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Understand and break dog aggression

While many of us look at our dogs as cute and cuddly companions it is also true that we can also create a monster without even realizing it. Aggression in dogs is on the rise and the truth is there are a reported million dog bits reported every year. The very same cute and cuddly companions we know so well are also the very things we fear when we are victims of these aggressive dog behaviors.

Now I know that many of you are wondering how such a cute and innocent animal can cause such devastation and we ask ourselves the very same things when a murderer is caught, or a robbery is committed. One of the most important things we as humans fail to truly understand is dogs are not property. They are a part of the family and should be handled with care.

Stages to Remember:

Here are a few stages in the puppies life that are vital to their development just as our children have stages that they need special care so do our pets:

8-14 weeks- This is a critical time in the puppy’s life. It needs human contact and gentle care. Constant interaction with people to be socially stable will be important later in their development.

6-14 months- This is another critical time in the puppies life when they must be introduced to visitors of the home (i.e. adults, children, and other dogs) at this stage the puppies are becoming more protective of the home and more territorial. It is important that you keep them social with other dogs and people.

[caption id="attachment_1186" align="aligncenter" width="229" caption="Dog Aggression"]aggressive dog aggression[/caption]

Dog aggression can happen for several reasons. The most common is lack of socialization. However too much socialization or spoiling the dog can cause them to act out when they do not get their way. To keep the dog in its place the adults must show dominance over the dog or puppy at all times. Slacking up once or twice may give them the opening or signal they need to move forward. Dogs are pack thinkers by nature and when they are part of your family they see you as part of their pack. If you do not establish dominance early they can “takeover” the family by going after the most submissive family member including the children. Aggressive dog behavior should never be tolerated!

Some dogs are more aggressive by nature so matching them up with people who have the wrong intentions or desire for the dogs can increase their aggression drastically. Many breeds like: Doberman dogs and Rottweiler’s tend to be more aggressive then a Labrador or Golden Retriever by nature and how we raise them can increase their aggression as well.

Where a dog is raised, the environment or conditions can also play a part in their aggression.
For instance if a dog is raised in a “Puppy Mill” it is much more likely to be aggressive if not sold before the age of 8 or 9 weeks because they usually lacks the proper socialization required to interact with other dogs or people

How can you tell if your dog is becoming too aggressive:

  • If your dog is protective over food (i.e. snaps or growls)- this is known as dog food aggression
  • If your dog chases moving objects (i.e. cars, bikes, etc…)
  • If your dog gets fearful when around strangers- this is known as dog fear aggression.
  • Overly barks or growls

If you think your dog is becoming aggressive, there is an excellent dog training book many people find helpful written by a professional dog trainer. You can also consult a dog obedience trainer. A professional can ensure your safety as well as the dogs in cases like this to help you re-establish your dominance in the home.

A good first start may be taking a look at the dog training book to help stop aggression in dogs. Professional dog trainers can stop aggressive dog behavior but they are not cheap and you may find the advise given in the dog training book to help a great deal with raining an aggressive dog.

Photo source:canineangel.wordpress.com