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Understanding Dog Aggression and How It Can Be Minimized or Overcome

Causes of Dog Aggression and How to Curb or Calm Such Unwanted Behaviour

Pacify Aggressive DogsFrom its earliest stages, a relationship between a dog owner and their canine companion produces a very loyal bond. For the owner, there are feelings of fondness and friendship mixed with the pleasure derived from nurturing and caring for their little soul mate; from the dog’s perspective, there is a sense of belonging, along with a contentment resulting from the care, affection, and protection afforded them by their adoptive family.

Yet despite such warmth and kind-hearted feelings, there can be situations when a dog’s behaviour is unexpectedly out-of-character, especially when it is manifested through acts of aggression by the dog toward family members, strangers, or other dogs. Under these circumstances, the dog owner might often be heard to remark that such outbursts are very surprising and highly unusual for their pet.

However, just like people, even those who are routinely mild-mannered, dogs can exhibit aggressive behaviour. The fact that it may be highly uncharacteristic should not make it any less worrisome nor should it be taken too lightly and merely cast aside as a one-off; aggressive dog behaviour can and should be dealt with irrespective of frequency or level of severity.

Prior to discussing how to minimize or overcome aggressive dog behaviour, it could be of benefit to understand the factors that may provoke a dog to display signs of aggression. There are in fact many different stimuli that can incite such behaviour, including but not limited to the following:

  • Lack of attention
  • Monotony/tedium
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Fatigue/over-exhaustion
  • Weather (heat and humidity)
  • Grooming (bath, nails, face-cleaning)
  • Taking away food, toys, or stolen items
  • Forceful actions (lifting, wrestling, scolding)

Additionally, it is important to clarify that dog aggression is not necessarily synonymous with direct attacks on people or animals. Aggressive dog behaviour can be manifested in several different ways, such as:

  • Snapping and biting
  • Snarling or baring teeth
  • Guttural warnings or growling
  • Standing very rigid and motionless
  • Lunging or charging without physical contact

In order to curtail such types of unwanted behaviours, dog owners can take a number of pre-emptive steps; these include implementing the following actions with or for the dog:

  • Assuming the role of pack leader
  • Providing suitable amounts of TLC
  • Establishing a regular exercise routine
  • Encouraging socializing with other dogs
  • Play time to promote mental stimulation
  • Enrolling dog in aggression control training

Investing time and effort to incorporate the above can prove to be extremely beneficial in further reinforcing the dog-owner bond and strengthening the mutual rewards derived from that relationship.

Professional Dog Training Programs to Help Resolve Aggressive Dog Behaviour

Overcome Dog AggressionAs seen above, there can be a number of stimuli that provoke aggressive dog behaviour, and a wide range of responses from/by the dog to those forces. In some circumstances, and despite the best of intentions, dog owners may not be able to satisfactorily minimize or overcome the explicit types of responses by their dog; consequently, they may want to call upon the professional dog trainers from Alpha Paws to assess the root cause(s) of the dog’s aggression and implement a specific training program to remedy the situation.

Through an in-home or on-site assessment, an Alpha Paws trainer can diagnose the type of aggression exhibited by the dog in order to propose/develop the best course of action; some of the more common types or classifications of aggressive dog behaviour include:

  • Territorial Aggression – defending their living space from perceived intruders
  • Protective Aggression – rallying to defend a pack member (owner, other dog)
  • Possessive Aggression – often seen when their food/eating area is threatened
  • Fear Aggression – a dog attacks when it is afraid and tries to escape but cannot
  • Defensive Aggression – like fear aggression, but with no attempt to retreat first
  • Social Aggression – hostility shown to certain family members only (dominance)

Once the essence or foundation of the aggressive dog behaviour has been identified, the Alpha Paws trainer can design a training program to help the owner and the dog address and resolve the particular situation. In turn, these programs can be delivered in one of two ways:

  • Board-and-Train: dog is boarded at the Alpha Paws site for 10 days
  • Private Lessons: at the Alpha Paws site or in the dog owner’s home

For more information on the Alpha Paws training sessions for aggressive dog behaviour, please go to Aggressive Dog Training and Behavioural Adjustments page.

To understand why your dog might be displaying aggression and to investigate various ways to minimize or overcome such unwanted behaviour, call the dog training experts from Alpha Paws at 1-647-694-4584 today to discuss our training classes and arrange an in-home or onsite assessment for your dog.

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