No dog is born aggressive. Certainly, the breed can be taken into account during development, but the training of the dog remains THE determining factor. In today's article, we talk about the causes of aggression in dogs and how to fix an aggressive dog.
Here are some interesting study results:
What do these facts tell us? Let our animals reason more than we can think. A dog is knowingly aggressive and always believes he has a good reason to be. It is up to you, its master, to correct the situation starting from the source.
What Causes a Dog to be Aggressive?
The main factor behind the “aggressive dog” syndrome is the training he received.
This central idea is made up of two main axes which determine the degree of aggressiveness: the place that is attributed to it (or that it attributes to itself by default) within your household and its hierarchical relationship to its master.
Finally, some dogs can be aggressive towards their fellows if they feel in danger, regardless of the training they have received.
A dog who is aggressive towards his master will show warning signs that should keep you, if one could say so, on your toes from the first months.
The tendency of a puppy to bite or nibble its owners, to quickly appropriate territory that is not its own, to believe that everything is permitted in your home, or to growl inadvertently are therefore anything but “cute”.
In the case of fear, training is less important and it is really the dog's temperament that stands out: is he combative or fearful by nature? If he is combative, we will see how to resolve the situation, but the essential point to remember is that a dog will be afraid of one stronger than him, therefore bigger than him. So don't be afraid of your dog's attitude towards the little ones, and let it fear the big ones.
If you think you are dealing with an aggressive puppy, know how to tackle the problem now!
The Manifestations of this Aggressiveness in Adulthood
When your little pup has grown up, these neglected bad habits will manifest in much more pronounced and annoying ways.
If he does not see you as the master of the house, as the leader of the family, the leader of the pack within your household, then he may very well claim all the rights.
He will start by preventing you from approaching his bowl while growling, then this will extend to all his toys and sometimes even YOUR things. In other words, he makes himself master of the territory.
Then, come the claims for food during meals, accompanied by barking if you do not share. The barking will also be felt if you do not play when he asks for it if you are not at his disposal.
The last step is the bite. At this point, the dog's aggressiveness towards his master has taken full power. He will adopt the typical behavior of an aggressive dog with people around you or not and with other animals. When walking, it is imperative to keep an aggressive dog on a leash, but this is not always enough. Your pet may be dangerous for other dogs and their owners.
How to Fix an Aggressive Dog: Behavior Training
As you will have understood, it is essentially a question of re-educating your dog. Whether it's preventative or the damage has already been done, the steps to follow are exactly the same (you will just have more trouble with a dog that has already developed bad habits).
First, teach him who is the master. The dog is a tame animal and it is absolutely necessary for its proper development to feel a higher authority. What you teach him will go against his instinct: he must understand that he does not live in nature but under the protection of a master.
Do not be ashamed to dominate him, it is imperative: you are the leader of a pack of which he is a member, he respects you, admires you and serves you in return for your hospitality.
How to take this place of leader, male (or female) Alpha? You have to be strict. You decide when to play, not his barking and other quirks. The dog eats after you, not before, not during, it is respect for the hierarchy. He also doesn't sleep on your bed. Finally, he does not appropriate objects on his own, it is you who give them to him.
Warning! A good teacher is respected, not feared. Respect is a mark of recognition, admiration, and loyalty.
Fear, on the other hand, is pure forced submission and will be accompanied by frustration and retaliation from the unfortunate animal.
It is therefore absolutely counterproductive to hit your dog. This one must understand who is the master but not just any old way, if he bathes in aggressiveness, it is not surprising that your dog is full of hatred and ferocity.
To set up this (re)education, you will need instruments
The leash is basic for any outing where you are likely to meet people. However, the harness is more recommendable: for the same efficiency, it allows better support of the whole body and prevents the dog from strangling itself.
For the most muscular cases, a muzzle is required. A dog that is fairly aggressive with people cannot be left in a position to harm. Not being a long-term solution, it still ensures security during the learning phase. Read our article on how to put a muzzle on an aggressive dog.
During these outings, it is not uncommon to meet an aggressive dog whether on a leash or not. What attitude to adopt? Keep your dog close to you, so he will know he is under your protection and will not feel threatened. Speed up and distract your dog. If he has been wise and it took a lot of effort from him, you can reward him.
To sum up, your dog's aggressiveness will only be regulated by one means, taking your rightful place, that of the pack leader.
This will have a double positive effect: your dog will have fewer responsibilities to carry, will feel more peaceful, and he will understand that he is not king and that he must respect the codes of community life.
Finally, while it's never too late, get started as early as possible to instill the best training possible and make him gentle as a lamb. To get started now, follow the Brain Training For Dogs program by Adrienne Farricelli, a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer.