Having an aggressive dog as a pet is no fun at all. For one, the sweet, nice, obedient, well-trained pet that one looks to find in their pet dog is shot to hell, and two, it also makes it clear in the course of the training that a dog who has a lot of aggression in him makes for a very difficult target to train. Not only can you not train the dog effectively well, but your entire set routine to train him or the decided goals of what you expected your pet to do are not fulfilled either.
In such a scenario, many of us will think of quitting and not going through the training at all. But that does not have to be the natural course of things. There are ways in which the training for an aggressive dog can be carried out, and that is by using certain specialized methods of the same.
Behavior Traits of an Aggressive Dog
Before starting the training, it is important to know what causes aggression in dogs. This will help you understand your pet better. Some reasons that lead to aggression in dogs are.
- Sometimes, the pet owner's behavior to the dog will lead to aggression. This includes instances like―constantly chaining the dog, excessive punishments, or feeding the dog poorly.
- Aggression can also come about as a reaction to other dogs and pets. This is because, the dog wants to prove its territorial rights and be recognized as the alpha male.
- Being in an unfamiliar situation, surrounded by unknown people might lead to aggression as well.
- Suffering from a disease or being affected by an ailment might cause the dog to exhibit aggression as a result of the pain that he is experiencing.
These were some of the reasons that could lead to aggression in a dog. Once you realize that your pet dog has aggression, you will have to carry through training to correct the same.
It is possible to prevent the onset of aggression in your dog from early on. When the dog is new to your family, make sure that you introduce him to a lot of people. This will train the dog to not show aggressive behavior when he meets new people or is taken into unfamiliar territories. So also, touch him in a cuddling manner as often as you can. This will help the dog to become habituated to being handled.
A dog will exhibit aggression by exhibiting signs like barking, growling, and barring his teeth. More subtle signs include―standing rooted to one spot, pinning its ears to the head, stiff body, and a hard, long stare. These signs of aggression are given as a signal to tell others to 'back off'. Learn to recognize these signs in the dog.
When a dog shows these signs of aggression, never ever punish him/her. This will only stop the dog from giving any signs and lead to a direct attack. Punishing a dog is not the correct way of dealing with aggression.
Stop the Biting
Training a dog when he is a puppy is the best way of ensuring success in training. At this stage, when a puppy starts to administer bites on your hands or nips at your toes playfully, it can lead to the bites developing into something more aggressive. When this happens, use this method for employing effective dog obedience lessons―after he bites you, be firm and say 'NO' loudly. Usually a pup will get the message. But if the biting still does not stop, then put him in a room and lock it for 30 seconds. This will make him realize that this behavior is not acceptable. So also, making the dog understand that you are the alpha leader and not him, is very, very important.
A very popular method that is used in psychology is called the conditioning method. In this, you condition the mind to think in a particular direction. In aggressive dog training, it works this way―if you find that the aggressive behavior of the dog is caused due to territorial aggression and the other presence of dogs, use the same aggression to change his thinking. Associate that aggression towards other dogs to a positive thing.
For example, whenever you find that there is barking, fights, or the dog lunges at other dogs, get his attention away by either physically taking him away from the room and then giving him a treat, or distracting him with another activity (like playing ball) and giving him a treat. If he continues to bark or lunge at the other dogs and is not distracted, you have to be firm and shout a 'NO' in a stern manner. This behavior will, overtime, help him to associate 'leaving the other dogs alone' to being given a treat, or getting shouted at if the behavior continues.
Reinforcing Good Behavior
Whenever your dog follows an order or behaves according to the way in which he is trained, reward him. This will help to reinforce the good behavior and ensure continued good behavior.
Dog Training Class
It is always a good idea to sign up a new puppy for a behavior training class. This is because, the trainers are professionals who can teach your dog the proper and right manner of behavior. The practice and bringing the behavior into practice can be done by you at home.
These were some training tips that you can use for effectively training an aggressive dog. Be assured that if you train your dog well, the returns of having a well-trained, obedient, and well behaved pet are incomparable, and will lend you many moments of happiness and stress-busting activities.