Aggressive dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human pack, according to new scientist research. In a recent paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research existing training methods are likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behaviour.
Far from being helpful, the academics say that training approaches aimed at dominance reduction vary from being worthless in treatment to being actually dangerous and likely to make behaviors worse.
The scientists reported that advice such as instructing owners to eat before their dog or even letting their owner go through doors first does not influence the overall perception of the relationship. In fact it could lead to the pet becoming more anxious. This could potentially lead to an escalation of aggression.
But how do you make sure your dog is not the controller for instance when you are teaching them how to use a dog ramp or a crate? The answer lies in kindness. As you would with a naughty child, you should remove your pet from a 'naughty' situation and say a firm 'no'. You should then place or instruct your dog to an allocated spot, such as their bed, just like you would with a child and a naughty step.
Don't forget to reward your dog with plenty of cuddles and praise them if they are well behaved.
With dog ramps, for instance, most animals will understand how to use them but make sure you praise them when they have finished using the ramp. There is no need to shout at your pet or be aggressive.
This new research proves that dominance training is cruel and can have consequences both for you and your pet. By applying kindness and the same techniques used with children, you can still teach your dog obedience such as when using dog ramps.