Good Strategies for Dog to Dog Aggression

photoYou take young Rover to the dog park  for the first time to let them interact with other dogs. Unfortunately for you, Rover doesn’t seem to enjoy being around some of the other dogs- and on top of that, he takes a few snaps at some of them. Not everyone in this world gets along- and the same thing goes for dogs as well. Aggressive reactions to dogs and other animals can be a big turnoff when you want to go out and play at a park or with fellow pup owners.

History

Owners may not even be aware of aggressive conditions especially if your pup has been rescued from a shelter. There are various levels of aggression that a pup can experience; snapping, growling or right out attacking and going for the jugular. This can be a difficult situation to cope with as your pup is embedded with the need to protect themselves before they are even attacked. Allowing your pup to play with unknown dogs that may also have aggressive qualities can be dangerous. A pup suffering from attacks and beatings can be traumatized- often resulting in their own aggressive tendencies.

Leader of the pack

As your pup’s owner- you need to understand that you are part of their pack (or they are part of yours, whichever you prefer). You play the part of mentor, leader and parent for them. You teach and protect your pup from the dangers of the world. Letting your pup fight for themselves in order to toughen them up can have repercussive effects and simply result in developing aggression- and often will make it less likely that they will pay attention to you.

When you go to dog parks or you introduce your pup to others, make sure that you intervene in any fight or signs of aggression. You will want to teach your pup that you are their protector and master to help prevent them from developing aggression to others. You may feel that this makes your pup weak as it seems that your pup can’t protect themselves, but by nature a dog knows when there is true danger and will protect you when it is necessary.

Another dog?

What about other dogs? You never ever trust your pup with a strange dog when they are alone. Aside from worms and ticks, another dog can have aggressive tendencies. Leaving your pup to play solo at a park with other pups can be extremely dangerous. In larger numbers, dogs regain their pack instincts and will attack- especially a newcomer to the group. This is known as “rank-drive” and is natural instinct for dogs. Sometimes it occurs without a fight, but it often results in aggression. Either way you don’t want to chance your pup to strangers. They may seem playful at first, but it only takes a second for another dog to attack- and injure your pup.

Obedience is the key to keeping your pup’s aggressive tendencies docile. You need to establish yourself as the pack leader for your pup. Create a situation in which your pup looks to you for guidance through proper training. If your pup’s problems are extreme, you may need to consider an actual obedience school for them. But as long as you teach your pup from the get-go that you are number one, they will respond well to you, and hopefully stay out of trouble on the playground.

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The Voice of Body Language and Your Dog

photo“Speak!” you say to your pup. “Arf!” your pup says in return. Though it is a nice trick, you and your pup are separated by the all-powerful “speech” barrier. You cannot understand what they bark, and they don’t really understand human speech. So what does your pup react to? The answer is quite simple- body language. It is universal throughout the world amongst any country. Communicating by using gestures and body movements provides us with ways to break the speech barrier.

The way you move

Have you ever noticed that an unfamiliar pup will cower when approached? Perhaps it is because of the way you move as you go through the motions. In a dog’s body language, standing above another pup can often be a sign of suppression. Though this is not what you mean, it is how your pup interprets it. Try instead to approach your pup at an eye level. You may look a little funny in public, but sitting and crouching down on their level is a great way to start a conversation with a pup.

Something you may keep in mind is that eye contact is not to be taken lightly. In a pup’s world, eye contact is commonly an aggressive sign and may insinuate fear or aggression in your pup over time.

Open arms and hands are symbolic throughout the world- and your pup’s as well. This stance tells your pup that they are allowed in your comfort zone. Direction can also affect a pup’s neutrality. From the front or back can show signs of aggression as they may believe that you are preparing for an attack. Their sides are the most neutral direction to approach from as they can see you clearly.

The sound of a voice

It is not just the words you speak to your pup, but how you say them. When you are angry, your voice shows it. When you are happy or neutral, the sound of your voice will reflect your emotions. When you talk to your pup, try to do it in a calm and cool way- like the Fonz. During training, do not let your voice reflect anger or frustration- but sternness. Letting you pup know that you are in charge is different from punishing them verbally. Your voice is a key element in communicating with your pup. Even though the words may be simple gibberish to them, the sound and familiarity are enforced by the way you express them as you speak.

Your pup’s body language

The way your pup moves is just as important as the way you move. As an owner, you need to recognize such things as circling, trepidation, and aggression. These signs are somewhat unique to each pup, but you will soon learn by communicating with your pup.
Circling, scratching and sniffing are telltale signs of potty time- or interest. If your pup is afraid, commonly they will look away and their tail (unless your pup has a nub) will drop between their legs. Sometimes, if pressured enough, a pup will begin to show aggression. Growling, barking and snapping are only the physical outcome. Before they attack, a pup will often curl their lips up, and lay their ears flat. This would definitely be your cue to step in or step away. With enough contact with your pup, you will get to know them on a more intimate level and they will display even more characteristics.

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Potty Training Tip: Set Aside Potty Place

When training your puppy, it’s important to give your pup a sense of security and direction. Setting aside a specific area for your dog to do his business will not only make potty training easier, but also faster than if you had tried to use multiple potty places.

To set aside an appropriate place for elimination, take a look at your home. Do you have enough space to accommodate your puppy indoors and outdoors? What areas can you use according to your neighborhood guidelines? Do you have a yard that’s fenced in or is safe for your puppy to use? All of these questions are things you must ask yourself when potty training your pup.

For indoor security during colder months or for spaces that lack porches, consider paper training as a safe bet. Set aside a specific area in your home with newspaper and instruct your dog to do his business. If you happen to have a bit more space or if you have porch access, you can always try the Porch Potty as an option. This compact potty training area is easy, convenient and perfect for your puppy.

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