If you have an aggressive dog, the situation can dominate your life. Aggression goes beyond unwanted or annoying behavior, posing a real threat of danger to humans and other animals.
Canine aggression is the most commonly cited reason for surrendering dogs and for euthanasia in the shelter. It’s also the most common reason that pet owners seek the assistance of dog trainers. This behavior can take many forms, based on its origin and object(s) of the dog’s aggression.
Whatever its basis may be, it’s imperative that you seek the help of a professional dog trainer, for your safety as well as your pet’s.
An Aggressive Dog Brings Upheaval to Your Life
An aggressive dog can affect your life socially as well as financially.
Depending on the target(s) of your dog’s aggression, you may be unable to take him out in public. You may stop inviting friends and family to visit your home, especially if they have children. Even delivery drivers and repairmen may pose a challenge. In the most extreme cases, the dog may even take his aggression out on members of your own family.
Aggressive dogs are also difficult to contain. You may find yourself with damage to walls, doors and furniture as he frantically attempts to escape confinement.
If you have other animals, you may find yourself visiting the emergency vet frequently, after your pets tangle violently. If your dog attacks or bites a person, you’ll find yourself responsible for their medical bills. You’re also likely to be cited by the police and sued by the victim.
Potential Causes of Canine Aggression
Although breeding can influence aggression, social and environmental factors are more likely to contribute to the development of aggressive behavior.
Some dog breeds are more prone to aggression, particularly those bred to be protective. Female dogs in heat or with puppies, as well as intact male dogs in proximity of a female in heat, can exhibit aggressive behaviors. Inbreeding is another common factor related to aggression, as it can lead to unpredictable temperament.
A lack of socialization can lead to aggression in dogs, as can abuse and excessive teasing. If your pet experiences a frightening event – being attacked by another dog, for example – it can trigger aggression, especially if it occurs during one of his fear imprint periods.
Finally, medical conditions, especially pain, can cause your pet to act out. If your dog suddenly develops unusually aggressive behaviors, see your vet to rule out a physical or neurological problem.
Training to Prevent or Correct Aggressive Dog Behavior
You can prevent the development of aggressive behavior if you understand its potential origins. Obviously, prevention is the most desirable approach, as it’s easier and safer than corrective training. Engage puppies in structured training as early as possible to prevent the development of aggression.
Unfortunately, many pet owners ignore the warning signs until the problem becomes serious and someone gets hurt.
The proper approach to training depends largely on the nature of your dog’s aggression. For example, fear-based aggression requires a different training approach than those behaviors prompted by possessive or territorial instincts. It can also vary based on whether your pet’s targets are other animals, family members, strangers etc.
For those dogs who have already developed a problem, professional trainers frequently recommend a dog boot camp environment for correcting serious behavioral issues such as aggression. An experienced trainer will also assist you in learning how to handle your pet, using consistency and positive reinforcement, to ensure that he retains his corrected behavioral patterns.
In Salt Lake City UT, Innovative K9 Academy specializes in handling serious behavior problems of this nature. Our trainers have advanced knowledge and education, and we offer our clients hope when their pets’ behaviors become overwhelming. Contact us today to learn more about our puppy training, dog boot camp and specialized programs for training aggressive dogs.