Why Is My Dog Aggressive?
Dog aggression is a serious problem many owners face. In order to help your dog overcome his aggressiveness, it’s important to know the root cause of this behavior before moving forward with training aggressive dogs. The two most common causes are frustration (from lack of exercise and activity) and dominance (from lack of calm-assertive leadership). Breed does not determine if your dog will be aggressive, but larger dogs that are aggressive can pose a greater risk to others and themselves.
Lack of proper exercise can put your dog out of a healthy state of mind and leave him or her with too much pent-up energy. If he is not burning all of the excess energy inside him, he will become overly anxious or fearful and express those emotions through aggression. Another root cause of an aggressive dog is lack of opportunity to adequately socialize with other, good-natured dogs. This results in an adult dog with poor social skills and trouble understanding communication signals from other animals.
Dealing with Aggressive Dogs
It is extremely important that you not punish or train aggressive dogs with aggressive tactics. As stated previously, some aggression is manifested by fear. Beating or being rough with your dog only establishes more fear and, while he may stop doing whatever he is being punished for, you have still built a foundation for aggression to be acceptable. You should establish yourself as the alpha dog, the leader of the house, but you must do it in a positive way.
When establishing yourself as the leader, you can begin by having your dog on a leash inside the house. The purpose of this is for you to be able to control where the dog can or cannot go. Maybe you let him lie on the floor in the living room, but hold the leash as he tries to jump on the couch. Perhaps he’ll learn you are happy with him laying down on his bed but dislike him going into the kitchen.
Speaking of beds, a dominant dog will try to sleep in the best possible place in your home. Often, this means he’ll sleep on your bed. This is acceptable only when he understands that you are allowing him to sleep with you. To get him to understand this, he may have to sleep in the crate until he fully understands that you are in control here.
Other ways to train an aggressive dog include muzzles (if he is prone to snapping or barking to intimidate other animals), prong collars (so that when you use the leash for training he does not choke), and of course food, toys, and praise for a job well done.
As always with training, you have to be patient with your furry companion. If he gets nervous around people or other dogs, limit his exposure until he is more comfortable. If he is struggling to master any steps during training, slow down and even go back a step if necessary. All of this will only strengthen the bond between you both, and your dog will learn to feel safe with you, the true alpha dog of the house.
Getting a handle on a dog with aggression issues can be a challenge. Don’t hesitate to look for experts in training aggressive dogs to help you get to the root of the problem. After all, each dog is an individual and the ability to be a complex and emotional animal. Making sure that your pet is getting what they need from you to be successful should always be your first priority.