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Is Your Dog Aggressive? What You Should Do

Apr 20, 2008
No matter where you live, you may run into dog aggression, and it may be caused by your dog. Sometimes it is between two dogs, whether neighbors or dogs in the same household. Sometimes it involves a dog attacking or biting a human, all too often a child. This article will give you three things you can do if you are dealing with an aggressive dog in your family. It will also provide you with a link to a resource that has much more information on this stressful situation.

First, arrange your dog's living quarters so he and everyone around him is safe. This means the dog, of course, but it also means all the humans and pets in your family, as well as any other dogs or people that the dog might encounter.

If your dog is already used to a crate, you can use it as part of your plan to manage where he is. If he is not accustomed to a crate, you can try teaching him to use it, by enticing him in with food or dog toys, but be sure that he is okay in it before you leave him alone. Even then, devise a way to check on how he is doing, such as looking in a window. Don't just dump him in the thing for hours on end, or he may injure himself or do damage to the crate. You can't leave him in it for many hours.

If you are not using a crate, consider enclosing the dog in some part of your home, whether a dog kennel in your yard or a less-used room in your house. This is a good plan in addition to a crate, as well. If your problem is between two dogs you own, at least at first you will want to have them well separated. One door between them may be okay, but two doors makes it much easier for you to get around.

The second step is to have a good veterinary exam for your dog. It may be that your dog is in pain or has some other physical condition that led to his bad temper. If so, once you get it solved, the aggressiveness itself may cease. If your veterinarian finds nothing, then you know that anyway.

Third, begin writing down short notes about the aggressive incident and what has happened since. Use a little notepad or some paper that you can keep in a convenient place, so it's easy to make these notes. If you try to go back after a few days to reconstruct what happened, you may find that your memory is a bit unreliable about the timing and other details. This is normal, and all the more so when a situation is stressful. But these scribbles will have a place as you begin to create some new habits for training the dog and managing the situation.

Longer-term planning is the next step, or actually several steps. It may not be easy, but there have been studies done which show that when people who have an aggressive dog are diligent about care and training, the future is much rosier for the dog and all around him.
About the Author
Visit Rosana Hart's lengthy article on aggressive dogs, Nine Tips If Your Dog Becomes Aggressive. You can also visit the section in her blog on dog aggression for more.
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