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How to Train a Very Aggressive Dog

By Yvette Sajem
 

Overview

Aggression in dogs is a very serious and potentially dangerous problem for pet owners. Canine aggression can be the result of many things, including bad breeding, genetics, a medical condition or prior abuse. Dominance aggression is the most common type of canine aggression, but there is also defensive aggression, predatory aggression, territorial aggression and redirected aggression. If your dog is displaying signs of aggression, you need the help of a professional, experienced trainer. However, there are some things that you can start doing now.

Step 1

Until your dog can be trusted, do not allow him around other people or animals. Do not take him for walks unless you are positive that you can control him in any situation.

Step 2

Take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical reason for the aggressive behavior.

Step 3

Establish yourself as pack leader (alpha). Your dog must learn to obey your commands, to defer to you for privileges and to never challenge your authority. In the case of aggressive dogs, this must be done with love, patience and gentle authority. Do not attempt to implement techniques such as "the stare" or the "alpha roll"--these may work with most dogs, but could backfire if used on an already aggressive dog.

Step 4

Teach your dog the basic commands: "no," "sit," "stay," "down," and "come."
Practice these commands with her twice a day, every day, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5

Teach your dog to walk properly on a leash. You must let him know that you are in control of the walk. If he attempts to pull you along, stop abruptly for a moment, make him wait, then give the command, "Let's go." If he walks well, praise him; if he pulls again, repeat the lesson, and repeat it each and every time he pulls.

Step 6

Practice NILIF ("Nothing In Life Is Free") with your dog. Require a "sit" before she is allowed to eat, go outside, go inside, go for walk, receive a treat, receive a toy or receive a greeting from you. Your dog must learn to work for everything she wants, and also that she receives everything she wants from you, the pack leader.

Step 7

Do not allow your dog to sleep in your bed. Give him his own bed on the floor next to you.

Step 8

At mealtime, you eat first. Put your dog into a "down" while you eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Only when you, the pack leader, have eaten, may she have her meal.

Step 9

Do not allow behaviors that your dog could misinterpret. Do not play tug-of-war or wrestle with your dog, as he could perceive that he is dominating you. Do not allow your dog to jump on you. If he jumps up, turn around and walk away, thereby taking away from him what he hopes to receive by jumping, your attention.
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