Can dog aggression be cured? One of the most common issues that prompts dog owners to seek the assistance of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist is aggression.
It is also the primary reason why pet owners seek the assistance of dog aggression trainers and veterinarians when dealing with their animals’ behavioral issues.
If your dog shows signs of hostility on a consistent basis, such as growling, snapping, or biting, you may be dealing with a behavioral issue known as aggression.
And it’s not only bigger dogs or so-called “dangerous breeds” that are prone to violence. Any breed, given the appropriate set of conditions, is capable of becoming hostile.
Even while aggressive behavior can’t be stopped overnight, there are things you can do to assist your dog to stay calm. And also reduce his or her tendency towards violent behavior. Continue reading below to learn proper dog aggression training.
Tips for Dog Aggression Training: Key Points
1. When confronted with an aggressive dog, you should always seek the assistance of a professional. This includes a professional dog behavior expert, who can devise a strategy for modifying the aggressive behavior, as well as your veterinarian.
2. If you’re doing some training for dog aggression prevention, you’ll want to follow your behavioral consultant’s advice. But there are a few typical actions you may take.
Avoiding the use of harsh equipment and approaches, ensuring your pet receives enough exercise and mental stimulation, and training your pet in a secure location are all important considerations.
3. Learn about canine aggressiveness, the indications it exhibits, and how it develops. You’ll have a much better chance of dealing with your dog’s aggression if you learn more about these topics.
Types of Dog Aggression
What causes dog aggression? When a dog exhibits aggressive behavior, it is acting as though he or she is about to attack or is preparing to attack. This involves being stiff and motionless, as well as growling, snarling, and baring fangs.
Determine what is causing your dog’s hostility as the first step in stopping it. When they’re eating or chewing a bone, some dogs may growl if someone approaches them. Others react violently to strangers or children.
Aggression need not be aimed towards a specific individual. Dogs may be hostile against other animals. For example, certain animals (such as cats), or even inanimate things (such as the wheels on cars or yard equipment) if they are provoked enough.
If you want to change your dog’s behavior, you must first understand why he behaves the way he does. the following are the most typical forms of dog aggressiveness:
1. Territorial aggression: Your dog will protect its territory or your house if it perceives an intruder.
2. Protective aggression: A dog’s primary duty is to defend its pack from harm, whether it from another canine or a human. When a dog’s mother comes into contact with her pups, she might be exceedingly protective and aggressive.
3. Possessive aggression: When it comes to food, chew toys, bones, or anything else the dog considers valuable, the dog will go to great lengths to guard it. “Resource protection” is another term for it.
4. Fear aggression: While the dog is scared, it attempts to flee and then attacks when trapped.
5. Defensive aggression: Like fear aggression, the dog attacks in defense of something rather than attempting to flee in the beginning. Before biting, these dogs have often shown other, more subtle, signs of distress, such as turning their heads away.
6. Social aggression: In social circumstances, the dog behaves aggressively towards other dogs. It is possible for dogs that have not been properly socialised with other dogs and humans to become aggressive.
7. Frustration-elicited aggression: When the dog is on a leash or in a fenced yard, it acts aggressively. When a dog is overstimulated yet unable to respond, it may engage in an outburst. When a dog becomes too enthusiastic, such as just before a stroll, it may bite its owner.
8. Redirected aggression: If someone tries to break up a dog fight, the dog may turn violent against that person. A dog’s aggression may escalate if it cannot physically confront its intended victim, such as a dog on the opposite side of a fence.
9. Pain-elicited aggression: Pain or injury might cause a dog to become aggressive.
10. Sex-related aggression: Two dogs, male or female, compete for the attention of a partner, and this may lead to fighting. Spaying and neutering dogs may prevent this in unaltered animals.
11. Predatory aggression: As soon as the dog exhibits predatory behavior, such as pursuing prey, it acts aggressively. When a kid is playing chase with the dog, this inclination might pose a major threat. There is a chance that dogs with predatory aggressiveness may turn on and attack the kid, even if the game seems benign at first.
