Dog Aggression: A Word About the “A” Word

October 6, 2012 | By | Reply More

 Dealing with Your Dog’s Aggressive Behavior

There are ways to change a dog’s aggressive behavior using harsher methods, sometimes involving force, intimidation, corporal punishment, and even pain.  Typically, a dog that acts aggressively toward  a particular stimuli (i.e. person, dog, bicycle, loud noise) is often reacting out of fear or discomfort to a particular situation.  The owner too, can be equally as stressed trying to get a handle on this behavior.  It’s not a pleasant experience for dog or owner.

To punish a dog for feeling distressed and reacting aggressively is not going to ease the dog’s anxiety.  In fact, the anxiety could and most likely will get worse.  So, the dog who was initially worried about the garbage truck for apparently no reason, now has reason to be worried about the garbage truck, since it’s presence makes bad things happen to him.

This is not to say that you can’t eliminate your dog’s aggressive behavior with punishment.  You actually can.  One thing that most traditional trainers will do is to correct the dog with some form of punishment that the dog will soon learn to fear more than the original trigger.  Perhaps you have stopped the behavior, but do you think your dog feels ok about the garbage truck?  Or does he tolerate it’s approach for fear of the consequence of a shock, tug, choke, etc.   Usually when the animal does comply with this type of training, it is called “learned helplessness.”  The dog who learns he is helpless to control his destiny will give up, and accept the situation he is in.  So dog’s behavior may be fixed but…dog’s spirit is broken.  Is this really what you want?

If there is another way, a better way, a much more effective way that does not cause pain or more stress to your dog…wouldn’t you at least want to know about it?

It’s important first and foremost, that these animals feel comfortable in their environment.  To be fearful, anxious or reactive is not the way any of them would choose to live given another option.  My goal is to give them that option.   Call me at 805-328-8030 in San Luis Obispo.  I want to help.

 

 

Tags: anxiety, changing behavior, dog aggression, dog behavior, fear, positive reinforcement

Category: All Posts, Behavior

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