The Hidden K9 Aggression

What causes Aggression?

True aggression in dogs is actually quite rare, most cases of so called aggression are often mis-diagnosed. A dog that bites when cornered or one that attacks when you take away its food is not always acting from aggression.

I believe true aggression is a premeditated or cognitive function. This is mostly identifiable by “The calm before the storm”. Body language often gives this away, a still and stiff posture, a cold fixated stare, a break in panting are all subtle signs that a dog may potentially launch an attack.

Sometimes though it’s not easy to see the signs, I have been bitten a few times through not being able to read a signal.

Dominance is another rare trait in dogs but it does exist, dominance led aggression is very dangerous. It’s almost impossible for the dog to follow commands in this state of mind, once they have bitten down they may have difficulty releasing the bite and you may have to assist using a bite or break stick.

Dominance needs very careful management, and sometimes if the environment is not conducive to this, for example if you have young children you may have to look at alternative actions like rehoming with an expert handler.

How Can You Fix Aggression?

The modification of aggressive behaviour is a tricky one, especially for the nervous or first time dog owner. There is a significant risk that the dog could redirect the aggression onto the handler if they attempt to control or correct the dog.

Firstly we need an effective management protocol in place, this may mean muzzle training, crates or other methods of control. The problem with this as a single approach is that it’s almost a ticking time bomb. It only takes someone to be off guard and the dog has an opportunity.

Aggression in my opinion is best left for an expert to deal with, we have to find a way of communicating to the dog that this behaviour is not acceptable, this however is a fine balancing act between leadership and control. A dominant dog will push back, so it needs an expert to set the levels of correction so that they are safe but effective. Once we get better behaviour we can move to more reward based training. Talk to a professional if you are dealing with true cognitive aggression.

Join me on a free call to discuss your particular case!

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