Aggression Warning Signs in Your Dog
It’s vital to keep an eye out for a pattern of dog aggression signs, such as:
• Growling and snapping
• Lip licking or yawning
• Averting gaze
• Seeing whites of the eyes
• Raised fur
• Tail tucking and cowering
• A rigid body and quickly wagging tail
Many of these warning signals are also a symptom of fear and frustration. Therefore, it’s important to remember that not all dogs that display this behavior are necessarily violent.
Make a record of when and where your dog displays aggressive behavior. Your next move will be heavily influenced by this. When dealing with a bad dog behavior, it’s imperative that you address its underlying cause.
The actions are only a symptom of a deeper issue. Hostility may be managed in a variety of ways to keep your dog relaxed. It’s going to require some time, effort, and maybe even the assistance of a professional.
How to Treat Dog Aggression: What Not to Do and What You Should Do
Canine hostility may be conveyed in many ways, but a growl or perhaps a bite are the most prevalent methods of expression. When a pet dies due to a bite, it may be devastating for the owner as well as dangerous.
When dealing with dog aggressiveness, you must first determine what is causing the problem. Then develop and execute a management or training strategy to address it.
Dogs with aggressive behavior may be difficult to teach. But with consistent positive reinforcement and a lot of perseverance, they can usually be tamed.
To prevent typical mistakes, follow these simple guidelines:
Things to Do When Working with an Aggressive Dog
• To guarantee that your dog’s hostility isn’t due to a health issue, get a comprehensive vet check.
• You should visit a qualified dog aggression behaviorist.
• Separation and counterconditioning may be necessary if the situation calls for it.
• Check to see whether your dog is receiving adequate physical activity and other enrichment activities.
• When you’re with your pet, keep a cool head.
• Use reward-based training methods to motivate your employees.
• If you have reason to believe your dog may bite, you should get a muzzle and put it on him.
• Training your dog in a safe atmosphere will help both of you succeed..
• Treat your dog’s underlying fears to minimize or eliminate his hostility at meals.
• Using training aids like puppy gates, if required, keep your dog separate from people and other dogs.
• In the event that your dog’s hostility is linked to his sex, consider having him spayed or neutered.
Things NOT to Do When Raising an Aggressive Dog:
• Keep yourself and others safe by not placing yourself or others at risk. If you are uncertain of your skills, it may be necessary to hire an expert to instruct you.
• Never punish your dog for showing signs of hostility, including growling, which is your dog’s method of communicating his distress or fear.
• Do not teach your dog using outmoded and ineffective approaches. For example, the alpha dog training method focused on dog aggression dominance.
• If you’re using a prong or shock collar, don’t use it. It will simply make your dog more afraid and frustrated.
• Do not pick up or handle your dog if he is acting aggressively. Redirection bites are a real danger if you do this.
• No matter how much training or medication has helped you manage your aggression, the underlying cause may still need attention.
Proper Ways to Stop Dog Aggression
1. Make an Appointment with Your Veterinarian
Medical problems may be the cause of dogs suddenly being violent when they’re not generally that way.
Hypothyroidism, severe injuries, and neurological issues including encephalitis, epilepsy, and brain tumors are among the health conditions that might induce aggressiveness.
Even with little dogs, aggression is a major problem that should not be ignored. To put it another way, it’s a good idea to have your dog checked out even if he doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort.
Once you’ve established that your dog is healthy, you should speak with a dog behaviorist.
As we do, dogs may get irritated when they are in discomfort or feel “wrong.”
As a result of this discomfort, people may engage in aggressive conduct.
Your dog’s hostility will not improve with training if it is caused by a health issue.
This means that even if your dog shows no signs of discomfort, you should still bring him in for a checkup since he could be feeling under the weather.
Once you’ve confirmed that your dog is healthy, you should seek the advice of a canine behaviorist.
If this is the case of your dog, talk to your veterinarian. Your dog’s behavior may improve significantly by applying treatment for dog aggression.
2. Hire a Dog Behaviorist
Because of the complexity of aggression, resolving it is typically a challenge for every dog owner. You may seek dog aggression help from a dog behaviorist.
It is their job to help you develop a strategy to address the root causes of your dog’s aggression, so you can go back to focusing on your pet.
An additional danger is posed by aggressive canines.
To ensure the safety of you, your dog, and those around you, always have a professional canine behavioral consultant analyze your aggressive dog prior to beginning any teaching or management techniques.
