Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Dealing with Dog Aggression
When you have a dog that just cannot handle other people or other dogs, then you might be wondering how to socialize an aggressive dog. See, socializing an aggressive dog is kind of a tricky statement because I don’t think it means what you think it means.
When people speak of socializing an aggressive dog, they often mean turning it loose with other dogs, or that is their goal. Many people tell me that they take their dog aggressive dog to the dog park so that he can learn to get along with all dogs.
I’d just like to say, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.” I want my aggressive dog, or my client’s aggressive dog, to simply learn to coexist with his trigger in the environment without any aggressive display. My current Malinois doesn’t like people, and he doesn’t really like other dogs, but you can’t tell that by looking at him.
I have taught him “coping mechanisms” around things he doesn’t like. He doesn’t need to go into an aggressive display. I recognize when he is uncomfortable, and I relieve his stress by giving him something to do and think about. He also trusts me not to stress him out.
For instance, I wouldn’t toss him in a dog park and expect him to socialize, and I don’t force him to allow people to pet him. If I did those things, I would have a dog who couldn’t trust me. Then his only coping mechanism would be aggression and using his teeth. After all, he can’t talk and tell me, or others, how he is feeling.
I must get familiar with his body language and levels of stress, and work together to decrease them, not make them worse. So, stop forcing your dog to do things he doesn’t want to do when it comes to socialization.
If he is growling, snarling, hackling, lunging, and trying to get away, trust what he is trying to tell you: HE IS UNCOMFORTABLE.