How do you effectively stop dog aggression? When your pet is easily upset in an otherwise loving and safe environment (provided that any other condition is ruled out), you can still help curb it with good dog training techniques.
Canine aggression doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got a bad dog, or that you’re a bad owner. His behavior simply needs some modification. Even though it cannot always be cured 100%, we can provide you with some helpful dog training tips to help you have a more well-adapted pooch.
Identify the cause
The cause of dog aggression includes, but is not limited to, a history of abuse or adverse conditions. Sometimes it’s because your dog has genetic or health issues, isn’t properly socialized, or simply needs obedience training.
It could also be that your dog feels stressed, defensive, fearful, or territorial in certain company, or can be triggered by certain human behaviors and situations.
It’s important to identify the root problem as closely as possible, so you can stop dog aggression as soon as it arises. Otherwise, your dog training efforts may be wasted and can create even bigger issues.
Understand your dog’s needs
Learning how to stop dog aggression starts with listening to your dog’s needs. Only then you will be able to decode his overall emotional disposition, anticipate what triggers him, and decide what you can do to make him feel more at ease within his domain.
Your dog has his own body language for various emotional and physical states: affection, hunger, excitement, fatigue, fear, agitation, stress, depression, hostility, and so on. Observe and learn his gestural cues so you can focus on good dog training techniques that will help manage the first signs of aggressive behavior.
Asserting dominance may be a common response to misbehavior, but it won’t help calm an aggressive dog. Neither will conflict or punishment. Any of these only aggravate his fight-or-flight response.
For instance, punishing your dog for growling at a young child will only make him more fearful and defensive the next time he sees the child. And because his self-protective instincts are triggered, he might end up biting the child if he or she comes too close.
This doesn’t mean you’ll condone dog aggression. Depending on his triggers, you can train your dog through positive reinforcement, diversion, or modifying his environment – all of which are more likely to result in a more relaxed furry friend.
When you train your aggressive dog, make sure that everyone else is safe in case something goes wrong. For example, taking a poorly socialized dog to an active dog park may overwhelm him enough to turn from mildly agitated to outright hostile against everyone around him, including you.
Our main focus is to create an environment that’s safe enough to calm an aggressive dog, making him more receptive to more good dog training techniques in the future.
Enforce basic obedience
Basic obedience training can help stop dog aggression, or at least minimize it.
There are easy methods to train your aggressive dog to obey simple commands and follow your lead as his human parent.
These will give you a better way to communicate with him so he’s more receptive to more advanced dog training techniques. They will also help you manage him better when he accidentally gets triggered into an aggressive state.
Now, obedience training will not completely mitigate canine aggression. But when you train your dog to respond to being called, obey basic commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” or “Stop,” wait for his turn when going through a door, or stop barking too much, it conditions him to behave better when training him to be less aggressive.
There are also good dog training techniques on how to calm an aggressive dog, which will definitely be helpful to you.
Use the right tools
As mentioned earlier, canine aggression doesn’t respond well to punishment. If you need to use dog training tools for your exercises, use equipment that isn’t designed to punish, like head halters instead of choke chains. These tools will give you better physical control without hurting your dog.
If you aren’t sure as to which dog training tools to use, consult a veterinary behaviorist. They will give you a better idea of the right safety equipment meant to stop dog aggression, based on your home environment, your dog’s temperament, your objectives, and his needs.
Other non-punitive materials that you can use to calm an aggressive dog may include weighted blankets, thunder shirts, alternative health supplements (like herbal oils), or prescription medications. Even if they seem odd at first, you can always ask for medical advice because you never know if your furry friend may respond well to them.
Consult a professional
Most importantly, it’s best to consult professional help at the first sign of aggressive dog behavior. Your home veterinarian may provide you adequate advice on how to effectively stop dog aggression at the onset. It’s much better than waiting for the behavior to develop into a serious and potentially dangerous situation, especially if you have other pets or children at home.
Remember, uncharacteristic canine aggression in household pets is always a symptom of something that urgently needs to be addressed.
The moment your dog seems wary of strangers, growls at other people or animals, or snaps at anyone, contact a professional for advice on dog training techniques to avert the misbehavior early on. Don’t wait until you cannot walk your dog around your neighborhood, he has killed a number of stray animals, or worse, he has bitten someone. You can be liable for damages and injuries caused by your dog.
When you seek professional help, choose someone who has a positive outlook and is well-experienced in managing dog aggression as the first part of your dog’s treatment. The sooner you address this matter, the easier it can be prevented, and you will also save plenty of time, tears, effort, and money on a potential problem.
As part of your family, your dog looks up to you for guidance, comfort, and companionship. If he suffers from canine aggression, he’s trying to communicate that something is wrong and that he needs help.
That said, learning to stop dog aggression is a highly doable task if you spot and manage the early warning signs. You may find it challenging at first to train your dog but with plenty of focused and active effort, consistency, patient, and the right methodology, you can help him grow into a happier and calmer household friend.
Is your dog’s aggressive behavior frustrating you to no end? CLICK HERE to watch this FREE Step-by-Step Video from Doggy Dan!