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Stop Your Dog From Being Aggressive – Part 3

albuquerque dog behaviorPart 3: Other Behavioral Issues

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.

Sometimes the best way to deal with a dog’s aggression is to learn how to deal with some of their other behaviors that are elements of aggressive behavioral patterns. We don’t always recognize aggressive behaviors when they do not seem outwardly aggressive, but these behaviors can add up and lead to your dog being generally aggressive. Curbing these behaviors can help lower your dog’s overall aggression.

1. Guarding Behavior: Dog’s get protective of their environment. Guarding behavior includes

  • Patrolling up and down the fence line.
  • Barking
  • Rushing the door

To combat patrolling try keeping your dog inside when you are not in the backyard with him. Give him exercise by taking him to the park or sitting outside in the backyard. If he patrols when people are over, try putting him in another room during their visit.

If your dog barks when people come to your house, try taking him into another room when they first arrive. Do not shout at your dog, they can interpret this as encouraging behavior and think that you are joining in. Praise them for not barking.

If your dog rushes the door, try blocking off the area to the front door so they cannot do that. You can put them in another room when it is time to open the door or put them on a leash and make them heel next to you.

2. Guarding Food: Dogs will guard their food because they are worried that someone will take their food away or eat it. This behavior can get very aggressive and can lead to snapping and biting. Try putting his food down with only part of his dinner in it. As he eats, scatter more of his food around the bowl, as close as he allows you to get. Walk past the bowl and scatter some food in the bowl every time you pass by so he starts associating your presence with plentiful food.

Another method is to put down an empty bowl and have your dog sit and let him eat. Once he sits, put a handful of food into the bowl. Then have him sit again, and put in another handful. Do this until all the food is gone. This shows your dog that you are the giver of food not the taker away.

Make sure to give positive reinforcement to let him know when he is doing well. The positive reinforcement will help encourage the non-aggressive behavior.
Dogs can be aggressive in many different ways, and it isn’t always just with other animals or people. Your dog should not be aggressive with you or anyone else unless it is in a situation where they are trained to be aggressive, like someone breaking in.


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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.