Aggressive Dog Training
Aggressive Dog Training – Is your dog becoming aggressive??
Aggressive Dog Problems Explained:
Below we will explain each type of aggression in more detail and our approaches. Please keep in mind that if your dog is showing signs of aggression the earlier we are able to address it the better. The longer you wait to address it the worse it will get and the harder (and more expensive) it will be to get under control.
If your dog is showing ANY signs of aggression please call us today at 918-991-8634
Aggressive behavior in whatever form it takes is usually:
- Learned behavior
- Genetic linked behavior
- Protective behavior
There are a few main types of aggression that we deal with:
- Dominance Aggression
- Fear Aggression
- Territorial / Possessive / Resource Guarding Aggression
- People Aggression
- Dog Aggression
Here at Tip Top K9 we have worked tons of aggressive dogs. From german shepherds to pitbulls to rottweilers to great danes and even golden doodles! Some are territorial, some are possessive of toys or food, some very fearful, some attack people, some attack dogs, some attack anything and everything. Training aggressive dogs and hard to control dogs is one of our specialties and this page will go into more details on what we see and how we approach it.
When it comes to aggression some dogs through training we are able to FIX and some we are only able to CONTROL. The difference needs to be understood because it leads to a different level of expectations from our clients.
- FIXED aggression – which means we are able to teach you canine companion right from wrong behavior and teach them that those aggressive behaviors are not appropriate and further reinforce it in a way that the dog understands. Then the dog, being a pack animal, falls in line and no longer exhibits those behaviors as the dog understand that their leader has prohibited them. This normally can take anywhere from a week to 2-6 months of reinforcement to fix.
Normally with fixable problems results start being seen in a week or two. If the dog has been exhibiting aggressive behaviors for 2 years though then 2 weeks of not exhibiting them isn’t going to fix the issue but it will start to get the aggression under control and curb it for sure! Some dogs that have had issues for awhile take longer periods of reinforcement.
- CONTROLLED aggression – which means the dog understands right from wrong behavior but the dog’s drive for the certain behavior is so strong that it will not exhibit self control unless its leader is right there forcing it to.
Example Problem – Little Johnny eats cookies before dinner when mom isn’t looking.
Solution – Mommy has taught Little Johnny who is a 5 year old child to not eat cookies before dinner.
2 Possible outcomes:
Fixed – Little Johnny doesn’t eat cookies because he knows mommy doesn’t allow it
Controlled – Little Johnny doesn’t eat cookies because mommy is in the room and he knows he’ll get in trouble. But if mommy leaves the room little Johnny will run for the cookies and eat them as fast as he can.
The difference in these two examples depends on the kid. If the little kids drive is high enough for cookies he may take a spanking if he values the cookies enough.
As humorous as this may seem this is how dogs are. Most dogs are mentally and emotionally the same as 5-7 year old children. Some 5-7 year old children are better than others but at the end of the day they are all children and still need some parental guidance to make a lifetime of good decisions.
Learned behavior vs. genetic behavior vs. protective behavior:
Most dog aggression that our trainers see is either learned behavior which means the dog learned to do it as a response to something happening in its life. Or the aggression is linked to the genetics that were passed onto it by mommy and daddy. Or the aggression is from the dog being a protector breed either doing their job or thinking they need to do their job because they sense mom or dad’s anxiety (Rottweiler, Belgian Malinois, Doberman, German Shepherd, Cane Corso, and others). Or some mixture of all 3.
Aggression as a learned behavior – multiple common scenarios we have seen:
- Dog is scared of people and snarls or growls a little and the people go away. Dog learns that if it is threatened and they show aggression then the threat goes away. Slowly overtime this grows and as the dog gains confidence they show more and more aggression if the perceived threat does not back away.
- Dog is jumped by another dog and attacked and is now not sure that other dogs are good and wants to attack other dogs first, the dog learns that if it shows aggression it is left alone.
- Dog is handled too roughly by a bad owner and learns it has to bite and be aggressive in order to be left alone.
- Dog learns that if it growls people won’t take its toys or bones away.
What all these common scenarios have in common is something that is negative or something perceived as negative happens to the dog and the dog LEARNS a way to make the perceived negative stop. This type of aggression is easier to work with as we can teach the dog another, more appropriate way to handle pressure and un-learn the dog’s learned behavior to a perceived negative.
Aggression as a genetic behavior – multiple common scenarios we have seen:
- Daddy dog was a fighting Pitbull – puppies are very dog and human aggressive as young as 4-5 months old
- Momma dog was a German Shepherd that was aggressive, unstable and neurotic and her puppies are aggressive and neurotic starting as young as 4-5 months old
- Momma Pitbull was a very dog aggressive dog, momma dog died after giving birth and the family bottle fed the dogs and kept just one. That puppy became super dog aggressive as early as 6 months old even though it never saw this behavior in momma dog
- Belgian Malinois at 8 months old would resource guard, hunker down over a leash, toy, ball bone, etc and guard it and bite anyone who would come close to it, his dad was a mondio ring ring dog that was bred with very defensive drives
- South African Boerbel (mastiff) – was very good with the family and with the kids but would corner strangers or guests in the house and not let them leave and would charge to attack any other dog or person that came close to the kids if they were outside.
