More than 48 million American households share their space with a dog. Many homes have two dogs, and some have more. For centuries, canines have been man’s best friend and have provided company and protection for people, even going so far as to help with specific jobs.

While most dogs are well-suited to life with their human companions, not all are. Aggressive dogs can cause serious harm to you, your family and anyone else you come across in some situations. Dog aggression can be dealt with, but it takes a lot of training, patience, understanding and caution.
How To Live With an Aggressive Dog-

Aggressive Dog or Aggressive Moment?

Before anything else, it’s essential to ask yourself whether you have an aggressive dog or whether your dog experienced a confrontational moment. For example, an injured dog may lash out when you first try to help it, despite typically being a sweet dog. Dog aggression can be normal after dog fights or an encounter with someone who attempted harm to you or your canine. This is because certain situations trigger your dog’s instincts, and it can take a few moments for it to regulate itself.

If a dog has never shown aggression before but does once in an extenuating circumstance, that doesn’t make it an aggressive dog. However, you’ll still want to follow up with the vet to ensure it isn’t going to become a habit or a dominant personality trait.

Should You Keep an Aggressive Dog?

Before learning to live with an aggressive dog, you should consider whether you’re equipped to handle one. For example, families with small children or other dogs may not be able to handle the needs or dangers of aggressive dogs. Around small children or those with disabilities, dog aggression can be dangerous.

If you decide you can’t keep a dog with aggressive behavior, work with your vet or an animal rescue to find it a fitting home. If you decide aggressive dogs don’t pose a danger to your family members, the tips below can help you learn to live with them.

Identify Aggression Triggers

Pay attention to when your female or male dogs start acting aggressive so you can identify their triggers. For example, fear aggressive dogs will lash out when they’re afraid of something. Territorial aggression arises when dogs feel family members, strangers or other animals have come into an area they believe to be theirs. Thanks to breeding instincts, a male dog may fight other male dogs when a female is in heat nearby. Defensive aggression may happen if the dog feels cornered and is likely to occur after a dog was abused in a previous home. Some dogs may be fine with family members and friends of all ages but react aggressively to the presence of other dogs. You should avoid dog parks with dogs that present aggressive behavior to other dogs.

Fence in Your Backyard

Fencing in your backyard can help when dog aggression only happens against other dogs because it stops your dog from running off to fight. However, some level of territorial aggression, like barking, is normal if someone attempts to enter your fenced-in yard. Be sure to post signs warning people (and owners of other dogs) of your dog’s behavior.

Take Your Dog to the Vet

Sometimes, a dog’s aggression is linked to health problems. For example, if a dog bites when touched in a specific area, it may be suffering from pain. If this is the case, you should teach family members and others to avoid that area. A fearful dog may also have anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can happen after a dog has been abused. Fearful dogs don’t want to be aggressive, but dog bites are one of the few ways they feel they can protect themselves.

Your vet can help determine if mental or physical health problems are causing aggression. If there are identifiable issues, the vet can help by developing a treatment plan that might include medications, therapies or special diets.

Work With a Veterinary Behaviorist

A certified applied animal behaviorist can help your dog with behavior modification training and techniques. This type of training focuses on using positive reinforcement and other methods to correct a dog’s aggression. Although it takes time, this type of training has the potential to correct your dog’s behavior with the help of a trained professional.

Obedience Training

Invest in Obedience Training

Obedience training differs from behavioral therapies, and most aggressive dogs can benefit from both. Obedience training teaches your dog to listen to your commands. You might even be given information on interpreting dog language during sessions. Basic obedience training will teach your dog to walk on a leash, sit, drop items and stay.

More advanced obedience training can teach other skills. For example, head halter training or muzzle training will help your dog feel more comfortable with its mouth confined. This can be especially beneficial if dogs bite or are simply prone to chewing and eating things they aren’t supposed to on walks.

What If Nothing Helps?

If nothing helps with a dog aggression problem, you may need to consider one of two options. You can carefully rehome your dog to someone more skilled at behavior modification. This is the preferred option.

However, there are a few rare instances where severe dog aggression may mean putting the dog down is best — and sometimes, you don’t have a choice in the matter. If dog aggression has led to the death or injury of other dogs or people, local animal welfare enforcement agencies may require you to have the dog put to sleep.

Learn More About Living With Aggressive Dogs

If you want to learn more about living with aggressive dogs, contact The Dog Wizard today at (877) 585-9727. In addition, you can read up on dog aggression behavior therapy and find a certified professional dog trainer near you online.