It’s possible that your dog behaviorist may provide advice on how to calm an aggressive dog.
To be clear, working with a competent dog behaviorist is very essential. Training aggressive dogs may be difficult. Due to most dog trainers lacking the knowledge and experience required to deal effectively with dogs that are afraid or violent.
3. Make Sure Your Dog is Enjoying His Life
One of the first steps you can do to lessen your dog’s animosity is to make sure he enjoys the best life possible.
Additionally, it is important to make sure he is receiving enough exercise and cerebral stimulation. Also, along with an adequate amount of nutrition.
Do all you can to keep your dog’s psychological health in check when you wait for a professional to come in and help you get your dog under control.
It’s possible that your dog’s aggression stems from frustration, which indicates that his or her needs aren’t being addressed. Think about:
• Does my dog get enough activity?
Every day, most older dogs need between 30 mins and an hour of gentle exercise and playing. With a high level of drive or energy, you’ll require a lot more.
Consider the breed and personality of your dog to determine what sort of exercise he requires. The majority of this training should be done outdoors since your puppy needs to see the world.
• Does my dog get enough time to play?
Besides going for a walk, your dog needs to have some fun. No other canines are required for this. Playing with you may be just as enjoyable. Make it a daily ritual to fetch and play with your dog’s favorite ball or bouncy toy for at least five to ten minutes.
Flirt poles are a great way to keep your dog active and entertained while also providing some mental stimulation.
• Is my dog receiving proper mental training?
Playtime is essential for dogs, and almost every dog owner agrees. While physical activity is crucial, many individuals fail to realize that mental training can be just as important. Your dog must be able to act on his own initiative and rely on his natural instincts.
4. Include Management Approach
Methods and tactics for managing your dog’s aggressive behavior rather than depending on behavior change are known as “management techniques.” Manage your dog’s behavior to keep it from getting out of control or harming someone else.
Managerial and behavioral techniques should be combined in the end, under the leadership of an expert in behavior.
Management techniques, on the other hand, may help you feel more in control of your situation if a behaviorist is out of the question.
Your pet’s life may be saved by using an indoor dog gate. They’re a simple, low-cost, and effective solution to keep an aggressive dog under control. They may also be put to a variety of good purposes. Set up gates at the entrance or foyer of your property to prevent your dog from bolting and maybe biting a passerby.
Separate a food-guarding dog from the rest of the household with gates so that it may dine in peace and quiet. Alternatively, you may use a dog gate to confine your dog to a separate room when you have friends around. Treat and retreat games, such as these, can help your dog stop barking at strangers while also ensuring the safety of your visitors.
However, unlike gates, crates are not suitable for long-term usage. Enrichment activities and secure, gated areas may keep a dog engaged for much of the day, but a dog should not be crated at all times.
Always walk your dog on a leash in public if it is hostile. Even if you don’t have your own private fenced-in space for your dog to run about in, you may still go to dog parks early and late in the day.
Public fenced-in spaces like ballparks, playgrounds, and tennis courts may also be used if you’re authorized to do so. Just remember to always pick up after your dog.
Using a muzzle prevents dogs from biting people or their owners since it is simple, easy, and failsafe.
• “No Petting” Gear
You may find that children and strangers rush to touch your dog, such as a Golden Retriever or a Lab, if you own one of these breeds.
An anxious or reactive dog will become even more aggressive as a result of this. The usage of dog leashes, dog harnesses, or dog bandanas to prevent people away from dogs is an option for some pet owners.
5. Find out how serious the aggressive tendencies of your dog are
Many dogs display aggression by growling, leaping, and biting.
One of the most difficult things to deal with when dealing with dog aggressiveness, biting is the most dangerous and difficult.
The last phases of a dog’s aggressive growth are described by a notion in dog training known as the dog ladder of aggression.
Hostility may be measured using this behavioral scale, which shows how it changes over time.
If your dog is in pain, you may anticipate him to exhibit a variety of signs to let you know that he is in pain.
Before he snarls or bites at you, your dog’s anxiety and dread have built up for a long time.
In addition, he’s undoubtedly dropped indications that you missed.
A dog’s yawning or avoidance of eye contact may be utilized to indicate that something or someone is bothering him.
