Home Dog Training Best Training For An Aggressive Dog: 6 Tips

Best Training For An Aggressive Dog: 6 Tips

A dog's aggression is one of the most common behavioral reasons that pet owners seek veterinary care. 

It is also the number one reason dogs are surrendered to or returned to animal shelters. 

Training an aggressive dog should not be done without the help of a professional dog trainer. Still, some of these aggressive dog training tips can help you.

It is estimated that approximately 4.3 million people are bitten by dogs yearly. You DO NOT want to add to this statistic. 

No matter how much you feel you trust your dog, he cannot be fully trusted if he shows signs of aggression.

When it comes to your dog's behavioral problems, minimizing the risks associated with an aggressive dog is essential.

It's of utmost importance for pet owners to understand what exactly aggression in dogs means, its causes, and ways to avoid and modify aggressive behavior in dogs.

My 6 Best Aggressive Dog Training Tips

Aggressive Dog Training Tips and No Punishment

No Punishment, Ever

Aggressive dog or not, use positive reinforcement and positive reinforcement only. 

Use clear, strong commands that your dog is familiar with. 

Be calm and reassuring. 

Give the dog praise and positive reinforcement when your pup behaves properly.

For example: let's say your dog is aggressive toward another animal in your home. 

When he chases, barks, or growls at that animal, use a clear and strong command for him to “Stop!” or “Sit!” When a dog follows basic commands, reward him with a treat or praise.

Keep this up consistently, and be authoritative. 

Establish your position in your dog's eyes by being in charge and not rewarding the dog when he/she misbehaves. 

Bribery and distraction are quick fixes, but in the long run, they teach your dog doing naughty things will earn him a reward.

Which ultimately further incentivizes the pet's poor behavior.

When a situation appears where you expect your dog is going to be aggressive, immediately begin reassuringly talking to him

Give him treats and make the situation into something positive instead of negative.

Once the situation passes, stop petting, do not give any treats, and stop talking comfortingly to your dog. 

He will eventually associate the stressful situation with a positive result instead of something that requires his aggressive reaction.

Seek Professional Help

I cannot stress this enough: aggressive dogs can be dangerous, and it's not recommended that you attempt to re-train the dog yourself. 

While these dog training tips may be helpful, you're still at risk of things going badly.

As has happened many times (some stories from Dr. Jen), aggression in dogs can quickly lead to severe accidents. 

The best thing you can do is seek the advice and help of a professional trainer, veterinarian, and canine behaviorist.

Behavioral dog trainers are generally available in most areas, but they usually don't all work with aggressive dogs. 

Be sure to first call and chat with the trainer about your dog's specific needs and provide more information.

Underlying Reason and/or Triggers

Underlying Reason and/or Triggers

You should consult your veterinarian to see if there is some psychological and/or medical cause behind your dog's aggressive behavior. 

Medical issues are actually a common cause of aggression in dogs.

This is especially true if the aggressive behavior starts quickly or increases in intensity in a short period. 

Some medical conditions that have been proven to cause aggression include:

  • hypothyroidism
  • Cushing's Disease
  • mast cell cancer
  • urinary tract infections
  • hip and elbow dysplasia
  • arthritis

Some types of aggression may also be neurological. 

Training is insufficient in cases where medical issues or neurological problems cause aggression.

Your veterinarian will set you up with a canine neurologist or a veterinary behaviorist that can help you diagnose and understand the issues.

Stay Calm, Speak Softly but Firmly

Research has shown that dogs can understand human emotions

They take cues from our voice and body language to determine how we feel. 

Have you ever noticed that your dog gets excited when you're excited or sad when you are sad?

He will sense if you're nervous when training an aggressive dog. If you're angry or frustrated, he will feel that too. 

This could stress your dog even more and cause him to act aggressively.

One of the best aggressive dog training tips is to stay calm. 

Speak in a normal tone and control your body language. 

If you feel frustrated or anxious, take a break from the training until you can compose yourself.

An aggressive dog with a dog muzzle

Muzzles Are Beneficial

Dog muzzles are a controversial piece of training equipment, but they can be used for more than aggression only; you need to know what you're doing.

It is a common misconception that muzzles are only used to keep aggressive dogs from biting. 

On the contrary, muzzles for dogs can be used for many different types of training, and they've been proven to be quite effective.

Remember, a muzzle is not an acceptable alternative to socialization and proper training. 

You need to work with a trained professional if your dog shows aggression. 

You should not be training an aggressive dog without experience.

Muzzles have become known to many dog owners as inhumane, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. 

Muzzles do not hurt the dog and can be used to protect your dog, yourself, and other people around you while you're training.

A muzzle will make things easier and safer if you're trying to work with your pet around other animals or new people. 

Using a muzzle during these training exercises will allow you to be more relaxed, which will also have a calming effect on your dog.

If something goes wrong and your dog reacts inappropriately, no one will get hurt because the dog's been wearing a muzzle. 

This will give you peace of mind so you can be focused 100% on the aggressive dog training experience.

Desensitize SLOWLY

As with all types of dog training, desensitizing your dog to his aggression triggers will not happen quickly. 

It's a process that must be done gradually. 

Forcing your dog to get used to triggers too quickly is likely to result in an aggressive incident.

This incident could hurt you, your pet, or other humans/animals.

Take your time, be consistent and work with a professional trainer or behaviorist. 

An expert will help you understand what is causing the aggression, so you can get to the root of the problem.

My Favorite Dog Training Books for More Advice

The above tips on training aggressive dogs are simple.

However, if you're still having trouble with aggression in your dog and a trainer is not an option, you might want to read a more detailed guide.

There are many training books you can look into, and most of them have helpful advice.

My personal favorite is 101 Dog Tricks – it's simple and doesn't over-complicate things.

101 Dog TricksOther good dog training books you should try are these:

Most of these books are written by respected dog trainers, so you know you're in good hands.

They contain detailed guides, additional tips, and plenty of photos to illustrate the author's point.

READ NEXT: 15 Facts About Fear Aggression In Dogs You Must Know

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