How to Train an Aggressive Dog

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Is it possible to train an aggressive dog and turn it into a loving pet that you can trust around people and other animals? Yes, it is possible. Sure, it takes a lot of hard work, but that work can end up being incredibly rewarding when you are left with a loving family pet that you can take anywhere without worrying about aggression.

Aggression in dogs is very serious, whether that aggression is towards humans or other animals. It is a very serious behavior that needs adjustment as soon as possible, so the aggressive habits don’t become ingrained in the dog. You can work on training your dog yourself at home, but often in the case of aggressiveness there is also the need for a professional dog trainer. If you are planning on training your dog at home, you will first need to figure out what is in the environment that makes your dog aggressive, and then take steps to change that behavior.

Warning Signs of Aggression in Dogsc

Aggression is a word that can be used to describe many behaviors in dogs. Generally, this behavior begins as a warning, but if not curbed, it could lead to a very serious problem and your dog may begin attacking people or other animals. This is why it is so important to train your dog, beginning while it is still just a puppy.

Some of the signs displayed by aggressive dogs include:

  • Growling
  • Standing perfectly still
  • Showing teeth, or showing teeth and snarling at the same time
  • Barking in a threatening manner
  • Lunging at people and other animals
  • Light biting
  • Nipping without leaving marks
  • Biting that causes wounds or bruises
  • Repeated, rapid biting

Why do Dogs Show these Signs of Aggression?

There are several things that can cause dogs to show signs of aggression. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), reasons can include, but are not limited to, being territorial, being possessive of their toys, food, people, etc., being protective of the things they see as theirs, including their people, being fearful, not having been socialized with other animals and people, being defensive, and being in pain.

In many cases, aggression is caused by environmental factors. For instance, if you got your dog from a shelter, you don’t know where they originally came from. It could be that they were abused prior to being placed in the shelter, and there are triggers that could cause them to become snappy. It is important to teach a dog that has been abused that not all people are bad, and that they are loved and safe.

Dogs can also become hostile following an injury, because they are in pain. In most cases such as this, the aggression will go away once the animal is no longer in any pain. While they are healing, be sure to keep an eye on your dog and help to alleviate that pain as much as possible without causing them more discomfort.

Another problem could be that your dog is territorial. They can show signs of aggression when humans or other animals encroach upon what the dog feels is their territory. If this is the problem, you will need to teach your dog about boundaries and that it is not necessary to be aggressive. This will take some time, but it can be done with lots of love and patience.

Once you have figured out why your dog is aggressive, you can then begin to train them properly.

Training an Aggressive Dog

The first thing you will need to do is figure out what is causing your dog to be aggressive. For instance, does the dog show signs of aggression to certain people or animals? Do they get nervous when you are in certain places? The more you can figure out, the easier it will be to train your dog. Once you have figured out the cause of the aggression, you can start working with a professional dog trainer. If you don’t know who to hire, you can ask at your local pet shelter or veterinarian who would be the best trainer for your particular needs.

Before you start any type of dog training, it is important to make sure that the dog is healthy. This means a visit to your vet for a complete checkup. The vet will be able to find out if there are any underlying health problems that could be causing the aggression.

Do NOT Ignore Aggression in Dogs

It is important to never ignore if a dog is being aggressive. The longer it goes on, the worse it will become. It could even lead to someone being hurt, and that will be your responsibility. It is extremely important to find out why your dog is being aggressive, so you can find ways to train them and make them into a loving family pet that is friendly towards humans and other animals. It is also important for your own personal safety.

Dogs are a lot like children, and they learn by conditioning, just like children do. In many cases, aggression in dogs is merely a symptom of a bigger issue that must be identified and dealt with so you can change the behavior. Once you have figured out the cause of their aggression you can then begin working with them to change those behaviors.

One Final Note

Always remember to never punish your dog for aggression. A dog doesn’t understand why they are being punished for something that comes naturally to them. If a dog is punished for aggression, it could backfire and cause the dog to become even more aggressive. Train your dog by rewarding them for good behavior instead. They will need reminders from time to time that you are the boss, but with time and patience, they will lose the aggressiveness and be a great dog to have around anyone without having to worry about someone getting hurt.


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