Aggressive dog behavior Overview
Aggressive dog behavior that is ignored can quickly progress into a problem that is both dangerous and uncontrollable. Quite often, dog biting and dog chewing are stemmed from issues that were never addressed and dealt with properly during puppyhood. There are many factors that could be influencing the behavior but regardless of the cause, it is important that you put a stop to it immediately.
Causes of Aggression
Nearly all dog training books will tell you that it is essential to never remove a puppy from its mother and litter mates until he is a minimum of eight weeks old. These first few weeks are crucial to socialization and to allow the mother to put a stop to dog biting before it starts. It is during this time that puppies begin to learn their manners.
When you do bring your puppy home, it is important that you continue to socialize him around people as well as other dogs until he is at least 14 weeks old. This is a very important step to avoid future issues with dog aggression. Also, young puppies should never be yelled at, hit or treated harshly because these actions only create fear which will ultimately transition to aggression.
Heredity is a common cause of puppy aggression. While some breeds are prone to being more aggressive, this does not meant that they will fall into that stereotype when trained properly. On the other hand, sometimes even the most docile breed coming out of puppy mills and born from parents that are unhappy or not socialized can result in aggressive behavior.
Environment, by far, is the most important influence over aggressive behavior in dogs. Dog training books, free dog training classes and even your local veterinarian will tell you that living conditions play a huge role in your dog’s personality. If a dog has a harsh owner, inadequate living conditions or no socialization, the chances of the dog becoming aggressive is elevated substantially.
The need to be at the head of the pack is another popular cause for aggression in dogs. Posturing, lunging and dog biting are all aggressive actions that most dogs use to establish themselves as the leader. It is vital that you attain this position while your dog is at a young age to ensure that you won’t have aggression or control issues later.
Controlling the Behavior
Most dogs will calm down a significant amount once they have been spayed or neutered. If your dog has been altered and still exhibits aggressive behavior even after they are 14 months old, this is a concern that needs addressing immediately. If you have not already established your place in the pack as the leader, this has to be done. Never, under any circumstance, reward your dog for aggressive behavior.
You need to control their walking and feeding times and be a strong leader for them in the house. This is easily done by even the smallest actions such as making them “sit” for a few brief seconds before you allow them to go outside or attack their food bowl.
If you have adopted an adult dog, keep in mind that they could act aggressive out of fear. Since you are probably unaware of what their life has been like until now, you have to exercise caution and be patient. Children are often seen as a threat to fearful canines and then dog biting becomes an issue. This is not necessarily because they are aggressive by nature but because they are scarred. Attending a free dog training class is a good way to begin socializing your dog and if he is aggressive, it is a good idea to let the trainer know ahead of time so any extra precautions can be made.
Many owners have issues with aggressive behavior in dogs which is why so many end up abandoned and in shelters. Before you give up on your dog, take into consideration that perhaps training was not performed in a way that your dog would respond. There is a good chance that if you pick up a few dog training books and take the time to establish yourself as a leader, you will both have a happy life together.
Dog biting is serious so if you cannot control the situation yourself, consider hiring a professional to help you.