Best Way to Deal with Dog Aggression

Here are some guidelines for preventing and dealing with aggression:

  • If your male is aggressive toward people or dogs, the best thing you can do is neuter him. It’s not a panacea. Your dog will still need training. But neutering removes a lot of the tension from a dog’s life, and tension, as we have seen, is closely connected to aggression.

Dog Aggression Best Way to Deal with Dog Aggression

  • If your intact male doesn’t attack but gets attacked, it’s his male hormones inspiring the rivalry from other males. In this case, you may also want to consider neutering your dog.
  • Avoid inflammatory situations, rivalry over a bitch or a bone, too many dogs in a small space, jealousy over or protection of the owner.
  • Do not encourage your dog to harbor an overblown view of his own prowess. Do not let him socialize on a tight leash. Do not allow him to fence-fight with the dog next door. Never pet him to “calm him down” when he is aggressive. He will read the petting as praise. Correct him instead with a stern “No” and a pop on the leash.
  • Monitor aggression. Limit the time your dog barks at the door. Correct any inappropriate display of aggression.
  • Be realistic. If you already have an adult dog who is intolerant of or aggressive toward other dogs, you will probably not be able to change this. Do not, therefore, take your dog off leash where he can harm other dogs.
  • Don’t ignore aggression. Among dogs, a growl can be commu­nication, a message from a higher-ranked dog that the lower-ranked dog, perhaps a puppy, is being a pest. But growling that leads to fighting requires action—neutering, avoiding other same-sex dogs, avoiding dominant dogs, whatever is causing the problem. Growling at humans is absolutely out of the question. Pet dogs should not think they can bully their own­ers in order to get their way. A dog who growls at you, at your friends or at benign strangers needs training, preferably with professional advice or help
  • Your dog knows how you feel, remember? So if your expecta­tion is that he will be aggressive toward people or dogs, he might be. He might pick up your tension and become tense. If, on the other hand, you expect the best, give your dog leadership, training, lots of chances to play with other gentle dogs and socialize with friendly humans, and you have chosen a dog with good friendship poten­tial, he need not grow up aggressive.

Dog Aggression 1 Best Way to Deal with Dog Aggression

  • A shy or fearful dog may be touchy or brittle. You’ll need to build his confidence with obedience work, socialization and games as you quietly but firmly correct any signs of aggression.
  • A confident dog is elastic. He does not fall apart when you have to tell him “No,” nor will training and some rules dampen his spirit. He needs and can easily handle a firmer attitude. This does not imply that you should hit a confident, dominant or aggres­sive dog. Hitting tends to make dogs more aggressive, not less so.
  • Do not play tug of war with your dog. It teaches a dog to grip hard, to pull things away from you, to bite and tug at objects he wants.
  • Because, with dogs, you get out what you put in, do not rough house with your dog. Play active games—Frisbee, ball, jump­ing games—but not rough ones.

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