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How Do I Train My Dog to Be Less Aggressive?

When a dog starts to show signs of aggression, it can be difficult for the owner. Fast action to stop and reverse the behavior, however, is important. The moment you start to notice violent tendencies such as food aggression, growling, snapping, or biting, there are steps you can take to stop the behaviors – before you face a lawsuit for your dog biting someone in Riverside. Use these tips and tricks to train your dog to be less aggressive.

#1. Prevent Aggression From the Onset

It is often possible to prevent violent and aggressive tendencies from ever appearing in your dog, especially if you get your pet as a puppy. The owner must understand a dog’s growth periods and factors during development that can lead to aggressive behaviors. There are critical periods of canine socialization from three weeks of age to 14 weeks. During this time, puppies require socialization with homes, people, and other dogs and animals. At eight to 10 weeks old, puppies can grow fearful. At this time, do not harshly discipline the dog and handle it gently. By the time dogs reach 14 weeks old, the owners should ensure properly socialization for them to be trustworthy around others.

#2. Recognize Factors That Influence Aggressive Behavior

Sometimes a dog will be aggressive regardless of training or upbringing. Certain breeds have genetic and hereditary factors that may play a role in aggression. Protective breeds like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and pit bulls tend to be more aggressive than dogs like golden retrievers. Some owners will bred certain kinds of dogs, like terriers, to kill small game. Many dogs will retain these characteristics naturally, regardless of training. Environment, excessive punishment, and being attacked themselves can also influence aggressive tendencies in dogs.

#3. Rule Out any Illnesses

If your dog suddenly shows signs of aggression without any obvious reason, your dog may have a medical problem that’s causing the behavior. There are several canine diseases and health problems  that can cause aggression, including injuries and chronic pain. Take your dog to a veterinarian to check for any health problems that may have caused the sudden violent behaviors like hyperthyroidism, for example. Getting treatment or medication for your dog could stop the problem.

#4. Get a Handle on Dominance-Related Aggression

In many cases, canine aggression happens when the dog wants to show dominance over another animal or person. You may need a professional dog behaviorist or trainer to help you fix dominance-related violence. Keep an eye for subtle signs of dominance, such as growling or guarding food dishes early on. Recognizing these behaviors and quickly correcting them can prevent dog bites that appear to happen “for no reason.” The reason is that the dog has held an alpha position in the household, and uses aggression to keep this position.

#5. Reverse it with Positive Reinforcement

Never use excessive force or punishment to rid your dog of aggressive tendencies. If anything, brutal methods can encourage violence, dominance, and fear-driven aggression in your dog. Instead, seek a trainer who uses the least amount of force necessary to control your dog. Reversing aggression takes identifying things that trigger the behavior and preventing triggers from occurring.

Reward submissive behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, rolling over, and licking. In the right circumstances, aggressive dogs can successfully retrain. However, in some cases dogs may never be trustworthy around other people or animals. Know your dog and do everything in your power to prevent attacks and bites.

If you do find that you or a loved one was injured by a dog because of negligence, contact the Riverside dog bite injury attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP. Get a free consultation today! (951) 543-9020 

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