What to Do With Dog Aggression

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    Jun 13, 2014
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What to Do With Dog Aggression Photo by Raquel Cervera

There is a lot of information out there concerning dog aggression and many specialists in handling these problems in dogs, but maybe you have not either read about it or know about them, so I am going to try to also give you some tips that may help you if you are confronting this really huge problem with your dog.

Aggression in dogs is more common than we would want it to be and is considered the most important issue to be handled by dog owners if they have a dog that shows signs of this behavior. As a matter of fact, dog aggression has been considered to be the main reason why dog owners try to seek help from specialists because they do not seem to be able to fix the problem themselves. Special training and knowledge are required to do it successfully and most people who have dogs either do not take the time to learn or are not aware of the importance of that knowledge, so they always end relying on the experts.

I guess it is important we know what the term aggression really means, because there is also a lot of misinformation regarding this and many dog behaviors are considered aggressive when if fact they may not be.

We may encompass the meaning of aggression in different behaviors of various origins that take place in various circumstances. That seems vague, right? We will describe it a little more specifically with examples, though

If we place ourselves for a moment in the wild and observe animals in their natural habitat, we will recognize immediately that almost all wild animals will show signs of aggressive behavior if they think their territories or offspring are being threatened, including, of course, their own physical well being. Female wild animals will even kill when they consider their babies are in danger.

When we transport ourselves to the “civilized” world we live in, and I always wonder how we continue to call ourselves civilized in more than one aspect, we will also see that the same kind of aggressive behavior is used in order to protect, point out limits and establish hierarchies. Countries even use the threats of aggressive interventions in order to try and control others from any kind of unwanted moves.

When we come to think about dog aggression, it is important to understand that it is not a word that has one meaning; that is, the aggressive behavior will not always be the same. We may observe a range of behaviors and will notice that dogs will usually warn first, and if still feeling threatened in any way, will end up attacking the source of that fear. If by chance they find themselves in a disadvantaged position, that aggressive behavior may simply end abruptly.

When we enter the realm of dogs showing aggressive behavior towards humans, it is important to notice there are many different manifestations of the aggression and not always all together, like showing teeth, growling, barking, pushing the person with its nose, snarling, snapping, nipping, charging at the person with no contact, and finally, different types of bites. There are more signs, but I believe these are the most common.

Going back to the question of what to do with dog aggression, including only the dog in that equation is missing half of it. Not only are the circumstances to be looked at, but very importantly, the dog owner him or herself.

Dogs are not aggressive just because. There are always reasons for this behavior and in some cases, physical causes for it, like when there is damage to certain parts of the brain or diseases that produce a lot of pain.

The first thing one should look for are the reasons. Was there something in the situation the dog was involved in that might have triggered the aggressive behavior? Was it another animal or person it might have reacted to? How, when and where did it take place? Was there a particular activity taking place that the animal might have reacted to? Was it suffering from any kind of illness at the time? These and other details have to be taken into consideration in order to understand the why of the behavior. That will also give the owner a clearer idea or insight into the reasons and that way, arrive at the correct conclusion from which to start in order to correct the aggressiveness.

People always try to find the fault in others, and in the case of dog owners, considering the problem only lies in the dog is a big mistake. When you do not have the adequate knowledge to train and understand dog psychology, you will probably apply the wrong measures to correct what you may consider an aggressive behavior and will not even include yourself in the reasons why it is acting the way it is.

Dog owners need to know that love is essential to give if they want their dog to feel accepted, but that is not the only thing. Proper training from puppyhood is the ideal basis and learning how to manage situations in which the dog may show inappropriate attitudes is also essential.

It has been said many times that human and dog psychologies are not the same. That is very true, and we should not try to control aggressive behaviors in dogs the same way we would use with a child, for example.
I believe the first thing one should do is identify the reason for the aggression: is it territorial, defensive, protective, possessive, based on fear, social, redirected, based on frustration, sex related, due to pain, predatory, based on reactions to certain people or animals, based on reactions to noises or objects, or even age. The list of reasons, as you can see, is long and necessary to know in order to apply the correct measures.

Using a respected dog behaviorist or trainer will give an aggressive dog owner the solution, but the most important thing is for the owner to ask and learn how to do it himself. That will guarantee a better understanding and use of mechanisms to correct the problem with that or another dog that may present the same actions in the future.

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The author is running a site and a blog related to dog training,grooming and dog care. For more information about dog training and dog care, pay them a visit.

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