How Can I Stop Dog Aggression?

Understanding Your Dog

The first step in preventing dog aggression is to understand why it happens. Aggression is a natural instinct for your dog. Undomesticated dogs often had to be aggressive in order to survive. Through domestication and selective breeding this trait has been minimized but the instinct is still there.

Wild dogs, as social animals, lived together in packs with a distinct hierarchy. To determine their social ranking, within the pack, dogs would assert themselves as they came of age. A domesticated dog has the same instinct. It is important to your puppy to know his ranking within your family and within the neighborhood.

It is only natural for your dog to want to protect his pack, or family, and his territory. If your dog sees neighborhood dogs as a threat to his territory, or his social standing, he may become aggressive. Your dog will also act aggressively when he feels a need to protect his family. Helping your puppy acclimatize to various situations will help him understand when aggressive behavior is not appropriate.

Socialization

Socialization provides opportunities for your dog to learn to get along with other dogs and it also helps prepare him for various situations he may encounter. Socialization and proper dog behavior is something a puppy should learn from his mother.  However, if a puppy is taken from his mother before ten weeks of age he may not have been taught how to socially interact with other dogs. If this is the case not knowing how to relate to other dogs may lead to aggression if you do not train him properly.

There are two areas of socialization to consider with your dog. Your dog must get along with other animals, as well as people, and he needs to understand the requirements within your family.  It is essential that your dog have opportunities to interact in all these areas. Your dog wants to be a vital part of your family. Train your dog properly and he will understand what it means to be a responsible member of your family. 

A great resource to help you in training your dog can be found at: Training Your Dog in Any Situation

Tension Within the Family

Your dog is impacted by the way you and your family handles tension. If family members are tense your dog will react to that tension. Aggressive behavior may be the only way your dog is able to express the tension he feels so your family must learn to deal with tension in an appropriate manner. Your dog learns much from your example. Work at being calm with your dog as well as with family members.

What a Puppy Needs and Wants

Understanding a puppy’s needs and wants is vital. He must feel love and security and he must receive adequate attention. Your puppy will become bored when he does not get enough attention and boredom can lead to aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior is rewarded if your dog only receives attention when he acts in an aggressive manner. When your dog is bored negative attention is as much of a reward as positive attention.  No attention is worse than negative attention. You can help stop dog aggression by giving your dog adequate attention and by training him in a positive way.

Your dog should be exercised regularly. A puppy, full of youthful energy, needs plenty of space and opportunities to run and play. The need for exercise does not only apply to puppies. Small apartment size dogs and older dogs require exercise as well.

A good way to provide exercise and interaction with you is through neighborhood walks. These also offer experiences for socialization under your control. You must provide good examples for your puppy to follow. Your puppy will learn the wrong behavior if he is allowed to run freely with neighborhood dogs. The best playmates for your puppy are mature, well-behaved dogs.

A dog left on his own, without proper guidance, will adopt bad habits. With positive training your dog’s aggressive nature can be controlled. You can keep your dog’s attention centered on you, instead of other dogs and people, by training him properly. If you are consistent in training your dog he will follow your commands no matter the situation.

Teaching your dog tricks is a great way to prevent boredom and provide social interaction.

A fantastic guide for teaching your dogs tricks can be found at: Teaching Tricks and Training Your Dog

Can Older Dog’s Habits Be Changed?

These ideas work well with a puppy because they are a clean slate and open to learning but what if your furry friend is an older dog? Constant, consistent effort is needed to correct an older dog’s bad habits. Aggressive behavior in a mature dog must be addressed immediately. If you wait to reprimand your dog he will know he feels bad but he will not understand why. Consistently repeat corrective actions until your dog understands the correct response in a particular situation.

Dog Aggression is a Critical Problem

Dog aggression is a critical problem and should be taken seriously. There are far too many dogs that have been taken to the pound because they had difficulty living peacefully in our society. Take time to train your puppy or dog before aggression becomes a problem.

I highly recommend this awesome course to help you successfully train your dog, whatever his age: How To Train Your Dog

 

Posted under House Training Puppies

This post was written by TKB_Editor on February 23, 2013

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