs
Mostly it is mistakes in education that lead to dogs developing aggressive behavior sooner or later. So if you want to get your four-legged friend out of the habit, you must first find out precisely what you did wrong in dealing with your dog.
In this context, it is crucial to understand that a dog does not usually become aggressive overnight. Instead, aggression develops gradually as your four-legged friend repeatedly experiences negative emotions such as fear and anger due to your interactions with him.
Dog aggressiveness is a major source of worry for both pet owners and dog walkers alike. Dog aggressiveness is often caused by some type of dissatisfaction as a result of a failed attempt to assert control over other pets.
The frustration is typically caused by a lack of exercise, while dominance is caused by a lack of calm-assertive leadership — which is often caused by inappropriate training. Almost every dog breed on the globe has the potential to exhibit violent behaviour. Even a little dog, such as a Chihuahua, which is well-known for its aggressive temperament, may do significant harm.
However, the larger the dog, the greater the likelihood that it may do major injury to a person or another dog at the park. Here’s how to deal with dog aggressiveness as a dog walker or pet owner in a more effective manner.
There are different forms of aggression in dogs
If a dog becomes aggressive in a specific situation, it almost always feels insecure. The cause of this insecurity can be, for example, a lack of education and socialization or even an inappropriate attitude toward the four-legged friend. Other possible reasons can be traumatic experiences or bad experiences that the dog has had in the past.
Identifying the exact cause of a dog’s aggressive behavior is often difficult. In this case, it is helpful to the first check in which situations the quadruped reacts aggressively in the first place.
Types Of Dog Aggression
First, before we get into our professional recommendations for dealing with dog aggressiveness, let’s take a look at the many forms of dog aggression that are most often seen.
- Territorial – Many dogs will attack or bite an intruder in their home, whether that intruder is a friend of the family or a foe often does not matter.
- Protection – There are many dogs that show aggressive behavior when they feel their family or friends are in danger.
- Possessive – Many dogs guard their possessions – toys and food – from others.
- Fear – A fearful dog is likely to become overly aggressive when backed into a corner or faced with a larger dog – even if they are trying to play.
- Social – A particularly severe problem amongst dog walkers, social aggressiveness stems from a dog perceiving itself to be higher in status than those around him.
Professional help with the training of aggressive dogs
Of course, avoiding situations that make your dog aggressive is not a permanent solution. To remedy the problem, you need to re-educate your aggressive dog. Since most non-specialists might find this difficult, we recommend visiting a dog school for this purpose.
There, your four-legged friend will first learn to master the basic commands before it goes with professional help to target the desensitization of the animal. This means that the dog trainer artificially induces situations that previously triggered aggressive behavior in your dog and rehearsed alternative behaviors with you.
One tool that is often used to train aggressive dogs is the principle of positive reinforcement. By rewarding peaceful behavior and omitting the reward for aggression, your dog gradually learns to change his behavior in the desired way.
Expert Dog Aggression Tips
It is possible to spot the indicators of an aggressive dog before their conduct becomes harmful or severe if you pay careful enough attention.
- Alpha Dog – A dog is a pack animal. In the pack, there is always one “alpha dog” or a leader of the entire unit. If there is no established leader, your dog may try to establish itself as the alpha and become aggressive to accomplish this goal. At home, you must establish yourself as the alpha dog. You need to establish physical boundaries and behavioral boundaries to teach the dog that you are in control.
- Leash Training – Many dogs suffer from what is known as leash aggression. They do not like being bound, and so they lash out. You must train your dog to use the leash – do not tighten the leash too far or tug on it, though.
- Meals – Sharing food is often a big no-no from pets. Many become aggressive. You may need to feed an aggressive dog last, at the back of the pack, so to speak, and even crate him during meal times.
A few basic training recommendations for dealing with an aggressive dog include praising them for good behaviour and avoiding harsh punishments. You may use a toy, a reward, or verbal praise to motivate your dog to do the task. This ensures that your dog knows that you, the dominant dog, are satisfied with the way they behave in certain situations.
It is not necessary to be concerned if you find yourself dealing with dog hostility. You may spot the issue early and correct the habit utilising professional recommendations and training strategies in the comfort of your own home.
Common mistakes in dealing with aggressive dogs
Many dog owners make a crucial mistake when their four-legged friend behaves aggressively. Hoping to calm him down, they speak in a soft voice or even pet him. But, of course, the goal here is not to reward the aggressive animal.
But in truth, you are doing exactly that. Because your dog does not understand what you say, but only how you say it. Talk to your dog in a friendly manner and give the dog attention.
He will take this as praise for his aggression so that you will continue reinforcing the undesirable behavior – instead of getting your dog out of the habit.
You, as a dog owner, bear the responsibility
As a rule, no dog is born vicious. Nevertheless, certain dog breeds are indeed more prone to aggressive behavior than others. However, whether or not this tendency manifests itself is entirely your own responsibility.
As an owner, you need to make sure that you train your dog properly. In doing so, also take into account breed-specific characteristics. It is best to inform yourself about the breed of your choice before acquiring it and weigh whether you are up to the task.
Avoid dicey situations
Once you know in which situations your dog becomes aggressive, you first must avoid them. For example, if your dog reacts aggressively to other dogs, you should temporarily ensure that you are undisturbed when you go for a walk.
Do not consider your four-legged friend’s behavior as something harmless, which you may tolerate to a certain extent. Large dogs, in particular, quickly become a serious danger to people and animals. If the aggression is already very pronounced and your commands often go unheeded, the temporary wearing of a muzzle can also be a useful additional protective measure.
Dogs always orient themselves to their owners and clearly notice when their masters or mistresses are insecure. So if your own insecurity is transferred to your four-legged friend, he will instinctively feel the need to defend you.
To counteract your dog’s aggressiveness, it is, therefore, essential that you show more self-confidence in dealing with him. If your four-legged friend notices you are relaxed, he will also feel secure and gain new confidence in you and your abilities as a pack leader.