Dog aggression is any behaviour meant to intimidate or harm a person or another animal. Aggression is often considered a training or behavioural problem, especially in younger dogs. Learn to effectively deal with aggressive behaviour.
How do I avoid situations which may evoke aggression in my dog?
Your first priority is to keep everyone safe. Supervise, confine and/or restrict your dog’s activities until you can obtain professional training to
halt his aggression.
Consider a muzzle. If you take your dog out in public. Keep in mind that some dogs can take off their own muzzles.
Avoid provoking situations. Don’t expose your dog to situations where he’s more likely to show aggression like at a park with other dogs around.
Keep your dog confined. You may need to keep him confined to a safe room and limit his people-contact.
Restrict your dog’s activities. If your dog is possessive of food, treats or a certain place, don’t allow him access to those items. In an emergency, bribe him with something better than what he has. For example, if he steals your shoe, trade him the shoe for a piece of chicken.
What steps can I take to control an aggressive dog?
Deal with the problem immediately, don’t avoid it.
Be sure you make it clear from your voice and demeanor his behaviour is completely unacceptable.
Walk away from your dog and pay no attention to him. Most dogs will respond to the loss of the things they love, such as affection and treats, with supplication.
Go through some simple training commands to reinforce the idea that your dog must listen to you to get your affection.
All situations involving aggression can quickly turn dangerous. If you’re at all hesitant to deal with an aggressive dog, seek help as soon as you can.
Should my aggressive dog see a vet for help?
Since aggression could be a sign of a medical problem, have your dog examined by a vet. He’ll ask you some questions about your dog’s behavior and want to know if the aggression seems to be sparked by any incident. Your vet will want to know if there have been any recent changes in your household (such as a new baby). He’ll then give your dog a complete examination, looking for signs he may be experiencing pain from arthritis or other physical disorders.
Arthritis: If your vet suspects arthritis, x-rays may be needed to determine the amount of wear on your dog’s joints. Your dog may be started on anti-inflammatory medication quickly to ease his pain.
Internal problems: Blood tests may be recommended to look for any internal problems that can’t be seen on a physical examination. If abnormalities are spotted, your vet will respond with the appropriate treatment.
Neutering: If you have an un-neutered male dog, your vet will recommend having him neutered. The most common biters are un-neutered male dogs. Neutering will have a positive effect on your dog’s overall behavior and aggression.
If no physical problems are found, your vet may recommend a training program for your dog and give you some starter ideas on working with an aggressive animal.
If the problem doesn’t improve, your vet may recommend treating the dog with an anti-anxiety drug to help him deal with his emotions more peacefully.
Most vets will refer you to a behaviourist.