Managing an Aggressive Dog in Public & At Home
As a leading dog trainer in Toronto, we often get owners asking us whether it is possible to train an aggressive dog. As we have experience dealing with this type of dog, we know to tell them that aggressive behaviour does not necessarily indicate that their dog is naturally mean or bad. It is their way of expressing insecurity and fear. Read on to learn about managing an aggressive dog at home and in public.
Common Causes and Triggers of Dog Aggression
If you feel that your pup is showing signs of aggressive behaviour, it helps to know the root cause. Notice what they do when acting aggressively, such as growling, lunging or biting. Also, observe whether they behave differently in particular situations, or around certain people or things.
Reasons for dog aggression can include the following:
- Lack of socialization
- Traumatic experiences in the past with other dogs or people
- Being introduced to a new environment
Some triggers for aggression include:
- Interactions with particular people
- Meeting other dogs
- Being put on a leash
- Meeting strangers or feeling someone is entering their territory
- When they perceive specific things as a threat to their resources such as toys or food
Does Punishment Work?
Some dog owners feel that the best way to respond to dog aggression is to punish them. This approach, however, pushes them to lash out more instead of becoming obedient. It helps to remember that the main reason for harsh behaviour is fear and insecurity. If you react angrily to your dog that is already scared, it is likely to increase their fear, thus creating a cycle of aggression.
The best way to train an aggressive pup is to enroll them in dog obedience classes. It also helps to be understanding and compassionate towards them. This helps them to build confidence and get rid of their fear.
What Should You Do If Your Dog is Aggressive in Public?
Once you have identified the triggers for the unwanted behaviour exhibited by your dog, try and keep them away from those things or people. Space is key to helping your dog feel less threatened. It is essential to figure out how much space they require and build positive experiences with their triggers. This method is known as desensitization-counterconditioning.
Take your dog for small walks, familiarize them with the environment, and give them time to adapt to the changes. It helps to take them to quieter places for play and ensure they do not lash out suddenly before taking them out in public.
What Should You Do If Your Dog is Aggressive at Home?
In a way, dog aggression at home is a bigger challenge than aggression in public. The trainers in dog obedience classes believe that it helps to establish a protocol to manage them.
- Try and understand their cause of aggression.
- Help them get comfortable at your home and with your family members.
- Keep them away from new visitors and other dogs.
- Avoid any sudden actions when your dog is around.
- Reward them for good behaviour.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Bitten Someone?
If your dog has bitten another dog or a person, the situation may be more serious because the authorities may intervene. In such cases, it is essential to get immediate help from expert dog trainers. They may suggest that you strongly consider enrolling them in aggressive dog training classes to understand them better and manage their behaviour.
8 Tips for Working with an Aggressive Dog
If you are panicking, remember to breathe steadily and deeply. Your dog can easily pick up on your feelings and understand if you are anxious. Do not show any signs of fear or concern in front of them. If they think you are scared or stressed, they may try to protect you and behave aggressively. You can show your dog that you are calm and composed while also helping yourself feel that way by managing your breathing.
Work with Your Veterinarian
A qualified vet may be able to help with your aggressive dog. They can observe when they become hostile, attempt to identify the source of the aggression, and recommend suitable measures to manage their behaviour.
When it comes to aggressive dog training, you need your dog to listen to you even when they are scared, stressed, or excited. It is helpful to have a good recall you can use to ensure your dog comes back to you immediately, even if they take off after something or someone. This will also help prevent mishaps or accidents.
Manage Your Dog’s Excitement or Stress Level
Aggressive dogs may stop responding to your commands when they get excited or stressed. It is best to teach them to obey your commands when reacting to a trigger and prevent them from becoming aggressive in such situations.
If your dog behaves aggressively because of fear, you should consider seeking aggressive dog training from professionals who can help deal with it. They will use positive reinforcement training and teach your dog to respond to triggers or stimuli without being hostile.
Install a Fence Around Your Yard
If you are worried about going out with your dog, install a fence in your yard where they can exercise. However, be sure not to leave them unsupervised in the backyard in case something comes in, or they find a way out.
Increase Their Confidence
Because of fear, aggressive dogs may become hostile towards triggers or the things that scare them because they lack confidence. This makes it essential to do things that will boost their confidence. In addition to regular training, you can do this by playing tug with them and letting them win. However, if your dog is dominant, avoid doing this as you may encourage their aggressive behaviour. Be sure to put the toy away after playing.
Socialize Your Dog from a Young Age
Socializing your dog when they are young is a preventive measure against them becoming aggressive. This is because dogs tend to learn fast when they are young. You may enroll them in a reputable puppy pre-school with experts for training aggressive dogs so they can pick up on any behaviours and correct them before they become a bigger issue.
Also, consult with a professional dog trainer such as Alpha Paws to get reliable advice.
We Offer Dog Obedience Training in Toronto
At Alpha Paws, we have the best trainers for aggressive dogs to figure out what’s causing the unwanted behaviour and how to help them overcome it. We can help you create a plan and manage your dog’s aggression. We also have dog obedience classes in Toronto to help you develop a beautiful bond with them.
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