Dazzle Dog Delight Posting Page
Monday, August 30, 2010
The conversation around aggressive dog training is as controversial as it is complex.  There are two key factors to understanding aggression in dogs: 1) there are multiple types of dog aggression that require different types of dog training methods and 2) the human tendency to anthropomorphize dogs leads to misunderstanding and the misapplication of many dog training techniques.  The most common forms of aggression in dogs are: dog-to-dog aggression, dog-to-human aggression, fear aggression, dog food aggression, and possession aggression.  Each of these are separate issues (though the resulting behaviors can look the same to the human eye) requiring different solutions.  Also, a dog jockeying for status or asserting his or her dominance is not necessarily displaying aggression, even though the accompanying barking or growling may make it appear so to a concerned owner.

Aggressive behavior dog training, then, must begin with an understanding of the root cause of your dog’s aggression.  Dogs do not show signs of aggression for the same reasons people do; nor do they react to external stimuli in the same ways people do.  For example, if you return home late from work and your dog barks and growls at you it might be almost automatic to think, “Oh, I came home late and he’s mad at me.”  But this is a very human interpretation of a canine behavior.  Dogs are very black-and-white creatures: they know safe and unsafe, stressed and relaxed, stable and unstable, etc.  The notion of punishing a human for hurting his feelings does not figure in to dog psychology.

The answer, then, is never as simple as buying a dog training leash and yanking away until your dog behaves respectfully.  In fact, this practice will almost certainly cause more harm and exacerbate the situation.  An understanding of the dog training tools that are relevant to your dog’s specific form of aggression will yield effective training that is satisfying to both dog and owner alike.  While there are many dog training techniques that can be researched and carried out by a conscientious owner, it is important to note that if your dog is biting people, or you or your family feel afraid to be around your dog, it is vital you contact a certified dog trainer for professional assistance.

Resources:
private interview with leading California certified dog trainer


by Joy Randel

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by: Dazzle Dog Delight

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