We all hope for “easy” pets, but sometimes we get a dog that is unruly; knowing how to handle an aggressive dog is important in these cases. The best way to handle an aggressive dog is to correct his or her behaviors as soon as possible. Dogs are territorial creatures, so it’s not out of the ordinary for certain individual dogs to show greater tendencies towards aggression even from the time they are puppies. However, it is your responsibility as the owner to train your dog to be well-behaved and gentle.
Reasons for Aggressive Behavior
A dog may act aggressively for many different reasons. Among the most common are:
1. Fear or insecurity
2. Protecting his or her territory
3. Fighting for dominance
4. Feeling trapped or threatened
6. Boredom (chasing cars, for example)
7. The dog has been spoiled and suddenly his or her wants are not being met
General Advice and Socialization
Show your dog who is the boss from the very beginning. There must be no doubt in his or her mind that you are the alpha and that your every command is to be obeyed. However, this will take considerable determination and patience to accomplish with an aggressive dog.
Once your puppy has been checked for worms and had all necessary vaccinations, you should begin to gradually introduce him or her to other dogs. Be sure to monitor and control the situation carefully. If another dog becomes aggressive, keep your dog safe, and also hold him or her back to teach him or her to not to respond to provocation. If your dog becomes aggressive, quickly give a jerk on the leash to send the message that this behavior will not be tolerated.
Aggressive Chasing and How to Prevent It
A common behavior problem that is rooted in aggression is chasing cars, people, cats, other dogs, etc. Chasing is instinctual hunting behavior, and nearly every dog will chase something at one time or another. However, not only is it harmful and stressful to the person/animal being chased, but it could also be disastrous for your pup; many dogs have died from a chase going wrong.
Teaching your dog to not engage in so deeply ingrained and natural a trait is quite a difficult task. Because hunting behavior is necessary for survival in the wild, behavior such as chasing is probably the hardest to change. So, even if you dog is obedient most of the time, he or she may not be able to refrain from chasing something that catches their eye.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to outrun mid-size to large dogs. So, how can you teach your pup to not chase something or someone? The answer lies in controlling its ability to go after it he wants. You should do so in an enclosed space. Place a favorite toy or piece of food just out of his or her reach. You can also prevent him or her from reaching it by holding him or her back with a leash. Tell your pup to sit and shower him or her with praise when he or she does so. Then, immediately afterwards, rewards your dog with the item that they had wanted. This technique demonstrates to your dog that it is not allowed to have, reach for, or chase after anything without your permission.
Start training as soon as possible to prevent aggressive behavior from taking hold in your dog. If you find that you need help, don’t hesitate to get a trainer. You and passersby will have much less to worry about, and your dog will enjoy a happier life.