Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stopping Your Dog's Aggression Towards People

One of the worse types of dog aggression problems is that of dog aggression directed at people. An aggressive dog can cause some very painful and serious injuries, especially if the victim is a child. If you have a dog that is showing signs of aggression towards people, it is urgent for you to correct your dog's problem. It is not unusual for a dog known for biting to be put to sleep by the authorities.

There are some obvious signs you can look for to spot an aggressive dog and avoid the possibilities of a biting incident. A dog that is acting aggressive will display that aggression by barking loudly, snarling and growling, showing his teeth and maybe even snapping them, he will have an intent stare and the hair on his back will be raised. He may also try to jump up or lunge at the object of his aggression. You can tell by the intensity of the aggression just how imminent a biting episode might be.

If you are seeing signs like this with your dog, you definitely will want to learn how to correct this problem before he bites somebody. Aggression often comes as a result of conditioning (quite often through repeated exposure to something abusive-perhaps another dog or a human), and by countering that bad conditioning with a positive experience that is repeated frequently over time, you should be able to correct your dog's aggression problem and return him to a well balanced happy state of being.

If your dog is aggressive the first steps you should take to prevent serious problems would include keeping your dog in an enclosed area, or in the case of no fence, he should be put on a restraint. You cannot take the chance of an aggressive dog running loose. He will be a certain danger to any passersby he encounters while running around.

In order to correct your dog's aggression towards people you should arrange to meet with a friend your dog already knows (or at least doesn't already have a problem with) for a visit. Often dogs are more aggressive on their own territory, so you might even want to begin this training at a neutral location, where your dog will feel less protective and hopefully less aggressive. Wherever you decide to start the training, first put your aggressive dog on his leash, and in the case of biters, it might even be necessary to use a muzzle as a further precaution.

Have your friend come close to you and your dog, but not close enough for your dog to reach him with a sudden lunge-that's why you need the leash. Remember, if your dog does get aggressive, don't react with anger or over-excitement, as that will only spur him on. You must restrain the dog, of course, but use your calm but firm voice to make him sit down again at your side. Once he is back in his sit position, speak soothingly to your dog. You want to teach him that it is OK to be calm, through your own relaxed attitude. He needs to learn that if his master isn't feeling threatened, he should also relax. When he shows he is relaxed, give him praise and a reward treat. Each time you calm him down, repeat the rewards of praise and a treat. The idea is to use positive reinforcement to get him to associate other people's presence with the possibility of rewards. In the meantime, you are steadily desensitizing your dog's aggressive response towards other people.

Start the training with just one person that your dog can gradually feel comfortable around. You can then repeat the training with other people, so that he learns people are OK, and that he can be around them without anything bad happening to him. The goal is to get him to become able to relax around people in any type of social situation, whether its a few people or a lot of people.

If you can't enjoy taking your pet anywhere or trust him around children, you are not going to really appreciate how much fun a dog's company can be. So, if are noticing aggressive signs with your puppy or dog, don't delay with correcting that serious problem.

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