• Agrression

    Training the Aggressive Dog

    Unfortunately, this is your dog‟s temperament. But the good news you can control it, not eradicate the aggression. Sometimes shy dogs act aggressive to ward away the object that is frightening them but don‟t really want to harm the object, other times there is a bite. Aggressive dogs, on the other hand, hold a certain „prejudice‟ towards strangers (animal or human). In my opinion, no dog that is shy can be taught to be outgoing, nor can an aggressive dog be taught to be friendly. BUT, a dog can be taught to ignore the fear or the object (human or animal) that it wants to be aggressive towards. Through obedience…

  • Agrression

    Good Stress

    There are 2 types of fear biters:  the first type is the dog that is afraid of people and will bite when being touched or handled by a stranger.  The second type is when the dog becomes frightened while being restrained. This same dog is normally a very friendly dog.  Such a fear bite is a direct result of what I call lack of “good stress”.    A few examples of this type of fear bite are: a bite that occurs during a nail clipping or grooming, a bite while they are being examined by a veterinarian or when they become tangled in a leash or caught on a fence by their collar.  These bites occur because the dog anticipates pain even when no pain may occur. …

  • Agrression

    Dealing With Territorial and Protective Aggression

    Dogs are instinctually territorial and protective.  They develop a sense of “ownership” related to places, people, and objects and will view unknown people and animals as “intruders.”  Some dogs are satisfied simply marking their “territory.” Others will respond to intruders by taking an assertive posture, staring, or barking and then assessing the newcomer’s response. If the newcomer shows no aggression, these dogs usually take no further action. At the most extreme end of the spectrum are dogs that take action to defend their places, people, and belongings even if there is no actual threat. Dogs that growl, snarl, or lunge without first posturing, staring, and waiting are exhibiting territorial and/or protective aggression. This extreme response is inappropriate and dangerous.   When a Threat is Not a Threat. . .   Protective behavior (directed at…

  • Agrression

    Training the Fearful Dog

    When training dogs, we must sometimes teach them to overcome an instinctive response—such as chasing fast moving objects or animals. When working with a fearful dog, however, it is often the human handler’s instinctive response that must be overcome! Humans, like most mammals, have an instinctive response to sounds of distress. It can be difficult to overcome that instinctive response, especially when the whimpering and whining is coming from your own beloved dog. You want to relieve his distress, but with a fearful dog, the wrong kind of attention will actually prolong or increase his distress.   One of the most common mistakes people make is petting and fussing over a nervous, anxious, or fearful dog. You think you are reassuring your dog with solicitous attention, but in fact, you are reinforcing his fear.   The…

  • Agrression

    Bite Inhibition

    Bite Inhibition is defined as the ability of a dog to control the pressure of the bite in order to cause minimal or no damage.  In my opinion the definition of bite inhibition should include the option of leaving or the dog removing himself from the situation should he feel the need to bite.    Bite Inhibition with Puppies:  Bite inhibition is usually taught by the Dam.  Initially, a puppy that feeds to rough or hard soon realizes that the ‘meal’ will walk away. Eventually, the mother will grab a puppy that feeds too hard to get her point across.  The same happens with litter mates, playing too hard and the other puppy no longer…

  • Agrression

    Dealing With Dominance

    The word “dog” covers an amazingly wide range of sizes, types, and temperaments.  Throughout history, humans have valued different characteristics in dogs depending on the role they want the dog to fulfill.  For example, dogs used for guarding property, livestock, and their human companions were bred to be big, strong, and assertive because these traits made them good at their intended work.  These same traits sometimes result in a breed, or a dog within the breed, being labeled as innately aggressive. In fact, dogs with dominant temperaments are not naturally aggressive. When   problems with apparent aggression occur, it is usually because of inadequate socialization, careless interaction with other dogs and people, or a lack of training and leadership.   Starting Right  It is important with all dogs to socialize them when they are young, but with breeds that…

  • Agrression

    Biting

    If you have a dog in your life, you know that domestic dogs retain some of the instincts and impulses of their canine ancestors:  “If it moves, chase it! If it stinks, roll in it! If you want to claim it, pee on it!”  These behaviors, which serve their wild counterparts well, are generally frowned upon in the world that domestic dogs share with people.  While some holdover behaviors are mere annoyances, a dog’s urge to use its teeth is a serious issue that must be addressed immediately and with no equivocation.    All Bites are Not Created Equal   As canines grow and interact with others, they develop “bite inhibition,” which is the ability to adjust the intensity of a bite for different situations. They learn to distinguish…

  • Agrression

    WHY DOGS BITE

     Dogs generally bite for one of three reasons.  Dominance or Territory The dog sees you as an intruder and bites to control or protect his property.  Fear The dog sees you as a threat and bites to protect himself.  Predatory Instinct The dog perceives you as prey and bites you as the logical end to the hunt or the chase.   Of course, when you are threatened with a dog bite, you generally don’t care why the dog wants to bite you. You just want to avoid being bitten. However, understanding what motivates dogs to bite can help you protect yourself from dog bites.  There are a few obvious ways to avoid a dog bite.    Don’t approach or touch a dog that is sleeping, eating, or chewing a bone.  Don’t approach or touch a…

  • Agrression

    Excitement and Aggression

    I am often called to consult on a particular type of canine aggression—an excited dog suddenly becomes aggressive and bites. To the people involved, it seems as if the bite comes “out of the blue.” However, the bite only seems surprising if we assume that dogs process excitement in the same way that people do. They don’t.   From a human perspective, excitement reflects happiness, anticipation, and fun. However, for many dogs, and especially dominant dogs, excitement is much closer to anxiety and agitation than joy. The physiological and mental effects of excitement are almost identical to those experienced when the dog is under stress.  Physically, excitement causes a dog’s body to decrease production of serotonin (a hormone vital to impulse control) and increase production of cortisol—also called the “stress hormone.” All dogs produce some cortisol all the time, as it functions in regulating energy…

  • Agrression

    What to Do When Your Dog Challenges Your Leadership

    Many canines live in social groups. Although domestic dogs do not live in actual “packs” like their wild ancestors, dogs do instinctively look for their place in the hierarchy of a group. Most dogs look for a leader to follow. Their instincts tell them that their survival depends on a strong leader. In your home, you should obviously be the leader of the social group to which your dog belongs. Nonetheless, there will be times when your dog challenges your leadership. It is vital that you quickly and decisively demonstrate that your leadership is not up for grabs. Your sanity, your dog’s security, and the safety of you both depend on your ability to be…