Aggressive Dog Training: Great Advice in 5 Articles (& 4 videos!)

Aggressive Dog Training: Show Your Dog That *You* Are The Pack Leader!

Dog Aggression TrainingBefore you begin dog aggression training, let me start by asking you two rhetorical questions!

Firstly do you start the aggression with your dog simply joining in?

Secondly does your dog listen to you just before it behaves the way it does when you try show it another way to behave?

The answer will of course be the following:

At the point your dog starts to become aggressive he is taking no notice at all of you.

He is making his own decisions and will not listen to you if you try to show him a different way to behave.

What he is doing is simply too important to him and is the right thing to do. Dog aggression is nearly always done in order to protect, their pack and their own lives.

Firstly there is of course a whole range of different types of aggression from dominant to fearful and everything in between.

Then there is aggression that occurs the whole time and other aggression, which is very erratic, and random depending on a number of differing factors. We could also look at what your dog is aggressive towards; it could be people, animals, other dogs or objects.

Dog Aggression Training – Be the Pack Leader!

The way to stop dog aggression however is very much the same, or at least the cause of the problem is the same. Your dog thinks that it is the pack leader, becomes fearful and attacks to protect, you and himself.

Dominant dogs will be more proactive, often attacking when they still have the option of running away, fearful dogs will only attack if they have no place to run. All the other factors pale into insignificance compared to this.

This post on on aggressive dog training is courtesy of Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer.

The most important concept to grasp if you want to practice a correct dog aggression training is that your dog must first look to you as the pack leader in the home. (This is the easiest place to convince him you are the decision maker.) Only then can you convince him that you are the pack leader on the walk. There are some fantastic video sites now that show you exactly how to become the pack leader.

Once you have convinced your dog that you are the pack leader outside then upon reaching the point where he usually is aggressive you will find that he will actually start to take notice of how you are behaving! If you aren’t then your dog will probably continue to ignore what you are doing at this point forever.

Just remember, dogs are pack animals and they follow the pack leader.

One of the best examples of a professional dog trainer putting this all into practice is The Online Dog Trainer. The site has live videos of this method being demonstrated and explains exactly how to stop dog aggression by simply convincing your dog that you are the pack leader. Click here to learn this outstanding dog training method…

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Video —– Aggressive Dog Training: How to Stop Dog Aggression


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How To Stop Dog Aggression

If you want to understand how to stop dog aggression let me start by asking you two rhetorical questions!

Firstly do YOU start the aggression with your dog simply joining in?

Secondly does your dog listen to you just before it behaves the way it does when you try show it another way to behave? The answer will of course be the following:

At the point your dog starts to become aggressive he is taking no notice at all of you.

He is making his own decisions and will not listen to you if you try to show him a different way to behave. What he is doing is simply too important to him and is the right thing to do. Dog aggression is nearly always done in order to protect, their pack and their own lives.

Firstly there is of course a whole range of different types of aggression from dominant to fearful and everything in between. Then there is aggression that occurs the whole time and other aggression, which is very erratic, and random depending on a number of differing factors. We could also look at what your dog is aggressive towards; it could be people, animals, other dogs or objects.

The way to stop dog aggression however is very much the same, or at least the cause of the problem is the same. Your dog thinks that it is the pack leader, becomes fearful and attacks to protect, you and himself. Dominant dogs will be more proactive, often attacking when they still have the option of running away, fearful dogs will only attack if they have no place to run. All the other factors pale into insignificance compared to this.

The most important concept to grasp if you want to understand how to stop dog aggression is that your dog must first look to you as the pack leader in the home. (This is the easiest place to convince him you are the decision maker.)

Only then can you convince him that you are the pack leader on the walk. There are some fantastic video sites now that show you exactly how to become the pack leader.

Once you have convinced your dog that you are the pack leader outside then upon reaching the point where he usually is aggressive you will find that he will actually start to take notice of how you are behaving! If you aren’t then your dog will probably continue to ignore what you are doing at this point forever.

Just remember, dogs are pack animals and they follow the pack leader.

