Are You Teaching Your Dog To Be Aggressive By Accident?
Many dog owners teach their dogs to be aggressive by accident, as well as other negative behaviors. Dog aggression is a behavior that is self rewarding, meaning it will intensify if you do nothing about it. Patting the dog on the head, giving a 'good dog' response, giving no response, and allowing the dog to do what he wants without a correction are all subtle ways of praising the dog instead of telling him that's not okay with me. Obedience commands are the best way to communicate with your dog. A dog that disobeys commands is testing your authority within the pack and you must respond. If you don't, the dog will interpret this lack of reaction on your part as permission to continue the bad behavior. Dogs will always take as much as they can get set some limits, problems will develop.
Do you want an aggressive dog? Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are accidentally teaching your dog to be aggressive:
- When you walk your dog, is the dog constantly pulling at the end of the leash?
- When you are out walking your dog, does your dog lunge at the other dogs or people and bark, snarl or snap aggressively in their direction?
- Do you allow the dog to display this behavior without giving a correction?
- Do you stroke or pet your dog while he is behaving this way in an effort to calm the dog?
- Do you tell the dog he is being good by defending you and his territory?
- Do you avoid certain houses while on your walks or exercising your dog?
- When people walk past your property, does the bark loudly and aggressively, try to break through the window or door, and continues to behave in this manner after you have told him to stop?
All dogs over 6 months should be taught obedience. If your dog is showing aggressive behavior and you are not in danger of being attacked while out walking or in your home, you need to shut it down immediately. When out walking with the dog, you need to give a strong leash correction, a "NO" command, and turn and walk the other way until you are heeling with control, and then back again towards the person or dog that your dog was barking at. If at any time the dog becomes aggressive, turn away from the object the dog was barking at, gain control, and then walk towards the object again. When giving a verbal command, especially in this situation, say it like you mean it. Don't use a squeaky or high tone; use a low growling tone so the dog knows he's crossed the line and this behavior is unacceptable. The dog needs to be quiet and calm. If you are unable to get control of your dog, call a professional trainer for help. Every time the dog wins and gets his way, it reinforces that aggressive behavior is acceptable.