Is your dog aggressive? Do you have a dog that lunges, barks, and bites? Well, you are not alone. I’ve helped many owners overcome this issue by teaching their dog a better way to behave!
Buster, the Beagle, had issues when it came to walking on the leash and encountering another dog. At just the sight another dog, Buster would lunge, bark, and try to snap.
Now if your wondering why your dog is reacting, there can be various reasons.
You have to understand that there are different underlining reasons why your dog may be aggressive, and the approach you take with one dog may be vastly different than the approach you take with another dog.
Aggression in Dogs Comes in Many Forms.
If your dog is reactive towards another dog or person, there is usually an underlining reason behind it. In the case of Buster, the Beagle, we discovered that Buster had been bitten as a puppy by another dog.
This proved to us that Buster’s previous experience dictated how he felt towards other dogs from that point on.
It was clear that although Buster displayed a “tough” act, his aggression stemmed from fear.
Fear aggression usually develops when your dog is uncomfortable or has experienced past trauma.
However, it’s not just the previous experience itself, or being uncomfortable that causes reactivity. Believe it or not, it has to do with you, as the owner!
Many times what occurs is during a walk, your dog will bark, lunge, or bite out of fear.
What your dog tends to learn is that if he barks, the other dog goes away, or you take your dog a different way in order to escape the situation.
In a sense, your dog becomes reactive because he feels as if his reactivity is making the “bad stuff” go away.
In Buster’s case the “bad stuff” was his fear of other dogs.
I Have a Fear Aggressive Dog What Do I Do Now?
So you have a fear aggressive dog- what now?
The steps for rehabilitating aggressive dogs aren’t black and white, so the first step you can take as an owner is to become a leader for your dog.
If your dog is reactive, it’s due to the lack of leadership you are providing.
To clear things up some more, when I say leadership, I am not referring to being “alpha” or “dominating”.
I am referring to building a relationship with your dog so that he knows and understands that you will advocate for him, and although he may feel uncomfortable, it is going to be okay.
You need to communicate that there is no need to react aggressively because you have your pup’s back.
Of course, the rehabilitation process goes far beyond teaching your dog that although you had one bad experience, not all dogs will be a problem to him.
Teaching your dog to make better overall decisions, for instance if your dog feels uncomfortable we want to teach him to walk away from the other dog, or to walk to you, instead of reacting and trying to bite.
There are many forms of aggression and reactivity, but that doesn’t mean that your pup can’t be helped to see things through a different lens, like one where your dog doesn’t have to bark, lunge and potentially try to bite.
Instead, lets help him to see through one where your dog can thrive knowing that he has nothing to worry about, even if he feels uncomfortable because you, as your dog’s owner and pet parent, are being the leader for your dog’s needs.