One of the best examples of a professional dog trainer putting this all into practice is The Online Dog Trainer. The site has live videos of this method being demonstrated and explains exactly how to stop dog aggression by simply convincing your dog that you are the pack leader. Click here to learn more…

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Video —– Aggressive Dog Training: True Dog Aggression Rehabilitation

 

Aggressive Dog Training – Recognizing, preventing, and handling dog aggression

A dog is an instinctively aggressive creature. In the wild, aggression came in very handy: dogs needed aggression to hunt, to defend themselves from other creatures, and to defend resources such as food, a place to sleep, and a mate.

Selective breeding over the centuries has minimized and refined this trait significantly, but there’s just no getting around it: dogs are physically capable of inflicting serious harm (just look at those teeth!) because that’s how they’ve survived and evolved. And Mother Nature is pretty wily – it’s hard to counteract the power of instinct! But that doesn’t mean that we, as dog lovers and owners, are entirely helpless when it comes to handling our dogs. There’s a lot that we can do to prevent aggression from rearing its ugly head in the first place – and even if prevention hasn’t been possible (for whatever reason), there are still steps that we can take to recognize and deal with it efficiently.

Different aggression types

There are several different types of canine aggression. The two most common ones are:

– Aggression towards strangers

– Aggression towards family members

You may be wondering why we’re bothering categorizing this stuff: after all, aggression is aggression, and we want to turf it out NOW, not waste time with the details – right? Well … not quite. These two different types of aggression stem from very different causes, and require different types of treatment.

Aggression towards strangers

What is it? It’s pretty easy to tell when a dog’s nervy around strange people. He’s jumpy and on the alert: either he can’t sit still and is constantly fidgeting, leaping at the smallest sound, and pacing around barking and whining; or he’s veerrrry still indeed, sitting rock-steady in one place, staring hard at the object of his suspicions (a visitor, the mailman, someone approaching him on the street while he’s tied up outside a store.)

Why does it happen? There’s one major reason why a dog doesn’t like strange people: he’s never had the chance to get used to them. Remember, your dog relies 100% on you to broaden his horizons for him: without being taken on lots of outings to see the world and realize for himself, through consistent and positive experiences, that the unknown doesn’t necessarily equal bad news for him, how can he realistically be expected to relax in an unfamiliar situation?

What can I do about it? The process of accustoming your dog to the world and all the strange people (and animals) that it contains is called socialization. This is an incredibly important aspect of your dog’s upbringing: in fact, it’s pretty hard to overemphasize just how important it is. Socializing your dog means exposing him from a young age (generally speaking, as soon as he’s had his vaccinations) to a wide variety of new experiences, new people, and new animals. How does socialization prevent stranger aggression?

When you socialize your dog, you’re getting him to learn through experience that new sights and sounds are fun, not scary. It’s not enough to expose an adult dog to a crowd of unfamiliar people and tell him to “Settle down, Roxy, it’s OK” – he has to learn that it’s OK for himself. And he needs to do it from puppyhood for the lesson to sink in.

The more types of people and animals he meets (babies, toddlers, teenagers, old people, men, women, people wearing uniforms, people wearing motorcycle helmets, people carrying umbrellas, etc) in a fun and relaxed context, the more at ease and happy – and safe around strangers – he’ll be in general. How can I socialize my dog so that he doesn’t develop a fear of strangers? Socializing your dog is pretty easy to do – it’s more of a general effort than a specific training regimen.

First of all, you should take him to puppy preschool. This is a generic term for a series of easy group-training classes for puppies (often performed at the vet clinic, which has the additional benefit of teaching your dog positive associations with the vet!). In a puppy preschool class, about ten or so puppy owners get together with a qualified trainer (often there’ll be at least two trainers present – the more there are, the better, since it means you get more one-on-one time with a professional) and start teaching their puppies the basic obedience commands: sit, stay, and so on.

Even though the obedience work is very helpful and is a great way to start your puppy on the road to being a trustworthy adult dog, really the best part of puppy preschool is the play sessions: several times throughout the class, the puppies are encouraged to run around off-leash and play amongst themselves. This is an ideal environment for them to learn good social skills: there’s a whole bunch of unfamiliar dogs present (which teaches them how to interact with strange dogs), there’s a whole bunch of unfamiliar people present (which teaches them that new faces are nothing to be afraid of), and the environment is safe and controlled (there’s at least one certified trainer present to make sure that things don’t get out of hand).

