Aggression is natural for dogs and everyone realizes that dogs can badly wound humans and other animals. This does not mean that dog owners are completely helpless in their ability to stop aggressive dog behavior. If you are dealing with an aggressive dog, it is vital that he receives the correct dog obedience training right away, before he hurts you or a member of your family.
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The most common types of dog aggression are aggression to strangers, and aggression to family members. These two kinds of aggressive dog behavior occur for several reasons so should be treated differently.
Aggressive Dog Behavior Towards Strangers
The main reason dogs dislike strange animals and people is due to the fact that they haven’t had an opportunity to become familiar with them. The process for getting your dog used to unfamiliar people, animals, and surroundings is called socialization. Socialization is a vital part of obedience training for your dog. You may be wondering how socialization can prevent an aggressive dog from attacking the postman or pizza delivery boy. A dog that has been socialized will start to realize that these new adventures can be pleasurable instead of being frightening.
Your dog should learn this important lesson as a puppy. If your dog is frequently with various kinds of people (e.g., children, teenagers, men wearing uniforms, old people, people wearing helmets or carrying umbrellas) in a relaxed and fun environment, the chances of your dog being being aggressive towards strangers are much less.
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If you are seeking a good venue for socializing your puppy, group training sessions, frequently held by large pet stores or at a veterinary office, are a good idea. Your dog will learn how to behave with dogs he doesn’t know. These sessions will also teach your dog that he does not need to fear people he doesn’t know. He should not feel overwhelmed at these sessions – allow his tolerance to build gradually by starting off slowly.
Aggression Towards Family Members
Aggressive dog behavior towards human family members is usually for these reasons:
- Your pooch is guarding his belongings from a perceived danger (in his mind, that’s you!). Such excessively possessive behavior or resource guarding is not unusual in dogs.
- This resource guarding behavior is a clear display of dominance and relates to your dog’s perceived ranking in the hierarchy of your household. To your dog, your family composition is no different from a dog pack. If your dog sees himself in a higher position than you or your family members, he’ll become aggressive.
Such resource guarding is typical of dominant behavior, as an underdog would not be aggressive to a more highly ranked member of the pack.
The best way to prevent dog aggression is to give your dog consistent obedience training, which will make your dog understand that you are the boss or “alpha dog”. This fact may be emphasized with rewards such as praise and treats when he complies with a command, and by enforcing “time out” when he misbehaves.
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