Many dogs receive a bad reputation simply because people tend to fear a particular breed for being more aggressive than others. The truth is, the owner is more responsible for the dog’s behavior than the dog and there is much you can do to help curb your dog’s aggressive behavior and training aggressive dogs is not as hard as you might think.
Your dog will naturally react to the way in which it’s treated. If you mistreat a dog or give it conflicting commands, it will be understandably confused and misbehave. However, if you hit or smack your dog when you try to discipline it, you’ll find your dog is more likely to retaliate aggressively out of fear.
The key to training an aggressive dog is to improve its self-esteem and confidence and let it know when it’s doing the right thing. This will increase the chances that your dog will begin behaving in a more acceptable manner.
Reasons for Dog Aggression
All dogs should display a measure of aggressiveness in the right situations. A dog who displays no aggressive tendencies at all is completely submissive and is subject to even worse psychological problems than an aggressive dog.
A dog who is afraid and nervous can end up becoming even more disobedient than a dominant, aggressive dog, so never try to curb your dog’s aggressive instincts completely.
Instead, try to understand the reasons why your dog is acting aggressively and work to control the situation in a positive manner. Your dog might simply be asserting dominance and displaying tendencies that look a little aggressive.
Signs like direct eye contact or snarling or baring teeth in defiance can be a sign of one dog trying to exert dominance over another. However, when a dog displays these signs to a human, it’s likely that the dog isn’t recognizing you as a pack leader and is working his way up the pack hierarchy through you.
Things to Avoid
When you’re dealing with an aggressive dog, there are some things you should avoid:
- Don’t grab a dog’s tail from behind. He’s likely to spin around and snap at you if he’s feeling jumpy
- Don’t make direct eye contact. This is considered a challenge by many dogs and they could be likely to react badly.
- Don’t hit or smack a dog or it could consider this a direct attack and bite you in self-defense.
- Don’t pat a nervous dog while he’s eating. He may consider this a threat and retaliate to protect his food.
Some dog owners know to train their dogs to accept touch during meal times so they don’t become defensive. If you haven’t trained your dog to accept being petted while eating since he was very young, then simply let him eat in peace.
Always monitor children around unpredictable dogs and teach children not to pull tails or feet. Kids should also avoid playing rough with some dogs who will think this play is a kind of ploy for dominance.
Controlling Dog Aggression
Dogs learn to modify their own behavior based on what they’re taught by human masters. If you praise and reward your dog for showing good behavior, he will be more likely to repeat the good behavior so he can receive more praise.
Positive reinforcement can often help to increase your dog’s confidence and let him know that you’re in control.
Take note of what makes the aggressive tendencies come out in your dog. He might be skittish around other dogs through lack of socialization and respond in an aggressive manner to hide his fear. Your dog might only become aggressive if he’s an older dog having to deal with a more active younger dog in the same home threatening his dominance.
When your dog does behave in an acceptable manner, such as sitting quietly or coming to you when called, reward him with a pat, a high-pitched ‘good boy’ and a treat. Don’t yell at or smack your dog for being bad. This only reinforces bad behavior.
The more frequently you can reward good behavior, the more likely it will be that your dog will try to modify his own behavior to suit you.