Controlling Aggression in Dogs

As much as we care for and adore them, sometimes our beloved furry companions end up seated with a lot of aggression — and there can be some serious consequences for both you and your pup if it’s not addressed.

Dog attacks are a serious matter and as much love as you have for your dog, those aggressive tendencies can become too much. Everyday tasks like comfortably enjoying walks around the block, trips to the park, and family visits.

In order to ensure the safety of your friends, family, and even your postman, making the investment to get a grip on your dog’s aggression is imperative. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Aggression 101: Training is a Necessity

It’s important to remember that your dog is born with certain instincts and traits. To be fair, a lot of dogs were initially bred to be protective. While you can’t remove these traits, you can control them. This, of course, includes aggression.

The key is to start training before disaster strikes. Starting as soon as possible to tame your dog’s aggression means you will have the right tools in place before an attack occurs. In regards to dog-attack prevention, it’s important that “When your dog is being playful with you and shows signs of aggression you need to reinforce words like ‘no’ and ‘off’ and make sure you cross your arms away from the canine’s reach to show them what is acceptable behavior and does not warrant participation.” It’s also suggested to socialize your dog as a means of controlling aggression (if you have a puppy). “Most dogs are aggressive towards strangers. Puppy parties that help dogs and children intermingle and familiarize themselves are helpful for your canine friend when meeting people outside the household.”

Your local pet store will also likely host similar puppies parties if you are unable to host one yourself. These socialization efforts while your dog is still young can help them get used to seeing and meeting new dogs and humans, fostering a healthier reaction to them. Without this kind of regular interaction, other dogs and strangers are seen as a threat to your dog. It can seem counterproductive but if your pup is showing signs of aggression, getting them around others (in a controlled environment) is a great way to reduce those dangerous tendencies.

Types of Aggression

Of course, if your dog is older or socialization doesn’t seem to be the solution, it’s time to ask why your dog might be acting aggressive. According to The Spruce Pets, “The key thing to remember is that you can’t come up with a plan to change your dog’s behavior until you know the reason behind it.” Aggression comes in many shapes and forms. The Spruce Pets goes on to list several types of aggression, including:

  • Territorial
  • Protective
  • Possessive
  • Fear
  • Defensive
  • Redirected
  • Pain-elicited
  • Predatory

Going through the various types of aggression can help pinpoint triggers and situations — and thus avoid them. You can also seek specific training programs for your dog’s aggression, which can save you time and effort.

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The Consequences Can Be Deadly

Another motivation behind helping your dog tame their aggression is the liability that comes with dog attacks. You’d never want to put your furry companion in danger, and the same can be said for your non-furry companions as well.

For example, while it might seem cliche, dog attacks involving postal service workers are rising. Thanks to the popularity of online shopping, dog owners these days are getting more and more deliveries. This also gives your dog more reasons to get aggressive, considering so many strangers are coming and going, which could potentially lead to an attack or bite.

The same can be said for your neighbors. Even if you have a fence, it’s hard to predict when a curious kid will try to pet your dog (without your watchful eyes) or when the neighbor’s cat will want to sunbathe in your backyard.

If your dog does end up biting someone or attacking another owner’s pet, it’s possible that some of the victims might be within their rights to press charges. Depending on the circumstances, the court could order you to pay a hefty fee or worse — for your dog to be put down. With all of that in mind, spending the extra time and money on training and good practices is certainly worth it when you consider the consequences of not nipping your dog’s aggression side in the butt.

Wrap Up

The most important thing you can do for your dog is to invest in their well-being, and that includes taming those aggressive instincts. Even the most stubborn of dogs can be taught how to control their aggression. You’ll both feel better for it. Good luck!


About the Author
Frankie Wallace writes about a wide variety of different topics, from environmental issues to politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho


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