If you have a dog with an aggression problem, your life can be purely miserable. Aggressive dogs are dangerous, a liability to own, and sometimes impossible to control, depending on the exact issue. There are well over ten types of clinically diagnosed types of aggression in dogs.
Most of them are learned behaviors. Sometimes the issues are genetic and there is little that you can do other than work with a trainer to try to re habituate the dog to control the aggressive tendencies.
Teaching better responses to outside stimulus is part of the puzzle. Determining what triggers the responses is also a piece of the puzzle. For example, your dog only goes crazy when the doorbell rings and this causes him to lash-out at anyone nearby and risks them being bitten.
When this sort of stimulus is unpredictable (because you don’t know when someone is going to walk up and ring your doorbell) it is necessary to practice ringing the doorbell and redirecting your dog to proper behavior and then rewarding this new behavior until they begin doing this instead.
The steps are to be taken very slowly when working with aggressive dogs and you should make every effort to create a safe environment for everyone involved, including other pets that can become the target of a frustrated and angry dog.
The best remedy to train your dog new habits is to take things one step at a time. Here is a list, from start to finish, to help you change behaviors. And they have healing power which is really great.
How to change the behavior of Aggressive Dog
- Have a veterinarian rule out physical pain. Make sure that your dog isn’t injured or in pain that is causing him to lash-out. Once this is done, your veterinarian may suggest prescription medications to help reduce the overreactions in your dog. Many of these come with severe side-effects and may not be the best choice. I recommend that you use natural options first. CBD oil has been used very effectively in reducing anxiety and the aggressions that are a result of this issue.
- Find ways to work out that excess energy that your dog has – both mental and physical. Many people take the dog for a walk and think that’s great. That is not enough. Dogs need to RUN. Running is necessary to reduce the build-up of frustration energy. Most people completely ignore the dog’s need for mental stimulation. A dog has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old child. Imagine that if you had a child that age and you never taught them to read, gave them toys, or taught them to color and put puzzles together. You would have a frustrated, angry child that didn’t know how to express themselves or how to calm themselves when angry. You must teach them rules and boundaries. Dogs need this same stimulation and teaching. Puzzle toys for dogs are designed to help them gain confidence, use their minds so they are not bored, and are wonderful distractions when you are trying to teach them to not bark, not react, and to pay attention to you instead.
- Slow progress is the key. You cannot build a city in a day. You are essentially building a foundation upon which you will build a wonderful home. It’s important that you take the time to build a perfect foundation. Don’t move too quickly and don’t hold your dog to the standards of another dog. They are all different, with differing personalities and different life experiences. Genetics, as stated before, can also play a role. Some breeds are more prone to nervous energy that can turn into aggression if not channeled properly. One dog may learn to calm down in a few days. Another dog may take weeks. It is important to let your dog learn and grow on their own terms.
- Never react to their aggression with aggression. Hitting a dog with aggression problems will create a more dangerous situation because you are teaching them that the way to get what they want is to be even more aggressive. This is not a good solution! Distract them with a treat or a toy. Use proper safety equipment when necessary. Muzzles can be used when you are concerned that a child, another animal, or yourself, are going to be bitten. Dog bites are not fun and can become infected. If you seek medical treatment, you may very well have to tell authorities what dog bit you and it can create issues for your dog too. Always make safety and patience the top two things on your mind.
- Set aside time for training your dog every single day. Even if you are just giving your dog a Kong toy that is stuffed with goodies he must figure-out, or a puzzle toy that is more difficult. Let him obsess less on the world around him and become obsessed with this problem to solve. This helps him to do what dogs are supposed to be doing naturally. When they can channel their instincts and their energy, you will begin seeing some calmer behavior. If you add CBD oil for dogs into their food each day, you should also see them having a more relaxed demeanor overall. This will be very advantageous in you being able to get their focus back on you when the time is critical. Work on getting them to look at you with their name. Say their name, when they look at you, give a piece of delicious treat that is extra special. Maybe hot dog? Do this over and over until your dog will stop anything and look to you for their treat. It will make a huge difference.
Laura Barnes is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.