You may think that your new puppy is the cutest animal in the world. It may be hard to imagine them ever acting aggressively. However, even the gentlest puppy can begin to display aggressive behaviors, such as growling, snapping, and biting.
What can you do if your dog begins to show these behavioral problems? If your dog is beginning to show signs of aggression, don’t panic. These behaviors can be dealt with by properly training your puppy. It can take time and patience, but you’ll be able to teach your dog to not respond aggressively.
Here, we’ll walk you through how you can deal with your dog’s aggressive behavior.
You’ve probably seen the signs of aggression before in other dogs. Growling and barking, bared teeth, rigid posture, and biting. But what causes these behaviors in dogs?
Dogs use aggression to respond to a number of different situations. Your dog may start barking if you try to take away their toys or treats. Or they may get aggressive whenever they see a new person approach the house.
Many dogs also turn to aggressive behaviors when they believe their family is under threat. Although you know that your mailman is friendly, your dog may not, and they react by barking and growling because they believe your safety may be at risk.
A dog’s aggression is often not targeted at a human. Many times, their aggression is territorial, and they are reacting to another animal. Dogs will often get scared by certain inanimate objects and react with aggression. These objects could be anything from cars and bikes to vacuum cleaners.
There are also a number of dog breeds that have been bred to highlight aggressive traits. Although these behaviors can be useful when the dog is being used for protection, they can be dangerous in a family home.
Many of these dog breeds can still become friendly and gentle family dogs. However, they may require significantly more training. You also have to take greater caution, as they can be a threat to young children and other animals if not properly trained.
Try to train these dogs from a young age. Once they begin to show aggression, it can be harder to train them than it would be with calmer dog breeds.
Here are some of the common types of aggression seen in dogs:
Your dog may be exhibiting one or many of these types of aggression. Remember, signs of aggression are common, and not always not
If you notice that your dog is acting aggressively, you may wonder what you can do to train them. The solution will depend on what is causing the aggression.
If your dog suddenly develops signs of aggressive behaviors, it could indicate that they have an underlying medical condition. Speak to your vet about your dog’s behavior.
They can perform a number of tests to see if your dog has a medical condition that is causing aggressive behaviors. These behaviors could, in rare cases, be symptoms of conditions such as encephalitis, brain tumors, or epilepsy.
Most aggressive behaviors by dogs are not caused by medical problems. But you’ll still need to deal with the problem. A good next step is to hire a professional dog trainer.
Aggression is caused by many different factors, and it can take time to develop the proper training regimen for your dog. The trainer will work with you to find out what is causing your dog’s aggression.
Once they have identified the cause, they can create a tailored training plan that gets to the root of your dog’s aggression.
Trainers may be expensive, but aggression can put animals and people around you at risk. That makes the trainer worth the expense. The trainer can also devise a plan so that you can train your dog on your own as they begin to show signs of improvement.
Training plans will vary depending on the dog’s breed and age. But there are some common approaches that most trainers will use.
The gold standard for dog training is positive reinforcement. This is a type of training where you give your dog plenty of rewards for good behaviors, instead of just punishing bad behaviors. Over time, your dog will learn to ditch bad habits and replace them with healthy behaviors.
If your dog is aggressive toward strangers (but not too aggressive!), a trainer may have you introduce your dog to new people at a safe distance. If they don’t growl or bark, you reward them with a treat and plenty of praise.
Slowly, decrease the distance between the dog and strangers, rewarding them every time they do not bark. This approach can take a lot of time, but it’s the most effective and safest way of getting rid of aggressive behaviors.
This type of training should always be done in a controlled environment, preferably with a trainer present as your dog adjusts to the process. Also avoid pushing your dog too much when training. Let them improve at their own pace, instead of rushing them along.
Many dog owners get frustrated whenever their dog acts aggressively. They may respond by punishing their dog, thinking that this will discourage them from aggressive behaviors. But punishment will actually make most dogs act out even more.
It’s also dangerous to respond to a worked up dog with punishment. Your dog may feel threatened and lash out by biting. The punishment may also make them more anxious, which can further reinforce aggressive behaviors.
In some cases, aggressive behavior can be due to conditions such as anxiety. This is common in dogs that have abused, and who lived in a chronically stressful environment.
Speak to your vet if you believe that your do may be suffering from anxiety. There are a number of different treatment options available, including medication. These can help your dog relax, and may make them less aggressive.
Some cases of aggression in dogs may be too difficult to treat. A change in environment may therefore be the best option for the dog.
If your dog is aggressive toward children, it may not be worth the risk to your family to keep the dog. However, there are a number of environments where your dog could still live a happy life, such as in a home without children.
There are a number of rescue and adoption organizations that help place dogs in homes that are more suited to their demeanor. It can be hard to part with a beloved animal. But it’s unfair to the dog to keep them in an environment that is stressful enough to provoke aggressive behavior.
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