There is nothing more terrifying then a dog that shows aggression and acts on his/her aggression towards their owner. In many cases these incidents end up with the owner going to the hospital and the dog being put to sleep (putting a dog to sleep should be the absolute last resort). Many dogs that are put to sleep could have easily been rehabilitated with the correct training and proper owner education/awareness.
The first step in the right direction is understanding how a dominant dog thinks and what/how he/she thinks about the owner or handler. Even more importantly is understanding a dogs pack-drive. Pack-drive is the strongest gene programmed in a dog. Starting for the moment the puppy is born they are constantly exploring their boundaries and relationships while trying to find their place in the pack. A dominant dog, no doubt, thinks he/she is above the owner in the pack. In some cases the dog KNOWS he/she is higher in rank. This is dangerous! Somewhere, probably in many different places, the owner hasn't properly structured the pack which leads the dog to believe that the pack-lead position is open for try outs. This is when a dog will physically challenge the owner for a higher rank in the pack.
The best way to deal with dominant and handler-aggressive dogs is to structure the pack and create rules and boundaries from the day you bring the pup/dog home so that the dog never BECOMES dominant and aggressive (a dog doesn't simply become dominant and aggressive over night). Small and subtle exercises can go a long way. For instance:
- Walking through doorways first
- Eating first then feeding the dog
- Disallowing the dog to sleep on the bed
- Giving and taking toys away, avoid leaving toys laying around
Executing these exercises on a consistent and daily basis will help clarify his/her rank in the pack order.
Proper obedience training, which include four phases (learning, correction, distraction and maintenance), is one of the best ways (but not the only way) to establish and separate yourself as the leader. This also will help reinforce the owners leadership roll on a daily basis. When owners train their dogs to truly listen to basic obedience commands the dog begins to understand his/her proper place in the pack, which is below the owner.
If you are reading this because your dog is already aggressive or is becoming aggressive please contact us immediately.