The more frightened he becomes, the more likely he is to escape or tuck his tail behind himself. If this doesn’t work, he may turn to a snarl, a snap, or a bite.
Because the progression of a dog’s aggressive behavior isn’t always linear, it’s important to pay attention to any warning signs you see.
6. Learn how to read a dog aggression body language
The majority of human communication is verbal. It’s our responsibility to tell someone if they’re making us feel uncomfortable. The same does not apply to canines, though!
Most other animals rely far more significantly on body language to communicate their thoughts and emotions than dogs do.
It’s possible that our differing communication styles may cause some friction when we live together. Our dogs’ body language may be tough for us to read since we’re so accustomed to verbal communication.
Dog owners often ignore anxiety-inducing nonverbal indicators like “whale eye” and other nonverbal indications.
Learn your dog’s language and how they communicate to better comprehend your pet’s behavior. Despite the fact that dogs cannot speak English, people may learn to interpret canine body language.
There is generally a good deal of warning before a dog attacks.
When some of the following signs or symptoms appear, it’s time to step back and give your dog some space to settle down.
Keep in mind what occurred before you noticed the body language shift. Never retaliate against your dog or inflict punishment on him. If you do this, it will just make the situation worse and increase your danger.
7. Consider the Reasons behind Your Dog’s Aggressive Behavior
A canine behaviorist and your veterinarian are essential in determining what’s causing your dog’s negative behavior in the first place, since dog aggression may come in a variety of ways.
The term “aggressive” is commonly used incorrectly to these dogs since they are normally acting in self-defense. It doesn’t matter why, but they’re trying to get away from anything that they consider to be hazardous or scary.
Take into account the following: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, what do you do? The phone may be ringing? It’s time to get some fresh air.
Because he doesn’t have those alternatives, your dog acts like a dog to show his distress.
His fear isn’t shown verbally, but he may send the message “back off” with a look of the whale eye or a flash of the fangs.
Dogs who have been traumatized as puppies are more likely to be aggressive than those that have been properly socialized and trained. It’s possible that in the future, you’ll need to go back to the basics again.
No need to worry or feel sorry for yourself. Given the circumstances, it should come as no surprise to anybody. Restarting and moving forward with your dog is all you can do.
8. What is Dog Aggressiveness and Dog Reactiveness?
There are distinct distinctions between aggression and reactivity. They are sometimes misunderstood or mixed together.
Overreacting canines are referred to as “reactive dogs,” and the word is used to describe them.
To put it simply, reactive dogs are those who are very sensitive to their environment and the many stimuli that come their way. Trauma, a lack of socialization as a puppy, or a genetic predisposition may all contribute to this hypersensitive state of affairs.
Honestly, anything might be a sign of disaster, so it’s best to be cautious. Dogs may react to a wide range of stimuli, but others are selective and will only respond to certain types of information.
Your dog may not be reactive in every situation. Untethered dogs, for example, often get hyperactive when out on a stroll on a leash.
Others may label dogs as “aggressive” if they show aggressive behavior in response to a trigger. Reactive dog owners are well aware that their canines may transform into adorable cuddly love bugs when they are around.
Some people use the phrase “aggressive dog” when referring to a dog that is always agitated and stressed, regardless of what the causes are.
It’s common for dogs to show aggressive behavior when they’re afraid, anxious, annoyed, or hurt. As a result, it is possible that they will not display hostile behavior that is directly tied to an incident. As a result, they may lash out at any time.
Because “typically aggressive” dogs are constantly in pain, “reactive” dogs only act out when they’re around items that will make your dog angry.
Before commencing a training program, it is important to determine which category your dog falls into. Different techniques of training and administration may be necessary.
Reactive dogs can be helped by desensitisation training. But a violent dog needs more comprehensive treatment. Finding the core cause of unwanted behavior is vital before implementing skills training that will keep everybody healthy and happy.
9. Find Out What Sets Off Your Dog, and How to Avoid It
Find out what causes your dog to get agitated and prevent it. Consider going to a park with fewer dogs if your dog is afraid of them, or avoid taking him for a walk if there are many dogs around.
Try to avoid your dog’s suffering from being exacerbated by objects like cars or bushes if at all possible.
