No matter where you live, you may run into dog aggression, and it may be caused by your dog. Sometimes it is between two dogs, whether neighbors or dogs in the same household. Sometimes it involves a dog attacking or biting a human, all too often a child. This article will give you three things you can do if you are dealing with an aggressive dog in your family. It will also provide you with a link to a resource that has much more information on this stressful situation.
First, arrange your dog's living quarters so he and everyone around him is safe. This means the dog, of course, but it also means all the humans and pets in your family, as well as any other dogs or people that the dog might encounter.
You can do this partly by crating the dog at times. If he is not used to being put into a crate, you will have to coax him in with treats and monitor his being in the crate to be sure he doesn't hurt himself (or the crate) trying to get out. Never leave a dog in a crate for an extremely long time.
If you are not using a crate, consider enclosing the dog in some part of your home, whether a dog kennel in your yard or a less-used room in your house. This is a good plan in addition to a crate, as well. If your problem is between two dogs you own, at least at first you will want to have them well separated. One door between them may be okay, but two doors makes it much easier for you to get around.
Second, get your dog to your veterinarian for a thorough check-up. Many times, the cause of aggression in a dog is pain. Veterinarians can find many possible causes that you might never think of, such as dental pain. If this is the case, once the pain is gone, the dog will be a much happier camper and the aggression may go away completely.
Third, begin writing down short notes about the aggressive incident and what has happened since. Use a little notepad or some paper that you can keep in a convenient place, so it's easy to make these notes. If you try to go back after a few days to reconstruct what happened, you may find that your memory is a bit unreliable about the timing and other details. This is normal, and all the more so when a situation is stressful. But these scribbles will have a place as you begin to create some new habits for training the dog and managing the situation.
After getting this far, you have really just begun. What you do next will have a huge effect on your dog's future. Interesting, research has proven that when dog owners are pro-active in dealing with aggression problems, the dog is much more likely to be manageable long term. And that's good news if you love the dog!
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