Dogs can be our most loyal best friend and protector. Although they are very pleasing to us and friendly to others sometimes, every day isn’t full of rainbows and butterflies with your dog. There could be days where they’ll show undesirable behavior even if it does not necessarily mean that they aim to bring harm. As an owner, you have the power to control your dog’s behavior, mostly when his actions are the least that we expect.
For others, they might find their dog regularly growling, snapping, or biting, and this can be a serious behavior problem on their hands. Aggression is one of the top reasons dog owners seek the help of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. And it's not just larger dogs and so-called "dangerous breed" that are prone to aggression. Any breed is capable of becoming aggressive under specific circumstances.
This may sometimes be a big trouble for owners who try to take their dogs out for a walk in the neighborhood or park. Dogs with this behavior might just find several triggers in their surroundings such as other animals or even people. In order to achieve a properly behaved pet dog so you can both have a more normal life, you have to take care of them like how you would raise your child. It requires your full attention, time, care, and love.
Although incurable overnight, there are steps you can take to curb the aggressive behavior and help your dog remain calm or turn that aggression into an ideal dog’s behavior. Here are easy and simple ways that you can do at home to improve your dog’s behavior:
1. Housetrain your dog
You can always train your dog and teach them discipline at home. Doing this enhances your dog’s mental capacity, strengthens their bodies, and uplifts their mood, to keep them happy and healthy every single day. Having a happy dog makes a happy owner.
So how do you housetrain your dog? There are plenty of materials online that teach techniques on how to do it or you can always ask an expert to do it for you. One important thing is that you have to make your dog realize that you do not approve of a particular bad behavior. Whenever your dog displays a bothering behavior, quickly change the environment that might be the cause of the behavior. A training environment from any distractions is what you should create to keep your dog calm.
2. Determine the triggering factor
Be observant. Notice and keep in mind what causes your dog’s unwanted behavior. It could be when someone approaches them while they're eating or chewing a bone. Others react aggressively toward children or strangers. Sometimes, it is not just towards people but also other animals or inanimate objects, such as wheels on vehicles or yard equipment.
As soon as you determine your dog's triggering factor, train your dog on how to cope with it by giving him a task to divert his attention.
3. Create a reward system
Every time your dog accomplishes your commands and successfully do the training sessions, always acknowledge his actions by having a rewards system. For example, every time your dog follows your command, reward him with a treat, and give him a light pat on the head.
When your dog reacts violently towards other dogs or other animals, firmly hold the leash, then suddenly pull your dog away. As his owner, and someone he considers superior to him, doing this is equivalent to telling them that he should stop that behavior, which they will soon realize. If you fail in doing this, there are some desensitizing products you can find in the market. It can be easier for both you and you dog and it can even be more effective!
5. Train your dog to identify and react appropriately to his stress signals
When gradually training your dog how to deal with stress signals, you have to make to make an identifiable mark to avoid confusion. Don't forget to also apply the reward system to keep your dog motivated and easily identify every signal.
However, when doing this, always take note of your dog’s reaction, progress, and behavior. If you notice that your dog begins to get anxious and uneasy, you should stop the session and try another time.
5. Dog-to-dog encounter
The most effective way to stop your dog’s aggressive behavior is to give him a face-to-face encounter with other dogs. Regularly doing this will definitely make your dog get used to other dogs' presence, mostly when you start rewarding him for being unaggressive towards them. Whenever you get the chance to encounter another dog, make it an opportunity to train your dog, but of course, be sure that you are ready to take control of the situation. Always consult with an expert's advice or do some research because this method can be dangerous for both dogs and for you.
These are the simple steps that you could do to stop your dog’s aggressive behavior. Remember that it can take time depending on the dog, so be patient and keep in mind that your behavior towards your dog could be reflected in them as well. Give your best when training them, but do not overwork them. You will see the improvements and changes in no time if you do it religiously.