Dogs are known to be man’s best friend. They are friendly, loyal, and protective of us. However, there are certain cases when dogs can turn aggressive to their owners as well as other people around them even if they have never shown signs of aggression before. Some of the reasons for dogs getting aggressive can include genetic reasons, pain, fear, health condition, and outside influence such as another animal or a person that has made them aggressive.
Whatever the reason, there is no point in taking risks with your dog’s aggression, and it would be better if you took corrective measures as early as possible. Here are some useful tips that will help you deal with an aggressive dog the right way:
Understand What’s Causing the Aggression
Aggression is a message that your dog sends to you when he is feeling threatened or afraid or it might be the result of inadequate socialization he received when he was a puppy. Some small breeds like Yorkies are more prone to aggression due to genetic reasons. Yorkies were mainly bred to hunt down rats and other small animals so they Yorkies had to be fearless and stubborn to do the job. As a result, they are very territorial and protective of their owners too. Whatever may be the reason, you must know what is causing your dog to get aggressive so that you can prepare yourself for dealing with this problem in the future.
Learn About Early Signs of Aggression
Early signs are the expressions that tell us that our dog is about to get aggressive. These signs might include growling or baring of teeth, staring at the person who is causing the aggressive behavior in the dog, turning his head towards that person, lip licking, and hair standing on end on his neck and back. Males are more likely to show early signs than females because of their territorial nature. If your dog shows any of the above-mentioned signs then it’s time you pay attention to him so that you can prevent an incident from occurring. Some other behavioral changes may be noticed which signal aggression like hyperactivity, lethargy, hiding away from people, becoming too clingy, etc. If you see these changes then make sure you act quickly and try to find the early signs so that you can stop any aggression from occurring.
Stop Any Physical Contact With Your Dog
If your dog shows early signs of aggression then it’s important that you immediately stop making physical contact with him like touching, petting, hugging as well as playing, etc. because this will only encourage his aggressive behavior. With time, your dog will start to react aggressively when you try to touch him so you must act quickly during the early stage of aggression. You should also keep your distance from him to avoid confrontation with your pet. Dogs are very territorial animals, therefore, they might bite you because they feel that you are intruding into their territory.
Work With Skilled Dog Trainers
As mentioned earlier, aggression can be the result of inadequate socialization your dog received when he was a puppy. If you haven’t handled this problem on your own and your dog is still aggressive then take help from professional trainers who will work with you to get rid of this behavior in your dog. Professional trainers are trained to deal with different types of aggression through behavior modification techniques. These trainers will work with you to get your dog to respond to different commands and they will also make use of avoidance methods to stop your dog from showing aggression.
Work With a Certified Veterinary Behaviorist
Your vet may also refer you to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist who will work with you to find the best solution for your dog’s aggression issues. These professionals are specially trained to deal with aggressive animals by using drug therapies for treating their problems. Your vet might prescribe some medications which can help in reducing your dog’s anxiety, fear, and aggression. Sometimes, these medicines can also help in improving your dog’s brain function which helps deal with this problem. Some other times, your vet might suggest antidepressants and anticonvulsant medications because they can help in decreasing the intensity of aggressive behavior.
Try Desensitization and Counterconditioning Techniques
If you want to get rid of aggression from your dog’s life forever then you must take help from a professional trainer who is certified in behavior modification techniques like desensitization and counterconditioning. These trainers will work with you to get rid of aggression by using positive reinforcement training. They will make your dog associate whatever it’s causing aggression with something good that he enjoys instead, like getting a treat or going for a walk, etc. This association will encourage him to stop reacting aggressively to whatever he’s reacting aggressively to which is highly beneficial in preventing any future incidents.
Since every dog is different, the approaches that you use to deal with his aggression will also vary. If you want to deal with your dog’s aggressive behavior then make sure that you take help from a professional trainer and follow the tips mentioned above. By understanding your dog’s behavior and recognizing the early signs of aggression, you can start work with professional trainers on time and successfully get rid of this behavior pattern forever.