Socialization doesn’t just stop with puppy preschool, though. It’s an ongoing effort throughout the life of your puppy and dog: he needs to be taken to a whole bunch of new places and environments. Remember not to overwhelm him: start off slow, and build up his tolerance gradually. – Aggression towards family members – There are two common reasons why a dog is aggressive towards members of his own human family: – He’s trying to defend something he thinks of as his from a perceived threat (you).

This is known as resource guarding, and though it may sound innocuous, there’s actually a lot more going on here than your dog simply trying to keep his kibble to himself. – He’s not comfortable with the treatment/handling he’s getting from you or other members of the family. What’s resource guarding? Resource guarding is pretty common among dogs. The term refers to overly-possessive behavior on behalf of your dog: for instance, snarling at you if you approach him when he’s eating, or giving you “the eye” (a flinty-eyed, direct stare) if you reach your hand out to take a toy away from him.

All dogs can be possessive from time to time – it’s in their natures. Sometimes they’re possessive over things with no conceivable value: inedible trash, balled up pieces of paper or tissue, old socks. More frequently, however, resource-guarding becomes an issue over items with a very real and understandable value: food and toys. Why does it happen? It all boils down to the issue of dominance. Let me take a moment to explain this concept: dogs are pack animals.

This means that they’re used to a very structured environment: in a dog-pack, each individual animal is ranked in a hierarchy of position and power (or “dominance”) in relation to every other animal. Each animal is aware of the rank of every other animal, which means he knows specifically how to act in any given situation (whether to back down, whether to push the issue, whether to muscle in or not on somebody else’s turf, etc etc). To your dog, the family environment is no different to the dog-pack environment.

Your dog has ranked each member of the family, and has his own perception of where he ranks in that environment as well. This is where it gets interesting: if your dog perceives himself as higher up on the social totem-pole than other family members, he’s going to get cheeky. If he’s really got an overinflated sense of his own importance, he’ll start to act aggressively.

Why? Because dominance and aggression are the exclusive rights of a superior-ranked animal. No underdog would ever show aggression or act dominantly to a higher-ranked animal (the consequences would be dire, and he knows it!) Resource guarding is a classic example of dominant behavior: only a higher-ranked dog (a “dominant” dog) would act aggressively in defence of resources. To put it plainly: if it was clear to your dog that he is not, in fact, the leader of the family, he’d never even dream of trying to prevent you from taking his food or toys – because a lower-ranking dog (him) will always go along with what the higher-ranking dogs (you and your family) say.

So what can I do about it? The best treatment for dominant, aggressive behavior is consistent, frequent obedience work, which will underline your authority over your dog. Just two fifteen-minute sessions a day will make it perfectly clear to your dog that you’re the boss, and that it pays to do what you say. You can make this fact clear to him by rewarding him (with treats and lavish praise) for obeying a command, and isolating him (putting him in “time-out”, either outside the house or in a room by himself) for misbehaviour.

If you’re not entirely confident doing this yourself, you may wish to consider enlisting the assistance of a qualified dog-trainer. Brush up on your understanding of canine psychology and communication, so that you understand what he’s trying to say – this will help you to nip any dominant behaviors in the bud, and to communicate your own authority more effectively

Train regularly: keep obedience sessions short and productive (no more than fifteen minutes – maybe two or three of these per day). Why doesn’t my dog like to be handled? All dogs have different handling thresholds. Some dogs like lots of cuddles, and are perfectly content to be hugged, kissed, and have arms slung over their shoulders (this is the ultimate “I’m the boss” gesture to a dog, which is why a lot of them won’t tolerate it.)

