Dogs are loving creatures. Each of them has a unique personality. Also, they can have different moods- playful, sad, and scary at times. If your dog barks, growls or bites regularly, then they might have some issues.
Behavioral problems may occur in any breeds- be it big or small. It is perhaps among the main concerns for dog owners. Though you cannot cure it overnight, there are ways by which you can keep your dog calm. Before understanding the ways to help your dog, it’s essential to understand why dogs behave violently.
Factors That Cause Aggression in Dog
A lot of factors lead to aggressive behavior in dogs.
- Sometimes the main reason for dog aggression can be lack of training, possessiveness, or fear.
- Sudden illness can make your pet aggressive.
- Pain due to any tumor, arthritis, or swelling in the body can lead to aggression.
- Frustration due to not getting what they want can make them aggressive towards other dogs or humans, often termed as barrier frustration and redirected aggression.
- Dogs can be aggressive to show their dominance.
Dog aggression can be of different types- protective aggression, territorial aggression, fear aggression, defensive aggression, frustration-aggression, possessive aggression, etc.
Some of the signs include- body language, raised fur, guttural barks, baring teeth, snarling, ears pinned back. Most of the time, the owners fail to comprehend the warning signs, and by the time they realize it, the pet is already out of their control. But if you keep an eye on your loving pet, you will notice these sudden changes.
If you are not sure how to control your furry companions, follow the six tips mentioned below and be a good pet owner!
1.Using Dog Toys
Toys aren’t a luxury for dogs, rather a necessity. They fight boredom and treat several behavioral problems. Durable dog toys provide comfort when they feel nervous or anxious. As a dog owner, you should keep a check on your dog to avoid unscheduled activities. ‘Interactive’ toys are the best as it offers the dogs an opportunity to socialize, and it also boosts up their energy in a limited amount of space and time. Moreover, it helps them learn appropriate behaviors.
2.Understand Their Body Language
Individual dogs have serious biting histories. To check if your dog has any such problem, understand their body language first. During heated situations, you should keep the agitation or nervousness levels below the attack-mode.
Warning signs like mouth tightening, licking their lips, snapping, hard stares, constantly yawning, growling without any reason, and pulsating tails are indications that your dog is in defense mode-i.e. they’re aggressive. So you need to study their body language to determine what makes them behave this way
3.Speak To a Veterinarian
Sometimes, a dog’s aggression can be due to underlying medical problems. The word ‘Aggression’ does not mean that the dog will bite you. Rather, aggression can be of several types.
Certain health issues, like painful injuries, hypothyroidism, and neurological issues, namely brain tumors, epilepsy, and encephalitis, can cause behavioral problems. Speak to your vet because only they can tell if the sudden aggression is due to these health issues. Medications and therapies can reduce their aggressiveness.
4.Call Professional Trainers
You should talk to a dog trainer. If the dog is too aggressive, then it’s better not to handle it on your own. Professional trainers will be the best in this regard. They can find out the potential aggression cause and create a plan for your dog based on that.
Trainers usually suggest the ‘positive reinforcement’ technique to reduce aggressiveness. Here you reward your dogs for good behavior. It is an appreciation technique and is quite helpful in treating aggressiveness.
Dog aggression can be due to fear of punishment. If you threaten your dog for barking or growling, the dog may feel the need to use coercive methods to defend itself.
Some owners use punishments to fear their dogs. The fear you established in their minds, sooner or later, comes out as aggression. It may also cause your dog to even bite someone else. They won’t warn you as well! So it’s better to avoid punishing techniques.
6.Pay Attention to Their Socialization Behavior
Dogs can be aggressive towards their owners, strangers, cats, or while eating. Your pooch can be aggressive while eating, and this happens when they feel that someone might take away their food. How can you deal with it?
Here the trick is to help them feel at ease while eating. Petting them during meal hours can be the best option. Certain dogs are aggressive toward strangers. Though this is common, you have to check if they’re dangerously aggressive towards strangers. In such cases, positive reinforcement or leash training can work great.
The Bottom Line
Though aggression is a serious concern, understanding and communicating with your dogs can be the best ways to prevent it. Also, follow the tips mentioned above properly. When it comes to dog training, several tools like muzzles, collars, can be beneficial. The main thing is to provide them with a trustworthy and positive environment.
Getting professional help will be the best choice as you shouldn’t try to handle it independently. Also, do not expect overnight results. Be consistent and give some time. Your furry friend will adapt to the changes and become calm.