If you’re experiencing a pup that is displaying some aggression in their behavior you may be feeling uneasy and likely are wondering can a dog trainer help with aggression.
In this article, we will uncover the truth of whether or not can a dog trainer help with aggression!
Can a Dog Trainer Help With Aggression: The Simple Answer
A dog trainer with knowledge of canine behavior, counter conditioning, and a clear understanding of a dog’s aggression triggers can help with dog aggression.
Why Is Your Dog Aggressive?
The first phase of training a dog not to be aggressive is to understand why your dog is behaving aggressively in the first place!
Understanding the root cause of your dog’s aggression enables your dog trainer to have a full understanding of why your dog is behaving in that manner and whats steps to take!
Here are some common reasons why your dog may be behaving aggressively:
Fear: The first Form of aggression is fear-based aggression, fear-based aggression stems from fear and uncertainty.
Dogs that behave aggressively due to fear are simply scared and display aggressive behavior such as growling, lunging, and biting as a way to create more space between what is making your dog feel uncomfortable and himself.
Insufficient Socialization: Another reason that a dog may behave aggressively is a lack of proper socialization and exposure.
A puppy that isn’t socialized and exposed to dogs and people will grow up to be fearful and unsure of the things that he/she was never exposed to.
This usually leads to fear-based aggression. To learn more about socialization read our article here
Pain: Aggression that stems from pain is fairly straight forward a dog may bite or growl when in pain.
To learn about more reasons why your dog may be behaving aggressively read our article on aggressive dog training.
The Training Process For Aggressive Dogs
The training process with aggressive dogs is about counter-conditioning.
Counter conditioning; is essentially changing your dog’s perspective on what trigger’s your pup’s aggressive response towards one where your pup begins to have a positive association instead of a negative one.
The first step in the training process for an aggressive dog is prevention.
Prevention is key in counter-conditioning because we want to prevent your pup from rehearsing the aggressive behaviors we want to stop.
The last thing we want is to allow your pup to build a stronger habit out of his/her aggressive responses.
The particular ways to prevent your dog from rehearsing any aggressive behavior are very dependent on your specific dog and his/her triggers.
For instance; does your pup behave aggressively just when guests arrive? Or does your pup just behave aggressively on a walk? Or maybe in the crate over a toy?
The basic concept is to find what normally triggers your pup to be aggressive and prevent your dog from going into the cycle of seeing “trigger” and reacting aggressively.
The Power Of Rewards:
Now that we know why we want to prevent your pup from rehearsing behaviors we don’t want, the next phase is using what your dog views as rewarding to your advantage.
Using your dog’s rewards whether it’s a toy or food we want to begin providing your pup with positive experiences around what normally would trigger your dog.
For instance; if your dog lunges at other dogs or people aggressively you may want to begin providing your pup positive experiences around what normally would trigger him.
If you find that your pup doesn’t care for the treats or toy when the dog or person is present create more space from the “trigger” until your dog is able to take the reward and focus on you.
Once that baseline of distance is established we want to gradually begin decreasing the distance that your dog is from the trigger.
The objective here is to provide your pup with a positive experience around what normally would induce your pup’s aggressive response while gradually closing the distance.
Setting Up Scenarios
Now that we have a basic game plan on what we want to accomplish, we now have to set up specific scenarios where we are able to practice and implement everything.
For instance, if your dog lunges at the door when guest come over have a friend help you play the role of a stranger while you begin getting your pup comfortable seeing guest come in and out.
Consistency is critical when it comes to creating true behavior change in any animal especially a dog. So when answering can a dog trainer help with aggression remember to stay consistent so we can create a new habit and overpower the old one!
Ultimately when answering can a dog trainer help with aggression, the answer is yes, if a dog trainer can successfully understand the root cause and create a consistently structured counter conditioning and training plan.
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!