How do I know if my dog is aggressive? Aggression is the tendency of a subject to act or respond violently with behavior directed toward another individual. That is, it is behavior focused on something specific.
Actually, what is aggressive is not the dog, but its behavior. If we carefully analyze aggressiveness, we quickly realize that it is a mistake to label dogs as aggressive, when what is really aggressive is their behavior.
Components of aggressiveness:
- Intentionality: determining if a dog when attacking another has the intention of hurting it is complex or impossible. Most dogs are dogs that react to stimuli or situations by displaying aggressive behavior.
- Defense instinct: Most dogs that attack do so by activating their defense instinct.
- Emotional maladjustment: in most cases, there is an emotional cause, for example, mismanagement of fear or frustration.
- High levels of stress: Stress plays a leading role in many behavior problems, including aggression.
So when do I consider my dog to be aggressive?
Never. It is important not to label the individual. What we are going to consider is that your dog has aggressive behavior when he shows signs of aggression directed towards other subjects, such as:
- tense and jump
- To bite
How do I correct my dog’s aggressive behavior?
It is important to bear in mind that aggressive behavior can appear for a large number of causes and the first thing we have to do is evaluate the problem to get to the source and establish a behavior modification program with a qualified professional.
However, since we have to go for a walk with our dog and generally deal with its behavior between 2 and 3 times a day, here are 3 tips to give you safety when driving and not take risks with third parties.
3 tips for day-to-day with a dog that shows aggressive behavior
1. Choose the security pack
- The harness: resistant, safe, and from which the dog cannot leave under any circumstances.
- The strap: is in perfect condition and anti-abrasive. In particular cases, two straps may be necessary to prevent in case of failure.
- The muzzle: to avoid bites but allow the dog to pant properly, even eat and drink. Basket muzzles with a feeding opening are the only option. Forget the typical cloth muzzle.
- The bond: the greatest safety point with an aggressive dog is a good social relationship with its handler. Keep in mind that the end of the job will consist of your dog not attacking or reacting to others because you are the one who controls the situation and also does not want to disappoint you.
2. Ride design
- Choose hours with little traffic: too many negative stimuli will cause your dog to increase his stress levels, which could even harm his health.
- Choose broad avenues: distance from what causes aggression will help you manage the original emotion and improve.
- Anticipate turns: the surprise effect that occurs when the problem stimulus appears after a turn makes your dog worse and is a risk to others. Get in front of your dog in turns or open up to the opposite side to gain visibility.
3. Canine Micro Language or precursors of behavior
Surely you have heard many times, people say that dogs warn before attacking.
It could even be that you yourself have seen your dog tense up or turn its tail in a certain way, before lunging at another dog.
These little cues are micro-precursors to the behavior and give away the whole intention of the dog.
If you manage to identify these signals, you will be able to use an alternative behavior (previously trained) at the right time and help your dog to better manage the problematic emotion.
How do I change aggressive behavior?
- Teach alternative behavior: Do it out of the situation, where your dog is attentive and ready to learn.
- Apply it before the aggressive behavior occurs: this is about the intention, right when the first micro signals of the behavior appear.
- Be patient and don’t give up: behavior changes take time, and trust that you are building a solid foundation for change.
- Seek help: there are animal behavior professionals. Learn the criteria for identifying a suitable one in this article.