Aggressive Dog Training

If you have a dog that has been aggressive to other dogs, other people, or even yourself there is hope.

Some studies report that as many as 60 to 70% of all pet dogs bark threateningly at strangers and act unfriendly when around them. (aspca.org)

Even so, it is entirely possible to stop dog aggression by training the dog. It may take a bit of work, but it is done all the time by people just like you. Consistency and patience are key.

The rewards are worth it, by getting a peaceful, happy dog and dog owner.

Dog behavior modification works. It takes some effort and skill so read on to see how some methods help.

Can Aggression Be Trained Out of a Dog?

Yes. Dog aggression, whether it be toward a dog’s owner or other dogs or people, is serious behavior that can and should be corrected with the help of a dog training course or a trainer. The root cause of your dog’s aggression isn’t that they’re mean or bad, it’s most likely that they fear a particular environment or stimuli. Fear and aggression are both sides of the same coin.

It may also be that the dog is no longer fearful because he has learned over time to use his aggressive response and he now views it as normal. But, in the beginning, he was most likely fearful and this started the behavior. 

A good trainer will likely cost considerably more money than a course. Learning how to handle your dog on your own will be the best solution long term. It is not always necessary to hire a trainer to modify an aggressive dog’s behavior.

Learn How To Calm Down Dogs

In this article, you’ll learn ways to calm down an aggressive dog and tips on how to train out the dogs’ aggression.

Being patient is the most important thing to remember when training your dog. There are likely to be setbacks as it takes time for dogs to learn how to behave correctly.

The more time and effort you devote to your dog’s development, the sooner they will grow into the dog you always dreamed of! 

What Is Dog Aggression?

Aggressive behavior by dogs should never be ignored and should always be taken seriously. This can range from your dog being aggressive towards other people or dogs while on a leash to off-leash behavior also.

Leash reactivity and aggression are among the most common dog behavior problems.

All dogs will display some levels of aggressive behavior or aggression-reactivity at some time in their life. So, it is good to learn how to identify and modify this type of unwanted behavior.

With some basic knowledge and a little preparation and consistency, it is easy to prevent almost all aggressive dog behavior. We want to teach you how to quickly identify any aggressive behaviors in your dog as they happen and even before they happen. Doing this before the behavior turns into big issues can make a problem dog into a valued family member. Even more, it can turn your dog into a trusted family member.

Are Some Breeds More Aggressive Than Others?

Determining if an entire dog breed is aggressive is subjective. Dogs are unique just like people are. But they do have traits that have been bred into them. Because a dog is of a certain breed does not make him aggressive automatically.

There is at the same time a big difference between a learned behavior like aggression-reactivity vs: prey drive, (hunting instincts) both can be mistaken for the former.

Most people think that dog aggression is biting, but it can also be many types of behavior. Some of these are barking, growling, and lunging.

The Main Types of Aggressive Dog Behavior

All dogs are different and have their own personalities and dispositions. So, there are many different reasons why they can be aggressive. But there is one thing in common that can help no matter the type of aggression. And that is:

Training

Before we get into that let’s look at the dog aggression types.

Most common types of dog aggression:

Territorial Aggression:

This is uncommon in puppies and younger dogs. Most of the time this is a dog who views others as intruders into its territory. Dogs are territorial in general, and they sometimes have an unbalanced perception of boundaries. They exhibit territorial aggression toward strangers most often. But they can show it toward friends and family also.

Fear:

When a dog feels threatened fear is a normal response. As a result, the dog will often become aggressive as a result. Some dogs perceive non-threatening situations as threatening and then become fearful. Aggression is often a result.

Possessive Aggression (Resource Guarding):

This is one of the most common types of aggression. This type of behavior is often a result of too little puppy training. This type of dog often exhibits this with food and toys. When this type of aggression is caught early in the dog’s life it is not hard to train it out of him.

It is possible to retrain an older dog with possessive dog behaviors.

Protective and Defensive Aggression:

Since dogs are pack animals, they feel the need to protect their pack. They are very social animals and if they feel a family member or part of their pack is threatened their instinct is to protect that member. Some dogs mistake non-threatening situations as though they are a threat. This can result in an aggressive episode with that dog.

Dominant Dog Aggression:

Dogs have a structure in their packs. There is an alpha dog. This is almost always a very strong-willed dog, and this can be one of the more difficult aggressive behaviors in a dog to deal with. But with time and patience, great improvements can be made. The best way is usually to show this dog you are the alpha figure.

This is an Emotional Behavior

All of these issues have one thing in common: they are emotional reactions, not learned behaviors. Your dog is not choosing to bark and lunge at strangers in the same way that he chooses to sit for a treat.

He does this because strangers scare him, he’s anxious and defensive, and he’s reacting the only way he knows how.

Once you are able to identify why your dog is acting aggressively, you’ll be better able to personalize his training. Similarly, you may be able to remove or change his environment.

Medical Conditions – Are They Contributing?

Be sure to rule out medical explanations of the aggression if your dog suddenly displays aggressive behaviors. A dog that is in pain or tired may react aggressively. If a pregnant or nursing dog feels that their babies are in danger, they may act aggressively.