Ways to Stop Aggression in a Dog

When your dog shows signs of aggression, whether that’s snapping, growling, or biting, you’re dealing with a problem. Indeed, aggression is one of, if not the top reason why owners go-to professionals to train their dogs. This is an issue that any dog breed can have, whether it’s a German Shepherd Lab mix or a Pitbull. Any breed can become aggressive if the right circumstances are met.

Fence It Up

If you’re dealing with an aggressive dog, make sure that your property has a very good fence that won’t allow the dog to escape, since the last thing you want to deal with is your dog biting a stranger. To ensure that that doesn’t happen, check your fence regularly for holes and weak spots. 

 

Strong Leash

Physical activity is crucial for all dogs, even for aggressive ones. In fact, keeping a dog active may be a great way of reducing their aggression, in some cases. However, it’s very important to ensure that you have a strong leash, from which they cannot escape. This helps you control the dog so that he or she doesn’t become a threat to people or other dogs. 

 

Bring a Muzzle

When going on walks, a muzzle is just as important as, if not even more as a strong leash. A basket design is ideal, as these allow dogs to drink and pant, and even to receive treats from you. To teach them to wear a muzzle, start off by putting their favorite treat in it, and holding it as still as possible. Allow them to eat the treat, without fastening the muzzle. Next, put a treat in, and pop it over his nose while he’s eating, but remove it the second he finishes. When you notice that they’re more comfortable, put a treat, but this time fasten the muzzle. Continue to feed him or her treats through it.

 

Desensitize Your Pup

For this technique, you’re going to have to pay close attention to what triggers aggression in your dog, and then try to help them with that. For instance, if your dog has an issue with men, brings in a friend, and start off with him standing at the edge of your yard, while still being too far away for the dog to react. Nevertheless, the pooch should still be able to see the man. Give the dog treats. Then, have the friend come closer. If your dog is calm, give treats; if they start to react, have your friend move a bit further away. This may take quite a few sessions until the dog will become used to staying calm, but if you persevere, it will happen.

 

Reduce Guarding Behavior

With this, your aim should be to reduce the opportunities your dog has to exhibit guarding behaviors. Don’t allow him or her to patrol the fence.  Consider alternative ways of spending the time, like keeping them indoors and taking them out to the park to exercise. If they bark when you have visitors, take them to another room. It’s important to not shout at them, since your dog may just interpret this as you joining in.

 

Stop Food Guarding

For this, start off by putting the bowl down, but only with a bit of his dinner in it. After he starts eating, scatter a bit more of the dinner as close to the bowl as he or she will allow you to get. Do this as many times as you have the chance.

Something else to try here is starting off with an empty bowl, and your dog sitting on command. Once they sit, put a handful of food in, and allow them to eat. When they’re finished, command them to sit, and add another bit of food. This is great because it shows your dog that you’re the one in control.

 

Don’t Punish

When you punish an aggressive dog, you’re very likely to end up with an even more aggressive dog, since they will feel like they have to defend themselves and the only way to do that is by biting. In addition, if you punish them, you may just end up with a dog that bites without warning. For instance, if a dog growls at a child, they are showing that they are uncomfortable, but if they’re punished for this, they may just skip the growling and go straight to biting. 

 

Aggression in dogs is a big problem, and should be addressed as soon as possible. If you feel like you can’t handle this behavior on your own, it’s perfectly fine to call in a professional to help you out.

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