If you’re discovering aggressive behavioural changes in your dog, it is important to understand the possible reasons behind these changes and learn how you can correct them instantly. Read on for help identifying the source of aggression and some informed steps to overcome it.
Forms of Canine Aggression
When a dog feels restrained, uncomfortable or endangered in a situation, they will often react with leash lunging and displays of dominance. In unleashed circumstances, a dog would be able to identify a potential threat and place enough distance between themselves and the source of fear. However, when restrained and incapable of creating this distance, they will react defensively in hopes of scaring away the threat. If this behaviour is reinforced by successfully creating that distance, they are very likely to repeat these actions.
Identify the cause of this discomfort and begin desensitising your dog to the distraction. Place emphasis on giving your dog something else to do immediately instead of resorting to punishment. Using positive reinforcement will ensure comfort for both the dog and owner in this situation.
Frustration and Social Aggression
Dogs will often take turns in asserting dominance and making territorial claims. If two dogs assert leadership at the same time, it’s very likely to end in fighting. Also, when a dog is prevented from doing something they desire or are forced to behave differently, they will become frustrated and direct aggression toward the nearest living thing.
Genetic Predisposition to Aggression
Some dogs are naturally predisposed to behave aggressively; this will become more apparent as the animal ages. In this case, quality canine training courses will assist you in stifling this behaviour and making long-term corrections.
Territorial and Predatory Aggression
In an attempt to guard or defend their space, dogs show territorial aggression such as barking and lunging at fences, windows or new people. In a similar vein, chasing smaller dogs, cats or young children shows predatory aggression driven by the animal’s instinctive desire to hunt.
Overcoming Aggressive Behavioural Changes in Dogs
Reinforce Calm Behaviour
If your dog begins barking or lunging when approaching other animals, turn around and force them to walk away with you. If they will not calm down, take them home. Remember that a dog will repeat allowed behaviour and this can undo a lot of basic training. Consistently introducing adolescent puppies to well-behaved adult dogs will reinforce positive, learned behaviour.
Many owners attempt to correct their dog’s behaviour by forcing them to sit or lie down in the path of other dogs. This only teaches your animal that other dogs and people cause negative and dangerous situations that they must submit to. You must distract your dog with positive stimuli. Allowing them to play with a favourite toy in these circumstances will make your dog associate others with enjoyable feelings.
Seek Professional Assistance
Initiating professional training early will ensure you do not witness aggressive behavioural changes in your dog. You can also undertake a dog obedience course so you’re fully equipped to prevent negative behaviours within your home.
For any further behavioural enquiries, contact NDTF online or call 1300 66 44 66.