Make no mistake…a dog owner’s worst nightmare is finding out that his dog is aggressive. Especially if he wasn’t like that when he was a puppy. He simply metamorphosed into this monster. Or perhaps he showed signs of aggression when he was adopted from the pound but it was assumed it would blow over.
Either way, just in case you’re still in denial, here’s an easy way to tell if your dog is aggressive.
Has he bitten or tried to bite anyone?
This one might seem kinda obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many of my clients are in utter denial of owning an aggressive dog even after he either bit or tried to bite their son, friend or the mailman.
If your dog has bitten or attempted to bite someone, he is not only aggressive, he is a liability and although there are methods of helping him overcome his aggression, it is a lengthy process that doesn’t guarantee results.
Unfortunately, if you don’t take proper precautions like having him wear a muzzle or isolating him from people, the best solution is to either give him up for adoption or put him down…unless..of course…you want to get sued.
Does he growl at you or other people?
Contrary to popular belief, growling is not aggression. When a dog growls he is warning you. He is expressing to you that he is uncomfortable with the situation. And although his hyper-sensitivity is an annoyance, it’s a very rational response and should be treated as such. When the dog growls, back off. Give him his space. He doesn’t want to bite you. He’s exercising diplomacy.
Does he attack other dogs unprovoked?
Does the thought of bringing your pooch to the dog park send shivers down your spine? If so, your dog is aggressive, but towards dogs. It’s called ‘dog aggression’ (creative term..I know). It’s less of a liability than people aggression but still a nuisance. That’s because you might be a persona non-grata at the dog park.
If your dog is aggressive, there are solutions out there. But as I have highlighted, the solutions can take months to see results as aggression comes from a deep neurological survival instinct. If you have decided to keep your aggressive dog and not put him to sleep, take necessary precautions. Have him wear a muzzle where appropriate. It might be embarrassing but so is a lawsuit.
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