Have you seen aggression in your dog? Are you in shock that your dog could even be aggressive? This is a natural survival instinct that can be more pronounced in some dogs than others. This can easily start in your home and develop into something dangerous that can be difficult to fix.
You can see it in little things, like your dog not wanting to share or give up something he has in his personal space.
Here’s why I got a call from a new client last month. She had her small terrier mix sitting next to her in her chair. The dog was chewing on a chew stick as her child approached. The dog growled at the girl.
In this case the dog was using his growl, a form of aggression, to keep the child away from her mom and possibly the chew stick.
If that same dog was in the kitchen with the mom standing near the sink and the little girl approached the dog as she went to the refrigerator, the dog may not growl at the child.
Why? The reasons are mom was in a working mode not a mode of nurturing the dog in her lap and the mom was not paying attention to the dog. So the value of the mother at that moment was neutralized and she was not important to the dog.
What’s a resource?
If your dog has learned to guard a resource of some kind, you need to read on.
A resource is simply anything that is of value to your dog in any given moment.
Resources can be something tangible like food or treats, whether yours or his or it could be something more abstract like your or your dog’s personal space, the entrance to your home or a hallway.
Ever drop a cookie on the floor and have your dog grab it with lightening speed and NOT want to give it up? That’s guarding a yummy resource!
Your dog may choose to fiercely guard a resource from another dog or person in any given moment or it may not be important at all in that moment. It just depends. I’ve known some dogs to guard or block another dog to keep it from going down a hallway or into the back yard. Most dog owners do not recognize this dog behavior problem for what it is and unfortunately, the dog problem just escalates.
Dogs are pretty selfish critters and the bossy ones usually take the attitude that “If I want it, it’s mine. If I don’t want it, it’s yours, you can have it!”
Some dogs have been known to stand over a toy that another dog wants just to say, “I don’t want you to have it right now” and a moment later just walk away. He just wanted to prove a point.
Many dog owners are not aware
I find that many dog owners are not even aware of the resources that can have value to their dog like eating or sleeping areas or even people. Because they are not aware, these owners inadvertently allow their puppies to guard things thinking it’s cute.
But the seeds are being planted.
That cute growl is not being noticed as guarding so the puppy gets to rehearse it over and over. Once the puppy becomes an adult, it can become a serious dog problem.
Know how your dog communicates
It is important for you as a dog owner to become aware of how your dog interacts with other dogs because he will use the same communication techniques with you and your family. You want to make sure he is not misinterpreted.
Also be aware of the value of setting rules and expectations for your dog in your home.
He needs a roadmap by which he can navigate life with you and your family. That can be handled with obedience training on sits and downs.
And remember, if you don’t like something your dog is doing, figure out what you would prefer he do instead and then train him to do just that! It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Remember: “Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston’s most trusted dog trainer for 25+ years, service 8900+ clients and 20,000+ dog has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things we do as humans, the influence that behavior. Jim has the ability to not only help dog owners understand what the dog needs to be successful, but to teach the owners has to teach and train their dogs.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy, step by step training to help your dog understand what you expect of him. You have to empower your dog to be able to give you this behavior and your must empower him to be successful at living in your home. Ground Rules for Great Dogs gets you there. Grab them now.