Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to create aggression in dogs

Let me give you the perfect recipe for making a frustrated and or, an aggressive dog.

Step 1. Let them see or hear something that excites them.

Step 2. Deny them access to that very thing that excited them

Step 3. Repeat

This could be a dog on another side of the fence, the mail man who comes to the house and then leaves before your dog gets his chance to meet him. When you are out on a walk and your dog sees something it wants across the street, or on the other side of the sidewalk.

Now you are probably saying, yeah so what I am supposed to do, give in all the time?  No, that would simply create a wild, and uncontrolled dog.  So what are you suppose to do?  If you can simply get your dogs attention redirected back at you, yawn if you can and blink slowly as you turn your head to one side (that is a calming signal that your dog will understand as they do it themselves).  If you can get your dog to refocus on something else, such as your voice, or a toy they will be able calm themselves down.  Then you can do one of two things. Once they are calm you can allow them to meet the stranger at the door, or smell that interesting patch of grass.  If you are on a walk and the other dog or thing of interest is not approachable, keep their attention, and focus on you.  If you know your dog tends to get overly excited easily, I suggest taking a tug toy with you on your walk, or how about a clicker and some treats.  You want to teach them self control in a positive happy manner.  The less fear involved the better.  Aggression is just the next step after fear.

Another way to create an aggressive dog down the road is to get a quiet, shy dog and then don't expose him to anything outside of your house.  You don't actually need a shy dog for this to work, any dog will do.  Puppies form most of the way they will look at life in those first few weeks after you bring him home.  So if all he ever learns is contained inside your house, any time you take him out of that house will be very unsettling at the least to extremely nerve wracking.

Ok, so lets say you already have a dog who is either acting extremely shy or fearful, or worse has hit that aggressive stage.  What now?  Can your dog be "fixed?"  In most cases yes.  It is simply a matter of reteaching your dog to be happy and confident.  Now you don't teach happy confident with shock collars, or choke chains.  You teach it by showing your dog good things happen when then are in those situations that they currently set them off.

For example, if your dog barks like crazy when the mailman comes, you will need to watch for the mail truck, as soon as you see or hear it call your dog to you and start asking for things like sit and down.  You may need to have your dog on a leash.  As long as your dog is listening to you, and not paying attention to the mail truck, or the mail man (you may need to do this where your dog can't see the mail man at first) then you can be giving clicks and rewards for his happy behavior.  If your dog looses his cool at some point in this exercise simply take him to his crate for a bit of a time out so he can cool back down.  This shouldn't be more than 5-10 minutes.   Soon you will have replaced the scary and seemingly unpredictable with fun bonding times with you.  Then you can move on to games where your dog can see the mailman and as long as there isn't any bad behavior you can click and reward.  Soon that once scary mailman will become a wonderful thing for your dog.  Once your dog no longer fears that situation phase any treats you have been using and simply praise your dog for handling himself so well.

In order to change your dog's reaction to the world, you will need to change the way the your dog sees the world.  If everywhere he goes he is getting goodies and having positive experiences, he will soon loose his fear of those things.

Note, the best time and way to not get an aggressive dog is to introduce him to as many positive and controlled situations as you can, in and outside your home when he is a puppy under the age of 4 months.  Studies have been showing that as long as your pup has had two rounds of vaccines, their immunity to those viruses are good enough not to worry as much.  In fact most tested immune to the viruses long after the 3rd or 4th rounds were supposed to have been given.  So do you and your pup a favor.  For the long run take the pup out with you to as many new places as possible in those first few months.  Not for too long, or they might get over stimulated, but enough to let them experience the world and find it a fun and happy place.

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