Can an Aggressive Dog be Cured Once and for All?
You adopted a cute adult dog from the local shelter. You love him to bits but he can be quite the task, thanks to his aggressive behaviour. From biting your strangers to bullying other dogs to growling and snarling, he has become tough to handle.
Despite your best efforts of having him trained by the best behavioural trainers, things are not changing. Now, you are afraid of taking him on walks, going to the dog park, or letting him loose when there are strangers at home.
An aggressive dog is not a very desirable dog to have. If you own one, you must be driving yourself insane trying to come up with ideas of stopping the behaviour. You have probably asked yourself whether there’s a permanent cure for dog aggression or not. In this guide, we will seek to answer this question.
Signs of Dog Aggression
When the words ‘canine aggression’ is mentioned, what immediately comes to mind is a dog that bites. Granted, that is the common sign of an aggressive pooch but there are subtle yet serious signs that will help you know whether your dog is aggressive or not. Ideally, your pup’s body language will tell you a lot as far as aggression is concerned. Some of the common signs include:
- Biting (from snipping to intense bites)
- Barging through doors
- Demanding of attention
- Stiff body posture
- Protecting sleep area
- Punching people with the nose
- Baring the teeth
- Ears pinned back
Knowing the body language displayed by your dog will help you understand the origin of the problem. Dogs generally don’t become aggressive from the blues. Often, it is because of fear, pain, illness, improper socialization, lack of training, territory protection, and establishing dominance.
Can Aggression Be Cured?
Harbouring an aggressive dog is a risky affair. Not only do you compromise the danger of your family members, neighbours, and strangers but you also put the dog at risk. Plus, you increase the chance of having to hire a dog bite lawyer to defend you in case of a lawsuit.
According to ASPCA, dog aggression cannot be cured in the sense of the word. Most times, the probable solution is to manage the issue. Pet parents can do this by controlling the trigger situations. For example, if your pup becomes bloodthirsty and aggressive when he sees other dogs, consider limiting interactions. If he tends to develop fear aggression during meal times, find ways to separate your pups from eating together.
Unfortunately, many behavioural trainers make empty promises about curing aggression. They will give you a guarantee that if you hire them, they will get rid of the problem once and for all. When you are desperate for something positive, you can fall for the lies. However, realize that this is nothing but a marketing gimmick for a whole lot of them.
What To Do
As mentioned, the best treatment for aggression is not curing it but rather controlling it. There are a few things you can do to achieve this:
- Determine the reason for the behaviour
We cannot stress this enough. Your first line of defense concerning canine aggression is to get to the root cause. Although the reasons for aggression span wide, most canines get aggressive because of pain and fear. Ideally, if your Fido develops the behaviour all of a sudden, there’s a high likelihood that he’s sick or in pain.
You might want to have him checked by the vet to diagnose the issue and hopefully, treat it. However, if your baby is acting out of fear, you need a reputable behavioural trainer to train him. You can tell this by how your pup behaves when he sees other animals in the park or the vet’s office. When a stranger approaches the house, he may also exhibit aggressive behaviour.
- Socialize the puppy
With the help of a dog behaviourist, organize supervised visits to the dog park. Encourage your dog to play and interact with other dogs. Make sure the other dogs are calm and well-mannered to avoid the breakout of war.
- Treat your dog right
An aggressive dog makes it hard to love, cuddle, and play with. However, you want to try your best to be a kind and supportive pet parent no matter what. Use positive reinforcement during training. Avoid hitting the dog, shouting at him, using intimidation as a tool, and isolating the poor dog in a bid to punish him.
- Neuter or spay
Hormone aggression can be taken care of by spaying or neutering the doggie. If you haven’t done so already, plan on it. It will make a huge difference for sure.
Can an aggressive dog be cured once and for all? The genuine answer is no. However, the behaviour can be managed to a greater extent. The secret lies in finding out the origin of the problem. From there, you can devise a strategy of keeping the behaviour at bay.