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Stop Your Dog From Being Aggressive – Part 4

albuquerque dog behaviorPart 4: Understanding

There are many reasons dog’s behave aggressively from frustration to fear or territoriality. No one likes to think that their dog is aggressive but it is a very common problem. One of the most common causes of aggression is a lack of proper socialization when they are a puppy. When a puppy is not properly socialized they will run away and try to hide behind their mother. If an adult dog is fearful, and they cannot run away, they become aggressive. This is the classic fight or flight response.  There are many things you can do to help stop your dogs aggression. Keep in mind that behavioral training takes time and consistency, so be patient.

If you are unsure how to cope with your dog’s aggression, please reach out to your Albuquerque veterinarian at Vetco and we can help discuss options.

Understanding your dog’s aggression will help you to deal with it.

1. Think about their triggers: What is triggering your dog’s aggression? Sometimes it is certain people or situations. It can be that they are protective of their area or experienced trauma and specific items remind them of that trauma. To be able to retrain your dog you will need to understand what is causing the aggression.

2. Read their body language: Your dog does not need to speak to be able to communicate with you. Through reading their body language you can help your dog avoid situations that make them feel anxious. Often dogs will express fear or anxiety before aggression. If you notice signs of fear or anxiety you can help them cope with what is happening or remove them from the situation so aggression never comes into play. Common signs are: lowered head, low body posture, tail tucked between the legs, licking their lips, looking away, dilated eyes, shivering, and shaking. If you notice this behavior, stop what you are doing and take the time to help your dog.

3. Understand signs of aggression: If a dog is planning to attack they will change some of their body positions and behavior. They will often make changes to how they are standing such as shifting their weight over their front legs. They will make direct eye contact and stare down their target. They might get a stiff tail and hold his tail low. If you see these signs it is best to step away from the dog and do not stare back. Be quiet and calm. Ask the other person to step back calmly. Use your leash to help pull your dog away from the situation. Do not stand in front of your dog, or cover their eyes. Doing so can cause panic in your dog and cause them to strike.

4. It takes time: There is no quick solution to aggression. It will take more than one training session. You need to take time to help them learn new coping mechanisms and be patient. Hitting or punishing your dog for their behavior will make them more fearful and can drive the aggressive behavior instead of fix it.  If you are trying all the methods and still having trouble, you should consider working with a trainer or pet behaviorist. 

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.