In the case of a dog that begins yelping and lunging at other dogs, many owners think they need to reprimand their pet.
If your dog is repeatedly offered the opportunity to engage in an undesirable behavior, it learns to do so. Keep your dog out of situations where he has to demonstrate aggressive behavior in order for him to feel secure.
10. Observe Your Dog’s Behavior in a Journal
Some dog owners may find it quite helpful to keep a record of their dog’s aggressive behavior.
Look for any indications of animosity and document any possible triggers, such as the presence of other dogs. We also include a reactive dog tracker journal that you can use to keep tabs on your dog’s reactivity.
Tracking your dog’s aggressive behavior and noting when and where it occurs may help you identify trends.
It is possible that these patterns may provide light on why your dog is behaving violently or allow you to use specialized management techniques in high-risk situations.
There are some times of the day when dogs, such as puppies, get excited and rowdy, such as during sunset, twilight, or the early evening. It is possible for a dog to lash out at someone who is very thrilled.
After identifying the dog’s “witching hours,” the use of cages, gates, or distractions like frozen Kongs or chews may assist prevent the behavior from getting out of hand or perhaps stop it completely.
11. Use a Dog Muzzle
Even though we’ve previously covered some of the most effective methods for controlling an aggressive dog, muzzles deserve their own section because of the significance they have.
Muzzles have a poor image, yet they may save the life of any violent dog.
Muzzles allow your dog to go on walks in public and not put anybody in danger. People who have violent dogs should always have this as a back-up option. Muzzles, on the other hand, are fantastic inventions.
If you want to keep your dog secure while still allowing him to pant and cool off, you’ll need an adjustable basket-style muzzle like this one. Drinking, peeing and eating treats are all possible with the correct muzzle.
Your dog shouldn’t be wearing a full-mouth muzzle. This is a dog groomer’s muzzle, and it can only be worn for a brief period of time.
When it comes to dogs, I believe muzzles should be put on all of them, even if they haven’t been tested or aren’t acclimated to specific individuals.
When it comes to children, my dog Trisha isn’t the kind of dog that likes to be around kids all the time. Whenever I have tiny children around, Trisha wears a muzzle to prevent any mishaps.
Even though it’s heartbreaking to muzzle your dog, it’s the only way to ensure that no one is harmed.
12. Think about spaying or neutering
It was formerly believed that spaying and neutering male dogs made them more aggressive. This myth may have been propagated in order to increase the number of animals euthanized.
In certain situations, spaying or neutering may be able to reduce aggressiveness induced by hormones, according to recent studies.
Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of having your dog spayed or neutered with your veterinarian. A simple solution to stop your dog from acting aggressively may be to get your dog’s nails cut by a veterinarian or a behaviorist.
13. Don’t punish a dog for being aggressive
If you have an aggressive dog, you should never use punishment or anything that makes the dog feel bad. This means you shouldn’t use:
• Prong collars
• Dog leash
• Alpha rolls
For dogs that are mean, why aren’t these tactics recommended? Fear and anxiety are the most common causes of aggressive behavior in dogs.
Using force-based approaches might drive your dog even more scared, damage your bond with your dog, and worsen a difficult situation.
Because he feels he has the upper hand, your dog is behaving aggressively. Disproved for a long time, this theory is based on faulty science.
Make your dog feel comfortable, build up his confidence, and use a mix of redirecting, verbal praise, and counterconditioning to correct your dog’s behavioral issues.
Working with a dog behaviorist might assist you in formulating a strategy to help you achieve your objectives.
Beware of any uncertified behaviorists who advocate utilizing fear or pain-based tactics like the ones above, and run away. As a long-term user, you might end up having to put your dog down due to its terrible behavior if you utilize these products.
14. Give your cute dog some room
Many people are taken aback when their new dog snarls or attacks them when they first kiss and cuddle him. Anyone who is familiar with dogs, on the other hand, should not be surprised by this.
There are certain dogs that don’t want to be cuddled or kissed.
In their box or on their bed, most don’t want to be overwhelmed with attention.
Take a step back if your dog becomes hostile when you approach it to soothe it or get near to it. Your dog is pleading with you for some alone time. Wait for your dog to approach you before petting him. Get your dog to trust you and teach him that he can trust you by using some of our methods.
