How to Stop an Aggressive Dog
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One of the biggest problems and most frightening issues that any dog owner has is finding that the dog they have either adopted, rescued or inherited in some way is suffering from nervous aggression.
This can manifest itself in many forms, barking, jumping up at people and worst of all, physically attacking and biting them, other dogs, visitors to their home or pretty much anyone else the dog fancies taking a chunk out of.
One of the biggest issues facing people like delivery drivers and Postal workers is the very real threat of dog attacks when they are delivering to homes throughout the country on a daily basis.
It’s no laughing matter either as some of these guys have ended up with life-changing injuries or worse.
I used to work for a major telecoms company in the UK and I regularly had to work in rural areas where farm dogs roamed wild and I can tell you, it’s pretty hard to do your job when you can’t actually get out of your van because the farm Collie is snarling at you like a scene from Cujo.
Can an Aggressive Dog Be Cured?
Well yes and no. You can certainly do something about YOUR dog, but I am afraid the farmer in the example above will have to sort his own dog out in this case.
The aggression we are seeing in a dog that exhibits these sorts of behaviors is nearly always because of the way they see themselves in the role of the pack. They are seeing themselves as pack leader, therefore they think they have to be the protector of the flock, the family…You.
It’s therefore important to remember out training thus far regarding you making your dog understand that YOU are the pack leader, so you don’t need them to be acting the way they are.
Some dog’s ferociousness towards strangers is extremely frightening and I urge caution when faced with any dog you do not know.
If you can avoid getting involved with dogs like this, all the better as at this stage you simply will not have all the facts about why they are the way they are.
What we are dealing with here, is YOUR dog acting aggressively. We need to get this sorted quickly.
We are dealing with a dog that is completely ignoring you as their owner and it’s making its own decisions as to what is a threat or not. If you had laid down the role as pack leader, your dog wouldn’t be acting this way…but you haven’t..and they are!
Can Aggressive Dogs Be Trained?
The good news is that it can be changed!
And you are now going to reprogram your dog!
You see, if a dog is acting like this, aggressively…it’s usually doing it to pretty much anyone, including you as the owner. Remembering that at this stage your dog thinks THEY are the Alpha, not you so they have little respect for you as a result.
You need to get them to respect you and you need them to seem you as Alpha.
When I first got my first Greyhound, Albert from the rescue center, he quickly settled in our home and seemed quite happy. One night a few days in, I had made the log fire in our lounge and the whole room was toasty and warm by the evening.
Albert seemed to really like the warmth of the fire so he decided to stretch out on the rug in front of the fire to get a better roasting!
I also enjoyed the slouch on the floor too, so joined him.
Albert quickly began to grumble and growl as he was letting me know that this was his rug, his fire and I was not allowed to be there.
My wife interjected “Oh….you better move love, he doesn’t like it….” she said to me.
Now, If I had moved that would have given my boy Albert the message that he was “Alpha” and could order me about as he saw fit.
If he didn’t like something he could just bark and get his own way.
I didn’t look at Albert, I completely ignored his behavior and stayed put. “My Rug, My Fire..My House..well, Our house love. I am not moving!” And I didn’t. Albert growled louder..and this turned into a bark.
I stayed put..and this time when he barked I looked at him..and barked back “NO!” and then stayed put.
Albert stopped barking, looked at me as if to say…”What’s going on?” Then he got up and moved away to another part of the lounge!
I had ignored him enough and then acted like an Alpha dog would have done to him.
It’s not being mean or cruel doing this, it’s establishing the pecking order and if you do it like this then quickly, you will see the results.
You are adding new software to your dog’s mind and they will get it eventually.
You have to establish yourself as pack leader. it is vital. 100% of everything about owning and building a great relationship with your dog, the bonding, the walks, the playtime is all about how they see you..and to get the very best from your relationship, they HAVE to see you as Alpha.
You have to follow all of the steps in my previous articles about establishing yourself as pack leader, commit to them and follow them through.
Now, the whole reprogramming your dog thing will not happen in a day, or maybe a week or even a month. But, you have to keep doing it until you make that dog understand who is in charge.
So if they bark at the postman, you can acknowledge by saying “Thanks, Boy…I got this” similarly, if they rush up to you uninvited, you ignore that as you did not request it.
Slowly, but importantly, the whole pendulum of Alpha will swing to you, the natural and only pack leader that can be in this relationship.
I can tell you from experience that having a dog that sees you as Alpha is about 1000 times more rewarding than dealing with a dog that doesn’t.