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How to handle aggression in dogs

Dogs are god sent angels who help us humans realize the true meaning of loyalty and companionship. But they too can get aggressive at times! Fret not. Follow these tips and tricks to get your pooch back from monster mode.

Your cuddle bun is a living being and living beings go through different moods. Your dog can get scared, frustrated or even excited and start exhibiting aggression. Every breed has different aggression patterns, but whether your dog is a small Basset Hound or a gigantic Saint Bernard, every dog will show some kind of aggression at some point.

No, this doesn’t call for a punishment like locking up your pooch in the room or taking away its food! That is cruel and in no way will solve your problem. In fact, that might exacerbate the aggression and end up in behavioral issues.

The first thing you need to understand is that aggression is natural. Here are some really useful tips to get your beloved dog back on track:

Raising your dog properly

Dogs are like little children when they are young. Not only do they need to be fed properly, but also taught certain things for them to exhibit proper and appropriate behavior when they grow up. So, when we discipline our children right from the start, why not do the same with our dog?

From the very beginning, let them know that it is alright for somebody else to play with their beloved toy. It is alright for someone to take away their bowl of treats. If this training is done right from the beginning, they will know that they are not supposed to get aggressive every time that event is repeated. When they showcase a good behavioral pattern after such an event, shower them with rewards and a quick treat. They are super intelligent creatures and will quickly understand that this is good behavior. Hence, the treats!!

Your pooch needs to socialize

 yes you might be the motherly owner who is overprotective about her children, but STOP! Your dog needs to breathe and breathe among other creatures of his breed and yours!

Your dog needs friends and good training in a safe environment. So, take him to the garden often and let him/her mingle with other dogs. Also, dog training classes are excellent for dog-to-dog and dog-to-human interaction. They are safe and friendly and the dog learns to grow and thrive in a community setting as opposed to an isolated environment 24×7, where he is homebound.

To minimize the hassle of finding a playdate for your pet, you can download PetsApp on your phone. To download the app, click here.

Physical disciplining is a strict no-no

You need to avoid using aggression yourself in order to make your dog’s aggression subside. This will have counter effect and will only exacerbate his/her aggression. Use a positive approach of rewards and treats instead. Aggression does not beat aggression. Be gentle, yet firm and things will fall into place.

Exercise schedule

Just like you need to ‘cool off’ from time to time, your dog needs it too. If he/she is messing everything up in the house up by the time you’re back home from work, this is a sign. All dogs need some exercise on a daily basis which will let them use their excess energy productively instead of getting aggressive. It could be fun and games with ‘catch’ or simply jogging along. Stick to a daily regime of at least 30 minutes of exercise with your dog and see the home stay as it was when you left it before going to work!

A visit to the vet

Not at all times will you know if your pooch is going through some illness. Sometimes, a fever or general malaise is cause of aggression. If you are unable to find out any trigger for a particularly aggressive event, it is wise to visit the veterinarian for a general checkup in order to know if there are any hidden ticks or fever that might be causing his/her aggression. Once the cause is found, it can be treated and will help your dog get back to their cheerful self soon!

If the dog is inherently aggressive by nature and the aggression is not triggered by anything in particular, you can resort to behavioural training from expert canine trainers. Everything said and done, remember not to lose your cool and resort to any physical aggression with your pet under any circumstances in an effort to “tame them”.

If you truly do love your dog, you need to understand that love and gentle treatment always works with these angelic creatures, even when they are aggressive. With the right tools and techniques, it’ll not be long before you figure out how to keep his aggression at bay.

By Ruchika Anand

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