Consider how your dog might perceive things. Is it something you’d like if someone leapt on you in the middle of the night and gave you a full body rub? No, I doubt it!
All dogs, but especially those that are new to your household, need you to show them the utmost respect for their personal space. Newly adopted dogs are likely to have had their whole lives flipped upside down by the time they arrive at their new homes. Make sure your dog has a comfortable, enclosed space where he may rest and get his bearings in his new environment. Getting your dog used to you may take weeks or even months, especially if they’ve been at a shelter for a long time or have never been in a nice environment.
15. Make Use of Dog Aggression Medication
Stopping canine aggressiveness begins with removing a dog’s anxieties and concerns.
An anti-anxiety drug may be prescribed by your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist. Provided they believe that these are your dog’s primary causes for aggression.
For example, your dog’s veterinarian may prescribe a tranquilizer like Xanax or Prozac to help him relax. In most cases, drugs function best when used in conjunction with other treatments. For example, behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.
“Natural” remedies like aromatherapy, vitamins, and CBD-infused items are all the rage.
Dogs may benefit from the usage of some of these items to reduce anxiety, but only use those that are specifically designed for dogs.
Also, consult your veterinarian before introducing a new product to your pet. It’s important to note that many “natural” items, such as essential oils, may provoke neurological symptoms like seizures or exhaustion.
16. Legal ways to protect yourself
Because of the dog’s behavior and the legal consequences, no one can dispute that owning an aggressive dog may be frightening. You might be held liable if your dog injures someone.
Management strategies are essential because of this. It’s critical that you take every precaution to prevent your dog from biting someone.
Whether you have a troublesome dog, consider if you can add additional coverage to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
If you’re concerned about your legal rights, you may use the following tools in addition to the ones listed above.
Warning Signs: Some dog owners also post warning signs about their dog’s violent tendencies around their property. Your property will be less likely to be invaded by outsiders who may be bitten.
Even if the worst happens, it might save your dog from being harmed because of a bite he gives someone else.
Cameras for security: There have been instances in the past when neighbors intentionally provoked a violent dog in the hopes that it would attack someone and be put down.
To keep your dog and yourself safe from obnoxious neighbors, consider installing surveillance cameras around your home. Having this video on hand can help if the dog does bite you.
High Wall: An aggressive dog’s owner will most likely need to spend extra money on a high-quality exterior fence. If your dog is a big dog breed, you’ll want something sturdy, tall, and impenetrable.
If your dog is more territorial because it can see through the fence, you may wish to add protection covering to the wall.
17. Set a feasible goals
For a dog to feel comfortable and secure, it requires time and patience. It won’t happen overnight; it will require months of dedication. The only way to get well is with the aid of a professional, practice, management, and, in certain situations, medication.
It is critical to maintain a record while dealing with aggressiveness since even the tiniest of adjustments may have a big impact.
Using the tips in this article and consulting with a dog behaviorist, you may help your dog become more relaxed, happy, and at ease.
A dog that is cruel may easily make you feel angry and annoyed. You may feel like you’ve been cheated at times. Are dogs meant to behave in this manner?
You’re not the only one, after all. There are many dog owners who have issues with their dogs becoming violent, but few are prepared to discuss it.
Embrace the fact that your dog is trying his or her best at this moment to cope with the situation.
In the eyes of the general public, your dog must be well-behaved. However, allow me to relieve you of part of this burden.
There’s no rule saying that your dog must enjoy other people or dogs as long as he’s content and receiving what he needs from you.
The owner isn’t always at blame for a dog’s hostility. Everything is great as long as you and your dog are both happy and safe.
Aggression issues in dogs are often addressed by their owners in an effort to provide their canines additional opportunities and experiences. Or, maybe, because the family is unable to continue as it is.
Be encouraged by the knowledge that you aren’t alone and that there is assistance available.
The fear of a dog’s aggression may be paralyzing, but it can be overcome with the appropriate mindset, training, and the guidance of a professional.
Changing and regulating a dog’s behavior over time may halt the majority of aggressive dog behaviors.
Do you have a canine companion that is prone to biting? If so, how did it work out for you? Have you talked to a professional about it? Tell us about what you’ve done in the comments!