How To Handle An Aggressive Dog

Dogs – a man’s best friend, right? What about those times where they growl with teeth prominently aimed towards you. Eyes locked, ready to attack. We’re pretty sure that no one feels inclined to calmly cuddle with their so-called ‘bestie’ at that particular moment and if you do, it’s not always possible.

Luckily, there are certain and specific ways to deal with aggressive dogs which will keep both the person and the dog safe.

How To Handle An Aggressive Dog

April 20, 2018

1. Understanding Dog Aggression

Firstly, it’s crucial that you ensure that your dog does not suffer from Rabies. Dogs can obtain rabies from coming in contact with saliva or blood from affected animals, such as dogs, jackals, mongooses, and cats. A veterinarian should vaccinate your dog and cat on a yearly basis, to prevent this untreatable disease.

Secondly, you should understand a dog’s aggression. Valid, once a dog is acting aggressive towards you, your first instinct isn’t necessarily to sit down and have a heart-to-heart! But, we know how much you love your dog, which is why you want to soothe them and calm them when they are aggressive. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips and ways to understand and deal with aggressive dogs – so you don’t have to waste any time wondering in the future.

All breeds can be unpredictable and aggressive. The difference is, however, that an aggressive chihuahua, isn’t as big of a deal as an aggressive pit bull. Aggression in strong breeds is more serious when they are unbalanced than in smaller breeds. It’s important to remember that no dog or breed is just a ‘natural troublemaker’. Dogs act out due to living in circumstances that don’t fulfil or understand some of the dogs needs quite correctly. That’s why it’s crucial to find a dog that fits your family’s lifestyle. More common than not, decreasing aggression in dogs is also hugely impacted by releasing some of your dog’s energy during the day to improve a healthier state of mind.

2. Dogs and Dominance

Having a dog, you are part of a pack, with aggressive dogs, they are testing your authority as a leader of the pack – therefore, it’s important to have a good relationship with your dog that is built on trust, respect and loyalty!

Some Tips:
  • Ensure that your dog is not sick or in pain. If a dog suddenly shows aggression he should be taken to the veterinarian for examination.
  • Get your dog out of the aggressive situation or scenario.
  • Do not raise your voice and try your best to remain calm. Your dogs can pick up on your adrenaline and mood, which might influence and encourage their aggression!
  • Stay dedicated. Don’t give up easily and be prepared to spend time on improving your dog’s behaviour as a long-term solution. Positive reinforcement used during training is more efficient than short, ineffective negative reinforcements.
  • Let them stay alone for a while until they calm down.
  • Do not endanger you or your family members, get professional help from a behaviourist when you are struggling.

3. Types of Aggression

To help calm your dog, it’s important to try and see where the aggression is routed. Knowing what triggers your dog’s aggression, it might be easier to address it or avoid those kinds of interactions in the future. Is the aggression sex-related, social, defensive, fear, predatory, territorial, possessive or maybe protective dog aggression?

Frequently, however, the way you handle an aggressive dog can vastly impact the intensity of your dog’s behaviour.

How to NOT handle an aggressive dog
  • Pain or Discomfort (negative reinforcement)
  • Intimidation
  • Scare Tactics
  • Yelling

At FPC, we’re here to help with #EverythingYourPetNeeds, including advice and techniques on how to make sure all dogs are happy and healthy. Visit FPC for more information on how to make sure you're providing your dog with the necessary environment, energy outlets, feeding requirements and training tools!


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