Why Is Training So Important?
Training for aggressive dogs is important because of the simple fact that almost any dog, no matter how well mannered, could still bite a human or some other dog. Training your dog is a means to keep that from happening.
The reasons a dog may bite can be anything from sickness to some level of discomfort or pain. However, one thing common among all dogs is that, they usually give ample warning before they actually move forward to bite. Some of these aggressive warning signs and behaviors are easy enough to recognize. A dog may growl at you, show her teeth, or even snap in your direction.
At other times, especially if a dog is sick, the warning signs can be more subtle. A dog may simply freeze and not move no matter what you do, or may stare at you in a very fixed manner and with large eyes. Aggression can sometimes be triggered by something as simple as yawning or petting. And, any dog owner should be wary when a dog puts her ears down close to her head, because this is a characteristic sign of an animal ready to attack.
Now, here are some important dos and don'ts regarding aggressive dog training.
Do Not Punish Your Dog For The Wrong Reasons
One of the most important points to stress on is that you must never punish your dog for giving warning that she is going to be aggressive. When a dog warns of upcoming aggressive behavior, she is actually trying to tell you that she has a problem. If you punish her for this, you may find that in the future she will simply bite without any prior warning, whatsoever.
In similar situations, a dog may become aggressive because she feels tense or afraid. Under such circumstances, punishing your dog will only increase her sense of tension and fear and will more likely cause her to bite.
Training From An Early Age
Proper training for aggressive dogs is necessary if your dog is showing aggressive tendencies. In such case, you should deal with the situation right away avoiding safety risks that can arise if your dog attacks another dog or worse, if the problem escalates to an attack of an adult or a child.
The truth is that much of this situation can be avoided if the dog receives adequate training when she is a pup which can help to minimize or eliminate any aggressive displays. An important rule is that a dog must never be allowed, even from a young age, to bite or nip your hands or feet, or even your socks.
One of the best things you can do for your puppy, aggressive or not, is to take her to puppy training classes and to practice obedience at home as well. In general, most puppies undergo a time of socialization, where their social skills become crystallized. This period lasts till they are around six months of age. Most of your puppy's behavioral concepts will be finalized in this period so if you're going to teach your dog how to behave, this is the time to do it.
According to most dog trainers, socializing your puppy with other dogs and humans is an absolute must. Chances are, if your puppy learns not to attack or engage in play nipping with other dogs and humans before the age of six months then she'll probably never do it as an adult dog.
Another thing that you can do when training your dog against aggression is to avoid playing rough games, such as tug of war, with her. If your play roughly, your dog may come to understand that aggressive behavior is perfectly acceptable to you.
The Use Of Positive Reinforcement
There are all sorts of interesting techniques that trainers use in training aggressive dogs. The most successful of them are the ones that use positive reinforcement - it is the key is to break any bad association and negative emotions that lead to unwanted or aggressive behavior.
For example, here's a tip that you can try yourself. If every time you go walking with your dog she gets aggressive when she sees another dog and starts barking and going crazy, try to distract her by giving her some tasty snack. Try doing that consistently every time you encounter another dog.
In time your dog will associate coming across another dog as a good thing (getting a treat) rather than something to be upset about. Ultimately, your dog will look to you for a treat instead of thinking of acting aggressive when she sees another dog. This is a small trick but if practiced correctly can give you great results in managing your dog's behavior, aggressive or not.
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