If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a dog bite, then you know how serious aggressive behavior can be. Even if your dog has never bitten someone, he may still display aggression in a number of ways. A growling dog with bared teeth is obviously being aggressive, but there are more subtle signs too. If your dog stands tall and stares at others, or stares down other animals while wagging his tail, that’s also aggression.
Take your dog to the vet.
The first thing you should do when your dog is aggressive is take him or her to the vet. The vet can give you medication for your dog and also training advice on how to deal with aggressive behavior.
Vet visits are important for all dogs, but this is especially true if your dog has an aggressive streak. Sometimes it’s not clear what’s causing an aggressive behavior in dogs and bringing in the vet can help determine whether it’s something medical or psychological. Also, there are some medications that can help calm down a dog who’s exhibiting signs of aggression.
Understand that your dog may have a behavioral problem rather than a health problem.
The first step in dealing with your dog’s aggression is to realize that it could be a behavioral problem rather than a health issue. If you’ve noticed your dog being particularly aggressive towards you, or if they’ve shown signs of aggression toward other people, there are many reasons why this could be happening.
- You may have missed some early warning signs. For example, if the dog was showing aggressiveness towards its food bowl since puppyhood and this behavior hasn’t been corrected yet (by either giving it more attention or less), then it’s likely that the dog thinks it has dominance over its owner and will try to assert itself in other ways as well.
- Your dog might be trying to protect you from something else that’s going on around them—like another animal walking past nearby or someone unfamiliar approaching their territory too quickly/intrusively
Work with a professional dog trainer.
If your dog is aggressive, the first thing you should do is work with a professional dog trainer. Dog trainers are trained and experienced in working with all types of dogs, and they can help you understand your dog’s behavior.
If you don’t have access to a professional trainer, check out our tips below on finding one who will be able to help with aggression issues:
- Do not hire someone just because he or she is recommended by someone else—always interview several different people before hiring anyone. Ask questions about their training style and experience working with your breed of dog, as well as what methods they use for correcting unwanted behavior. If possible, visit his or her facility and observe him/her interacting with other dogs (as well as people). Make sure everything seems appropriate before signing up!
- Look for someone who has been certified by one of the major organizations like APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), CPDT-KA (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) or NADOI (National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors). These certifications indicate that an individual has met certain requirements pertaining to education level and experience working directly with animals in particular contexts.
Talk to your veterinarian about medication for fear or aggression.
If you feel that your dog’s aggression is the result of fear and anxiety, your veterinarian can recommend medication that could help. Some medications are especially useful in treating fear and aggression, while others are more effective for anxiety.
Your vet may also suggest other treatments if they think a particular problem is contributing to your dog’s behavior problems. For instance, if he thinks that hyperactivity might be causing some of the problem, he may recommend behavior modification training or some other form of therapy.
Avoid petting dogs that are eating, sleeping, or chewing on a toy.
- Don’t pet dogs that are sleeping, chewing on a toy or bone, or in process of eating.
- Avoid petting dogs that are sleeping. Dogs can be startled out of their sleep state by sudden movements and sounds and may react defensively if they feel threatened.
- When you’re training your dog to sit, he may start to growl at you if he doesn’t like being told what to do. You should avoid petting or trying to calm him down during this time period because his body language will tell you whether or not it’s appropriate for you to continue doing so (and if it isn’t).
- If your dog is too big for this type of interaction with children, don’t let them interact directly with the animal because kids could get bitten accidentally when playing around with an animal without supervision from adult supervision (especially if said child has an established pattern of jumping onto pets). This also includes puppies who haven’t been fully trained yet; always keep an eye out when small children are around them!
Make sure children handle dogs gently, even the family dog.
Another important thing to remember when working with a puppy is that children should approach dogs gently and calmly, without making sudden movements. Children should also be taught to let the dog sniff their hand before petting it and avoid taking food away from a dog.
If you want your family pet to grow up into an adult who will get along with other dogs and people, you need to train him while he’s still young. This means spending time with him on an ongoing basis doing activities like playing fetch or tug o’ war so he can learn what acceptable behavior looks like in different situations.
If a dog makes you uneasy, don’t go near it.
When you see a dog that seems aggressive, avoid it. Don’t approach it and don’t try to pet it. If you can tell that the dog wants something from you (like food or toys), don’t take those things away—just keep your distance and let him have his things.
Keep in mind that dogs are often scared when their owners are gone for long periods of time, so if your dog is barking at you when you come home from work every day, this may be the reason why. If this is the case, try giving your dog more attention when he needs it!
Aggressive behavior from dogs can be dangerous, but it’s usually something you can get under control if you know how and why they’re acting that way.
It’s important to understand that dog aggression is a natural behavior. While it can be dangerous and even life-threatening, it’s not something you have to accept as the status quo.
If you think your dog is showing signs of aggression, help is out there. Work with a professional to figure out if it’s normal behavior or a deeper problem and take steps to correct the issues.
With proper training and management, you can help your dog learn how to behave around other animals and people in a safe manner.