Others – usually the ones not accustomed to a great deal of physical contact from a very young age – aren’t comfortable with too much full-body contact and will get nervy and agitated if someone persists in trying to hug them. Another common cause of handling-induced aggression is a bad grooming experience: nail-clipping and bathing are the two common culprits. When you clip a dog’s nails, it’s very easy to “quick” him – that is, cut the blood vessel that runs inside the nail. This is extremely painful to a dog, and is a sure-fire way to cause a long-lasting aversion to those clippers. Being washed is something that a great many dogs have difficulty dealing with – a lot of owners, when confronted with a wild-eyed, half-washed, upset dog, feel that in order to complete the wash they have to forcibly restrain him.

This only adds to the dog’s sense of panic, and reinforces his impression of a wash as something to be avoided at all costs – if necessary, to defend himself from it with a display of teeth and hackles. Can I “retrain” him to enjoy being handled and groomed? In a word: yes. It’s a lot easier if you start from a young age – handle your puppy a lot, get him used to being touched and rubbed all over.

Young dogs generally enjoy being handled – it’s only older ones who haven’t had a lot of physical contact throughout their lives that sometimes find physical affection difficult to accept. Practice picking up his paws and touching them with the clipper; practice taking him into the bath (or outside, under the faucet – whatever works for you, but warm water is much more pleasant for a dog than a freezing spray of ice-water!), and augment the process throughout with lots of praise and the occasional small treat.

For an older dog that may already have had several unpleasant handling/grooming experiences, things are a little more difficult. You need to undo the damage already caused by those bad experiences, which you can do by taking things very slowly – with an emphasis on keeping your dog calm. The instant he starts to show signs of stress, stop immediately and let him relax.

Try to make the whole thing into a game: give him lots of praise, pats, and treats. Take things slowly. Don’t push it too far: if you get nervous, stop. Dogs show aggression for a reason: they’re warning you to back off, or else! If your dog just can’t seem to accept being groomed, no matter how much practice you put in, it’s best to hand the job over to the professionals.

Your vet will clip his nails for you (make sure you tell him first that he gets aggressive when the clippers come out, so your vet can take the necessary precautions!). As far as washing and brushing goes, the dog-grooming business is a flourishing industry: for a small fee, you can get your dog washed, clipped, brushed, and whatever else you require by experienced professionals (again, make sure you tell them about your dog’s reaction to the experience first!)

For more information on handling aggressive and dominant behaviors, as well as a great deal of detailed information on a host of other common dog behavior problems, check out “Secrets to Dog Training”. It’s a complete owner’s guide to owning, rearing, and training your dog, and it deals with all aspects of dog ownership. To get the inside word on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors like aggression and dominance in your dog, “Secrets to Dog Training” is well worth a look.  Click here to check out “Secrets to Dog Training”!

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Video —– Aggressive Dog Training: How to handle Dog to Dog Aggression!

 

Aggressive Dog Training – How To Discourage Your Dog’s Territorial Aggression

Canines are hardwired to protect their territory from intruders. In most cases, they communicate a warning to others by barking; it’s a form of intimidation. If a trespasser fails to heed the warning, your pooch’s barking might turn into pacing and growling as if he is preparing for a physical confrontation. If the trespasser still refuses to leave, the pacing and growling may evolve into an attack.

If your pooch shows signs of territorial aggression, it is important to begin discouraging the behavior as soon as possible. Otherwise, your visitors’ safety might be at risk. This article will provide several tips you can use to discourage your dog from behaving aggressively over his territory.

Before Training Begins

There are a few medical conditions that can influence your canine’s tendency to act aggressively toward others. For example, hypothyroidism causes a deficiency of thyroid hormones and can lead to his feeling overly-anxious. If he becomes agitated enough, his anxiety can potentially prompt an attack.

You should also take precautions to ensure that you and your dog will not be interrupted by strangers during your training sessions. Close and lock your gates, especially if you’re training him off-leash.

Action Steps To Curb Aggressive Behavior

First, make sure your canine receives at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. That will help prevent pent-up energy from contributing to his anxiety or aggression.

Second, devote time each day to training your dog to respond to your single-word commands. Many professional trainers recommend a program that includes two or three short sessions (5 minutes per session is sufficient) each day. Whenever your canine successfully responds to your commands, provide a food treat.

In addition to these training sessions, make your pooch work for everything he desires. For example, require him to sit before serving him meals or giving him attention. Over time, your canine will learn that if he wants something, he must follow your commands to acquire it.

