If your dog has fear aggression, professional dog training can help (at least in most cases).
Fear aggression can be confusing from pet owners. Unless you realize that the behavior stems from fear, you may believe that your pet has an aggressive nature. This can lead some pet owners to rehome the dog or taking him to a shelter.
Fortunately, professional dog training can help with this problem.
What Is Fear Aggression?
This behavior is a form of defensiveness, where your dog responds aggressively when something frightens him.
Fear aggression is a self-rewarding behavior. Perhaps the most well-known self-rewarding behavior is when your dog barks at the mail carrier. He barks and the mail carrier goes away. Your dog doesn’t realize that the mail carrier will go away whether he barks or not. He only knows that, somehow, his barking is directly associated with the scary mail carrier leaving.
When your pet responds to a frightening stimulus in an aggressive manner – and it works to make the stimulus go away – he may begin to use this behavior more frequently.
And, although you may recognize the behavior when it involves the mail carrier, you may not understand it as well when it is directed at you, your family, visitors to your home or people at the park.
What Causes Fear Aggression?
Dogs who are not sufficiently socialized can develop this behavior. Without proper socialization, any new stimulus – people, places, sounds, experiences – can cause them to become fearful.
Another common cause of fear-based aggression in dogs is inhumane, punishment-based training techniques. Sometimes pet owners, despite their best intentions, can cause behavior problems if they attempt to train their pet using punishment rather than a positive reinforcement approach.
If you have a rescue dog with this behavioral challenge, it’s possible he may have been abused or isolated at some point in the past.
Dog Training for Fear Aggression
For any type of aggressive canine behavior, you need assistance from a training professional. However, it is critical that you choose an experienced training professional who uses a reward-based approach and positive reinforcement.
Although the trainer will customize his or her approach based on your pet’s unique personality and behavioral issues, basic obedience and socialization are both helpful in overcoming fear-based aggression. Reinforcing desired behavior with food, play or other pleasurable rewards will also benefit your pet.
In addition to working directly with your pet, a dog training professional can give you recommendations for work you can do at home to help your pet feel more comfortable in fearful situations.
In Salt Lake City, Innovative K9 Academy provides expert puppy and dog training, including puppy camp and dog boot camp. For specialized issues such as fear aggression, we can also offer customized solutions. Contact us today to learn more about how your pet’s behavioral problems can improve from professional dog training.