How to Train Aggressive Dog

by Cindy
(Charlestown RI)

My dog is overprotective of her mom. My dog barks and rushes when anyone enters the house - even people who she is familiar with. She growls at my husband when he comes home. How do I put a stop to this. She is an otherwise very well mannered dog that obeys commands.

How to train aggressive dog - Editor Suggestions

Dear Cindy,

We get many reader questions regarding how to train aggressive dog.

Aggressive behavior in dogs is caused by several reasons. Such behavior is characterized by barking, growling, attacking, biting etc. Different forms of canine aggressive behavior such as as food, fear, protective, territorial, play, predatory and possessive aggressions etc have been identified in dogs.

Aggressive dog behavior can build over time. Ignoring your commands can lead to a dog becoming even more confident in becoming defiant. Growls can quickly lead to bites.

To treat aggression in dogs, it is always recommended that the exact cause of the aggression be identified carefully. Plus the approach used to resolve the issue should be polite and proper, otherwise an aggressive dog can cause damage or harm to the owner, their family or visitors.

Most probably, your dog seems to be showing canine protective aggression behaviors. This is often the result of one or more of the following reasons:

1. A dog is receiving mixed signals regarding the proper way to behave.
2. When a dog is not given enough attention by all members of the family
3. Excessive confinement when family members and visitors are in the house and then by spending more time with family members such as your husband

So, you can start by paying more attention to and by spending more time with your dog. Also, make sure that you strictly prohibit her from growling and barking whenever someone enters home. You should do it by keeping a distance from her and after stating a strict “No!”, move to another room to show your dog that you disapprove. Offer some treats if your dog responds positively. A good popular dog training reward is Pet Botanics Rolled Meat.

Similarly, your husband should offer some treats and affection to her, whenever he returns, but make sure he does not get to close to the dog, as this can be risky. Be particularly careful if your dog is growling at your husband, as this is a sure sign of trouble to come. Detailed instructions follow using the "say hello" method.

How to train aggressive dog over this type of behavior is to teach your dog to greet anyone that enters the room. You do this with the command "say hello" every time you walk up to someone entering the room. Be sure to do this with your dog on a lead, so that you are always in control. Have your husband (better a family member), stand sideways to the dog and avoid eye contact with the
dog. Have your guest hold out a treat to the side. Approach the guest with your dog and act friendly to the guest. Keep on repeating this behavior until your dog can't wait to greet a guest. Repeat the "say hello" command each time so your dog associates the command with the happy occasion of greeting a new person and getting a treat. The "say hello" command will soon be able to be used for any stranger.

Socialization is a key part of dealing with aggression. Having family members spend time with your dog is important. They should also frequently use commands when addressing your dog. Take your dog for walks and be sure to expose her to other dogs and people, when she is ready. Don't do this if the aggressive behavior is a threat to others.

Do not hit your dog. Hitting may cause an equal aggressive reaction from your dog. If your dog obeys after hitting, it is just teaching her to be fearful of you.

It may also be the case that you are sending the opposite signal to your dog regarding what is acceptable behavior. Since your dog spends time with you, she probably feels protective of you. When your husband enters the room, you probably try and reassure your dog that your husband is ok. This could actually be interpreted as praise for the aggressive behavior.

Try and use clear commands throughout the day vs. just when your dog misbehaves. Your dog needs to clearly understand where she stands in the household "pack." The frequent use of command reinforcement will get her used to obeying.

Resolving aggression is a difficult task. You can try it yourself or consult a professional trainer who can provide advice for how to train an aggressive dog.

Remember, if you feel that your dog is behaving excessively aggressive, we'd suggest avoiding any situation where there is some risk of harm to a person. Better to consult a professional trainer or veterinarian, since your dog might need to be treated with behavioral medicine.

Natural remedies on other hand can provide some support by keeping your dog calm and the nervous system healthy and active. These could help to enhance the results of your aggressive dog training efforts. There are two types of natural remedies available to help with dog behavior.

One type of natural product addresses dog aggressive behavior by naturally relaxing the dog, which makes takes the edge off of aggressive behavior. It is called Aggression Formula.

Another type addresses destructive dog behavior and temperament and is called Problem Pet Solution. Ingredients are selected to help support a positive response to dog training commands.

Both will help the aggressive dog training process. Remember, they are only for added support, they are not a substitute for the dog training itself.

You should try those along with aggressive dog training. Please keep us up to date on your dog's progress.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Behavior.