Dog's Aggressive Behaviour

A friendly pet is a joy, but a dog that growls, snaps and has an aggressive personality is a danger to everyone with whom he comes in contact. There are many reasons why your dog might show a rough exterior, but there is no reason to excuse a family pet who growls, snarls or bites someone.

The Importance of Early Socialization:
One of the best ways to prevent aggressive behavior is to make sure your dog has been well-socialized. When a puppy goes out into the world for the first time, the experience can be lots of fun or very scary. It all depends on how secure he feels. If he was handled often and exposed to many different sights, sounds and people from infancy onward, he’ll take the outdoor life in his stride. If he wasn’t, everything new will alarm him. A sheltered existence does not prepare a dog fro street noise, other dogs or different people.

When dogs are afraid, they sometimes try to protect themselves by coming on strong and frightening everyone else away first. Underneath an aggressive snarl and stance is usually a dog that didn’t feel safe enough when he was very young. As an adult, he is confused and doesn’t know how to interact appropriately.

To build your new dog’s confidence, snap on his collar and leash and start obedience training right away. Generally, a puppy younger than three months old should not be taken to public areas because he has not had enough time to build up his immunity to contagious diseases. So, if your new dog is a puppy, only take him out to public places after he has been vaccinated.

Everyone likes a puppy and wants to pet him. A confident puppy will be very happy to great strangers and will begin licking and jumping right away, while a pup less sure of himself may back up or hide between your legs.

To encourage your pup’s confidence, give strangers a biscuit to hand to him. Remember, your dog will pick up signals from your attitude, so relax and tell him he’s a good boy when he accepts the treat and doesn’t shy away. If you’re nervous and worry about your dog’s response, he’ll be nervous, too.

If your dog becomes frightened when you’re out for a stroll, don’t pick him up or coddle him in a baby-talk voice. The worst thing to tell your dog when he’s afraid is, “It’s okay, don’t worry.” This will only reinforce his timid behavior. Just stay relaxed and your dog will follow your cue.

Curbing Aggression:
To prevent aggressive behavior from developing, teach your dog right away what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. “The first time he growls, don’t be afraid to tell your dog ‘No!”’ says Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M., an animal behaviorist in Westwood, Kansas, and Co-author of practitioner’s guide to pet Behavior problems.

“When you do this your dog will recognize that you’re serious with the correction and stop immediately.” Act as soon as you hear a rumble in your dog’s throat. He’ll get the message quicker if he knows that the outburst he’s about to make is not tolerated.

Removing your dog from the situation is another way to prevent aggression. If you suspect your male dog has a low tolerance of other male dogs don’t let him go nose to nose with one while out for a walk. Or if small children make him nervous, build up his confidence by making him sit and stay in a public playground where there are lots of children running about. Until you feel he’s confident and his actions are reliable, don’t leave him around toddlers unsupervised.

Discouraging Aggressive Play:
Between the ages of three and six months, puppies begin teething – their baby teeth are being replaced by permanent adult teeth. This physical development also comes at a time when they become more playful with people, and nothing feels more soothing on a puppy’s gums than a soft, fleshy hand.

While a little playful gnawing isn’t aggressive behavior, it can increase to hard bites and this can lead to aggressive behavior, it can increase to hard bites and this can lead to aggression. So can other games, such as wrestling and tug – of – war. To prevent your puppy from developing aggressive tendencies, avoid playing games that encourage winning, says Debra L. Forthman, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist and director of field Conservation at Atlanta Zoo in Georgia.

Supervising Doggy Introductions:
When a dog meets another dog for the first time, they’ll immediately want to establish the pecking other dog responds submissively, order will reign. The trouble starts when both dogs want to be the leader.

When you take your dog out on a walk, keep him on a loose leash. This way, when he sees another dog and runs toward him, you can pull the leash taut to make the correction more effective. If your dog gets aggressive when a strange dog approaches, try to distract him from noticing the other dog up ahead, don’t tense up or tighten your hold on his leash. Your dog will sense that something is wrong from your behavior, and he’ll prepare himself for potential danger. If you remain calm, your dog will also feel more relaxed. Sometimes, however, it may be better to avoid the situation.

If you bring another dog home, put both your dogs on their leashes so they can safely sniff one another and get used to each other’s presence under your control. Command both dogs to lie down so that they recognize you as the leader of both. Let them remain that way for a few minutes until they have relaxed, then you can release one at a time.

It’s always fun to watch two dogs play together. Their romping, rolling and noisy games of hide and seek and tag can keep them busy for hours. Most of the time, two dogs who live together will quickly work out their own set of ground rules, and as long as each one takes a fun and energetic experience.

But if a new dog comes on the scene or one dog becomes too excited and escalates the level to play, be on the alert. The play growling and chasing can get out of hand very rapidly.

How do you know if they are fighting or just playing? If one dog continually grabs the other one by the neck and rolls him to the ground, or nips him hard enough that he lets out a yelp, that isn’t acceptable. If one dog is smaller and younger, he may become frightened by rough play and turn on the larger dog.

To avoid fights breaking out, be on the look – out if both dogs are sparring – that is, standing on their back legs and biting one another around the ears or head. Dogs that are very dominant, fearful or that have been attacked before more likely to get into dog fights.

How to break up a Dog Fight:
If you see your dog fighting with another dog, don’t reach in to grab his collar, even though it may seem to be natural thing to do in that situation. Thinking it’s just another part of the other dog, your dog will aim for your hand and you’ll more than likely get bitten as a result. Because loud sounds frighten dogs, try clanging two metal items together and shout loudly at them to stop. You can also grab one or both of your dogs back legs (depending on his size) and pull him away from the fight.

Another effective way to break up a dog fight is to use the garden hose to spray water on the combatants. If the garden hose is not within reach, a bucket or even a glass of water will do the trick. The water will startle the dogs and stop the fight just long enough for you to grab a collar and separate them.

If you have a male dog, the best way to prevent him from getting into fights regularly is to have him neutered. Not only does this decrease his natural tendency towards aggression generally, it also means that other dogs won’t see him as competition in the perpetual quest for dominance.