1 February 2018

Understanding Dog Aggression

Aggression is one of the most unwanted and least understood behaviours in dogs. Many dog owners fear that aggression can’t be treated, which could mean giving up their beloved pet. However, by understanding the reasons for the aggression and addressing them, you can help your dog overcome aggressive behaviours. Here’s what you need to know about dog aggression.

Multiple types, one root cause

Although your dog may suffer from one of many different types of aggression, all forms stem from the same cause: fear. Whether your dog fears losing his food, fears being attacked on his home territory, or fears abuse from humans, the reaction will be the same.

Dogs who are in pain or under the influence of medications may fear a loss of control. Dogs that have been mistreated previously may be aggressive with new humans they encounter. Each different type of aggression (aggressive over food, aggressive with new people, territorial aggression, etc.) needs to be dealt with individually. If your dog has several forms of aggression, it may take a great deal of behavioural training to get the problem under control, so be patient and follow your trainer’s instructions.

Prevention and treatment

Obviously, you can’t prevent aggression that has already been established, but you can begin treatment as soon as possible by engaging in training with your pet. Never use a punishment based training--it won’t work and can actually make the problem worse.

If your pet is young, you can help prevent some forms of aggression by socializing your dog often in appropriate settings. However, if you suspect that your pet was abused as a puppy, you might want to avoid subjecting your pup to large crowds of people and busy dog parks, at least until you’ve undertaken training.

The bottom line of any aggression training is the same. You need to show your dog that you are in charge and that you will keep your pet safe from its fears. Reassurance, repetition, and patience are required, but most dogs can overcome most of their aggressive behaviours with proper training.

Talk to the skilled trainers at Bark Busters today to see how you can help your dog overcome aggressive or problematic behaviours.

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