These are all real examples that we have seen and what all of these above examples have in common is that these dogs all have aggressive behaviors because of their genetics. Dogs bred to fight are bred from very aggressive dogs. Just like mental disorders and alcoholism can be passed down through human DNA and can be traced genetically, so can aggression in dogs. Belgian Malinois for example can be bred from dogs that have very, very protective and territorial natures. South African Boerbels are a dog that if you look up you will see the breed standard is wary of strangers and protective of family.
And Pitbulls! At Tip Top K9 we love Pitbulls and we train tons of great pits. Most have no genetic predispositions to aggression and they train with no issues but are simply phenomenal dogs. But the ones we train that are bred out of fighting dog parents or bred from really dog aggressive dogs are always really hard dogs to train.
When the aggressive behavior stems from genetics it is really hard to fix the problem. We can help you control the dog but the aggression will most likely never be fixed but only under control while you are right there to help the dog through the situation.
We would be more than happy to send a trainer out to your house to professional assess your dog. Rest assured that after over 2500 dogs we have seen all types of behavior and more than likely have seen something very close to what your dog is exhibiting. Let us come out and see what we can do to help. Give us a call today 918-991-8634.
Aggression as a protective behavior – most common scenarios we see played out over and over:
- German Shepherd senses mom being nervous and goes into protective behavior when other dogs approach – really mom is nervous about how her German Shepherd is going to react to the other dog but her dog picks up the anxiety and feels the need to protect mom.
- A different German Shepherd senses mom’s or children’s social anxiety or discomfort around stranger and becomes very reactive when in public and sees new people. The dog is again picking up on the owner’s anxiety and feeling the need to protect them.
- Dog runs fence line and is very aggressive towards anyone outside the fence
- Dog attacks windows or front door when strangers are outside
In the first two scenarios both of these become self fulfilling prophecies in that the more anxious people get around dogs or people the more protective and aggressive their dog gets. Which just makes the people even more nervous and more uncomfortable; which makes the dog more and more aggressive thinking it needs to protect the people!
This is a vicious cycle but all it takes is some solid obedience training in the dog and then a few weeks to a month of teaching the owner how to properly handle the dog in public. Once the dog’s owner has confidence that the dog will listen then the dog can be taught to quiet instead of barking or growling and sit or down stay instead of going into protective behaviors that are not actually required.
The 2nd to behaviors are pretty normal in any breed of dog! The dogs are just protecting their humans and their territory. These are very easy to fix.
This is the easiest of aggressive behaviors of us to fix in dogs, sometimes the human training requires a bit more time but don’t worry we are patient with dogs and the owners too! If this sounds like you and your dog please give us a call today at 918-991-8634.
There are a few main types of aggression that we deal with:
- Dominance Aggression – when a dog shows aggression as a means of controlling and dominating others and or getting its way, normally seen in very big and strong, highly dominant dogs
- Fear Aggression – when a dog is scared of other dogs or people and is showing teeth, growling or biting out of fear to try to make a perceived threat to them go away
- Territorial / Possessive / Resource Guarding Aggression – when a dog is either guarding a house or perimeter such as a fence line or when a dog is possessive over toys or food and shows aggression to make others leave their toys or food alone
- People Aggression – when a dog shows aggression towards people
- Dog Aggression – when a dog shows aggression towards other dogs
How we deal with these issues is by bringing a lot of control into these situations.
To handle the majority of these types of aggression we need four VERY solid commands that our dog does 100% of the time, no matter what is going on and no matter who is around.
4 main commands for aggressive dog training:
- Come – 100% of the time
- Place – Doggie time out on a box or dog bed
- Quiet – Quit barking, whining, growling
- Off – Leave it or ignore command
Pick any aggressive scenario you want:
- Dog want to bite mail man
- Dog wants to attack another dog
- Dog wants to bite owner over a dog bone
First, if we train your dog to “Come” 100% of the time we can remove your dog from the situation.
Next, if we train your dog to “Place” we can control your dog and teach them how to properly handle pressure by making them go sit or down on a box or dog bed and this also keeps them safe from making a mistake. (And we do this even while their dog brain is going crazy!)
Third, we stop any aggressive barking or growling with a “Quiet” command.
Fourth, we stop the dog from giving the “stink eye” or making aggressive eye contact, we teach an “Off” command and redirect the dog from even looking at whatever the problem was.
This might sound impossible for some dogs but we can reliably do this in 2-4 weeks with most dogs and get them to “Come”, “Off”, “Place”, and “Quiet” even with distractions of other dogs and people.
If this is something you are dealing with please give us a call today 918-991-8634.