If your dog growls, lunges, snaps or shows her teeth, knowing how to stop dog aggression is essential to protect you and anyone else who comes into contact with her. Types of dog aggression include territorial, predatory, possessive, fear-related, defensive and social. Discovering what’s causing your dog’s behavior is the first step towards dealing with it.
- Take your dog to the vet. Severe pain, conditions such as thyroid problems, senility in senior dogs, diet or certain medications can cause aggressive behavior. Your vet can examine your dog and look for a medical cause behind her aggression. If one is found, discuss treatment options and follow the vet’s instructions closely to help your dog get better.
- Determine what triggers your dog’s aggression. If your vet rules out medical causes, keep track of situations, people or objects that seem to set off your dog’s aggressive behavior. If you can pinpoint what the trigger is, try to avoid placing your dog in that type of situation or keep her away from people or objects that seem to provoke her until you can get professional help.
- Find a professional behavior expert. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who’s qualified to work with aggressive dogs, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Provide as much detail as possible about your dog’s behavior and what seems to trigger it. A professional can work towards modifying and improving your dog’s behavior.
- Never attempt behavior modification techniques on your own. Handling aggressive dogs is complicated and dangerous. Some techniques can make a dog’s behavior worse if done the wrong way. Always work with a professional.
- Don’t assume that your dog will never exhibit any aggressive behavior after he’s been through successfully treated or trained. Stay alert and limit your dog’s exposure to whatever was causing him aggression in the first place.