One of the challenges owners have with canines that are territorially aggressive is that their dogs often try to usurp the role of leader. This can be due to several factors, including a laxity toward actively curbing the aggressive behavior. To that end, it may be necessary to place a head halter on your pooch in situations that might provoke his aggression.

For example, if you’re expecting visitors with whom your dog is unfamiliar, a head halter will gently encourage him to submit to your authority. That gives your pooch an opportunity to meet new people, and be rewarded (with treats) for staying calm when others trespass on “his” territory.

The suggestions above are effective for canines whose territorial aggression is based on dominance. If the aggressive behavior is triggered by a fear-based mechanism, a modified approach including desensitization and counter conditioning is necessary. Training in such cases is focused on reducing a dog’s level of fear and changing the manner in which he perceives a potential threat. We’ll address those training issues in an upcoming article.

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Video —– Aggressive Dog Training: Aggressive German Shepherd Training- What NOT to do!

 

Aggressive Dog Training – When Your Dog Shows Aggression Over Your Territory

Of all canine behavior problems, aggression is one of the most dangerous. When it is triggered by territorial issues, it is even more so. That said, it’s important to realize that dogs are territorial animals by nature. When they believe their space is threatened, they will warn potential intruders to keep their distance. Within a pack environment, canines will bark to summon pack members to collectively defend their territory against intruders.

While in your home, you might observe your dog barking to warn other animals and people to stay away. This is a common trait, and it is often encouraged by owners who wish their homes guarded. The problem is, many pets are sufficiently confident to attack those who may be on “their property.” This not only endangers your neighbors and passersby, but can also expose your friends and family to risk of an attack.

In this article, we’ll explore the main reasons canines display aggression over their territory. We’ll also offer a few suggestions for addressing the behavior so your pooch does not become a liability.

Possible Causes For The Aggression

Aggression to protect territory is usually fueled by one of two motivators: dominance or anxiety (i.e. fear). Dominance is a natural trait that develops in many dogs and plays an important role in guarding their domain. However, the trait can be excessive to the point your pooch reacts aggressively to anyone he perceives as trespassing, including your visitors.

Many owners can control the behavior simply by treating a visitor as a welcome guest. The dog observes that his owner has received the visitor, and becomes calm without further incident. If the behavior cannot be controlled, owners may find it a constant frustration since inviting guests over will become problematic.

Territorial aggression due to fear is a different issue entirely. It is usually based on a deeply rooted event buried in the canine’s past. The behavior is more dangerous than dominance-based aggression because it is unpredictable. A fearful or anxious dog may lash out with only the slightest provocation.

Aggressive Dog Training – Addressing The Behavior

The first step is to minimize the likelihood of an attack. Never let a canine that has shown signs of territorial aggression roam off his leash unsupervised. This includes your yard if it is easily accessible to strangers.

Next, take your pooch to his veterinarian. Have the vet test him for any existing health issues that may be contributing to his aggressive behavior. For example, a hyperactive thyroid, gum disease, and hip dysplasia can all contribute to a heightened level of aggressiveness.

Another important factor is that your dog perceives you as his pack leader. This encourages his trust and respect, both of which can help quell his aggressive behavior when a confrontation seems imminent.

Lastly, make sure your canine receives plenty of daily exercise so his pent-up energy is expended. This makes him less likely to behave aggressively.

Additional Tips For Addressing Fear

Any fear-based behavior requires desensitization training focused on the fear’s trigger. This is done most effectively through exposing your dog to a gradually increasing level of the offending stimuli.

For example, suppose your pooch becomes agitated at the sight of another person on his yard. Begin the training by having him sit while a person – preferably a stranger – walks by several feet away. Require that your canine look at you while the person is passing. Give him a treat each time he does so successfully.

Next, conduct the same exercise with one exception: have someone remain standing near your driveway. This continued stimulus will be more difficult for your canine to ignore. If he is able to do so successfully, give him a treat.

This process of desensitization should continue until your dog can tolerate multiple people standing on his property without becoming visibly agitated. With time, he will learn to suppress his aggression and comply with your expectations.

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