Dog attacks in the UK have risen by 76% over the last decade. A Facebook survey by Cesar Millan asked about the most serious problem that owners have when it comes to their dogs. Unsurprisingly, aggression was the most common answer. Indeed, it takes a stretch of patience to understand an aggressive dog. Most often than not, the dog is not aggressive; it may have been curious and overly excited when exposed outside. ‘In reality, very few dogs are actually aggressive,’ Millan added.
Types of dog aggression
How do you stop dog aggression? First, it is important to identify and assess the circumstances that trigger your dog to engage in such an aggressive reaction. Here are some common instances that may provoke your dog to be aggressive:
- Fear Aggression. A fearful dog usually tries to run or hide when it perceives a threatening presence. However, when left with no other choice, it may resort to aggressive actions. It is common to both puppies and adults.
- Frustrated Aggression. A frustrated dog usually snaps aggressively to whoever or anything that is holding it back from its eye of interest. This could happen to canines that are deprived of exercise and kept in a cage or leashed.
- Social Aggression. This is a way of showing dominance to other dogs or family members. To show aggression is to flaunt their high status towards others.
- Territorial Aggression. It is apparent for dogs to assume and mark their territory where they live. Your pooch may attack and bite anyone that he perceives as an intruder.
- Pain-Elicited Aggression. This is why taking care of an injured dog is always crucial. Oftentimes, this is the result of dog aggression towards owners. Even your furry friend known for his sweet behaviour may react aggressively when in pain. As such, when you notice such an unusual aggressiveness in your pooch when touched, there may be some physical problems that are bothering him. The first thing to do is to visit the vet for medical consultation.
Aggressive behaviour training tips
- Be the alpha in command. In a dog’s world, they live in a hierarchy. Similar to a pack of wolves, there is always a leader or ‘alpha dog.’ If the alpha position is not well-established, it may automatically claim the throne. To prevent this, you have to firmly establish yourself as the alpha dog. There are ways to live by as a pet parent and a leader; one of it is to be firm with rules.
- Physical punishment is not a wise choice. Most dog owners would punish aggressive dogs. Using aggressive behaviour to punish an aggressive dog may motivate such aggression. Instead of punishment, you may distract your dog to exercise, which would help to burn off his excess energy. In addition, you may intensify your role as an alpha leader who supports self-confidence by giving protection to the pack.
- Sleeping arrangement. If your dog is acting like the alpha, he may assume his place in the most comfortable space—your bed. During training, you may want to establish where he rightfully sleeps: in a crate or a dog bed. You have to keep this routine until he finally understands the chain of command.
- Mealtime. Bear in mind that you are still establishing your higher place. As an alpha, you may eat your meal first and he will be fed last. You may eat together as soon as everything is well established. Give comfort and try to be calm around people or other dogs. This way, your dog will feel safer with the calm presence of an alpha dog and could even prevent aggression.
Dog aggression training tips
What to do with:
- Aggression towards passers-by. During walks in public places where there are other dogs and children, make sure that you are capable to get a hold of your dog when it is necessary. If not, you may consider getting a head halter or a muzzle for safety measures. If your pooch did a great job in following you, you need to praise it or you may use a clicker.
- Avoid walking around loose dogs.
- Avoid walking with a number of dogs at the same time when you know one of them is an aggressive one. An aggressive dog requires your full attention when allowed to be outside.
- Socialisation: aggression towards other dogs. When you have successfully established your place as an alpha dog, dog-on-dog aggression may be discouraged with your presence. As long as the pack leader is calm, your dog will not sense the fear of dominance.Tip: Be calm at all times. Remember that fear is contagious.
- Dog leash may trigger fear because it may cause the dog to feel trapped upon interaction with other dogs.
- As such, gradual introduction to social encounter with other dogs is recommended in a safe place where both can roam free.
- Aggression towards people. A dog aggressively biting a person is a very serious matter. If you have suspicions that your dog is as aggressive as this, it is advisable to ask for help from a behaviour specialist. An animal behaviour specialist can help you assess your dog and give options for action plans.
- Keep your dog at a safe distance where it feels safe.
- Provide facilities at home that can be an alternative for public walks.
- Get professional help for action plans.
Do you have dogs showing undesirable traits? Know more about dog behaviour with these interesting articles:
- Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?: Answer and Solutions
- Top 6 Reasons for Dog Digging—Plus Effective Solutions
- Dog Eating Grass: Is This One Reason the Real Answer to the Mystery?