Dogs are naturally aggressive. This trait of dogs developed over many centuries ensuring their survival in the wild. Selective breeding and domestication processes have minimised and refined dog aggression. Some tips to help you to understand your dogs aggressive behaviour are below.
Why is my dog aggressive?
Factors such as lack of exposure to other people and dogs as well as dominance are the most common causes of dog aggression.
Aggression towards strangers:
It is instinctive for a dog to be cautious and suspicious. Inexperience with strangers and unknown situations will almost certainly make your dog feel nervous. If you increase your dogs knowledge and consistently build on positive experiences your dog will feel at ease when confronting a new situation. Take a look at our Dog Training Zone Review for more ideas to train aggressive dogs.
How can I change my dogs aggressive behaviour?
Start with your dog when it’s young and expose it to a wide range of experiences. You will want to make sure your dog experiences new places, new people and new animals. Experience will teach your dog how much fun other places, people and animals can be. Make socialising your dog an adventure and you will soon see how easy it is to do. You might want to start with puppy pre-school. Exposure to new people and other dogs will increase your confidence about where you can take your dog. You will continue to need to socialise your dog.
Dogs who are aggressive towards family members:
When dogs feel they need to look after something that is theirs, they can react aggressively towards their family members. This is called resource guarding. If your dog gets snarly or growls at you when you are near where it is eating or playing with a toy, then you know you have a resource guarding problem. This is caused by a misunderstanding about where your dog fits in to the pack. Remember, dogs are pack animals. Dogs are used to organisation and are ranked according to a hierarchy of position and power in relation to everyone in their family or pack. If there is no dog pack to be ranked against, your dog will rank itself against its human pack and this will determine how to behave in any situation. If your dog perceives himself to be at the top, it is his job to behave aggressively. A lower ranking member of the pack will behave in a passive, submissive way and would never growl or snarl at a higher ranking member if you approached its food or toys. You need to make it clear to your dog that you are the boss and he is a lower ranking family member.
Is there anything I can do about this?
Re-establish your authority with your dog by regular and consistent obedience training work. Short and regular training sessions are paramount to effective behaviour modification. Make each training session enjoyable: play a game by giving your dog lots of praise, pats and treats when it has worked well with you.
More information about handling aggressive and dominant behaviors, as well as detailed information on a host of other common dog behavior problems, can be found at Secrets to Dog Training. Check out a full review of Secrets to Dog Training at DogHelpdesk.com