Dealing with an aggressive dog can be frightening at best right? It’s also embarrassing and extremely anxiety producing for you if you have to walk your aggressive dog but feel you can’t. It actually puts you in a stale-mate position.
You don’t want to walk your dog for fear of him becoming reactive and you wonder exactly what you can do to make your dog better. While at the same time you know you need to walk him to get him better.
You are probably skeptical at best with the information on the internet on dog aggression. Some of it may even be harmful to your dog, making matters even worse.
What steps can you take to make your dog better?
Cases on aggression certainly vary but, taking action now instead of later is always the best decision.
These are just some generally accepted guidelines.
These are proven techniques that have worked over time and have become an integral part of getting good dog behavior and fixing issues with dogs that need help, especially with dogs with aggression.
Control the training environment. In other words, do not set your dog up to fail by allowing him to become reactive to dogs. You will compromise your training program if you place him in a situation he can’t handle. Every opportunity he has to become aggressive makes it that much harder to work on his issues. This is especially important with dogs living in the same household.
Supervise your dog. If your dog is aggressive do not leave him outside to run the fence line or driveway gate to rehearse his aggression on a daily basis. If he has territorial issues, the practice he gets at the driveway gate can also be used to address huge front door issues. Remember, supervise your dog and manage the environment.
Constantly manage your dog. This gives him quick feedback which helps him make better decisions the next time. Too much freedom allows your dog to form bad habits.
Learn to read your dog’s body language to better help you anticipate his every move. Good communication between you and your dog will be one of the keys to your success in life, including training and rehabilitating your dog.
Assess your dog’s lifestyle.
Usually in aggression cases there is a lot of room for improvement. I can usually pinpoint these three areas needing work:
Structure: Placing limits on your dog’s behavior is a good thing. It begins to set expectations of how you want him to behave. It starts in the house and eventually continues outside. Setting rules, personal space boundaries and expectations begins to create an air of cooperation. No structure creates an insecure dog. Is your dog earning everything by doing at least a sit?
Exercise: Many of these dogs are bossy and in need of lots of exercise. Those that have fear-based aggression would benefit from lots of exercise as well. It is a known fact that rhythmical, aerobic exercise can be a buffer for stress. The less stress the better.
Training: Practice daily on obedience training in your home first and then around distractions that are relevant to you, like other dogs. Don’t rush this work.
Remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg and some dogs can take as long as 18-24 months or longer to see progress. You have to be willing to go to bat for your dog.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “2 years!?” Will it ever get fixed?
Here are just three possible outcomes when considering your path of rehabilitation, depending on your dog because not all dogs can be rehabilitated:
1. Complete rehabilitation and integration into play with dogs.
2. If rehabilitation is not possible, then manage the dog for life.
3. With a willing and committed owner, strict management of the dog will be required while undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
Find a trainer or behaviorist that is experienced in working with aggression cases like yours and can help you work your dog in a way that works in your real life scenarios. Get references of clients that have used the trainer successfully and begin the process.
So, what did you think? I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your dog. This is a tough one I know. But remember, I’m here to help.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in with you.