I am currently working on some aggressive dogs and I noticed that most of the aggressive traits are triggered by too much space and failure of the owner to take charge. An aggressive dog is a scary dog and in almost any household, having one just won’t do. You cannot allow your dog to control your home when you should be the active pack leader. So, as soon as you see the signs of aggressive behavior, use some of the following tips to cut it off immediately.
1. Take the Alpha Position – Not always, but much of the time, a dog’s aggressive behavior is an attempt to take control of the household, challenging you for alpha leadership. Even if your dog isn’t challenging you, having a clear pack order can make it much easier for both of you. Step up, make clear commands, train your dog carefully and show him that you are in fact the one in charge all of the time. Even if it doesn’t get rid of the aggressive behavior, it will often make it far easier to control.
2. Separate Problem Dogs – If you have more than one dog or if your dog has an issue with his food dish, remove the issue from the dog. Two dogs that fight over food should be fed in separate rooms. Dogs that cannot walk together should be taken out separately. Don’t worry – these are rarely permanent solutions. Rather, they work as short term stopgaps to keep from having a more serious issue in your home.
3. Obedience Training – Along the same lines as your alpha position, it can be a good idea to send your dog to obedience training where they will learn to follow specific commands and respect your authority.
4. Keeping Them Occupied – Some dogs grow aggressive based on their lack of things to keep them occupied. Boredom, excess energy, a lack of focus, or simple anxiety can all lend toward aggression. The problem is easy enough to fix. Just give your dog attention (but only when they are behaving, never reinforce the aggression), along with enough exercise and toys to keep them busy when you’re away.
5. Medical Checkup – It’s unlikely, but sometimes an aggression issue can be related to a dog’s health. If your dog is ill or is simply not getting the nutrients he needs from his food, you should consider taking him to the vet to rule out any potential illness.
6. Lots of Exercise and Good Food – Supplement all the hard work you’re doing by keeping your dog well exercised and supplied with good food. If your dog eats only the cheapest store brand dog food, it may not be causing the aggression, but a lack of nutrients can exacerbate it.
7. Avoid Triggers – If you know something triggers aggression avoid it. Your dog might not like children or might have issues with dogs when on a leash, or might lack the control to stay inline when a big truck goes by. Keep him away from these negative stimuli as much as possible.
8. Reduce Fear in His Life – Fear can be a strong driving force for aggression as well. To minimize fear in your dog’s life, don’t use negative punishment to curb behaviors. Correct behaviors rather than punishing them. Additionally, don’t reinforce any existing phobias by giving your dog attention or extra care when they act upset. This will only tell them that there is something powerful to be afraid of and that their fear is warranted.
9. Hire a Dog Trainer – If all else fails, turn to a professional. There are many dog trainers who are well versed in handling problem animals before something serious happens. Don’t wait until it’s already too late. Contact a trainer now. Unlike so many other dog behavior problems, aggression is a serious concern that should be handled immediately. It can lead to much worse behaviors, possible biting or attacks, and a generally uncomfortable household. If your dog suffers from aggression, see to it immediately.
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Akinluyi Jerry is a young entrepreneur, Animal lover, Dog Consultant and Security expert, CEO of Jeak’s kennel and securities. Certified dog behaviourist and Pro trainer, Member of international association of canine professionals (IACP) .A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and National K9 School.