Socialization, Not Isolation: The Key to Overcoming Dog Aggression

Are you afraid to invite friends over because of your dog’s aggressive behavior? The key is socialization not isolation. But where do you begin?

Projecting fearful or submissive energy is one reason why dogs become aggressive. Your dog interprets this as a need for him to take charge and keep you safe. Lack of balance between affection and discipline may be another cause for your dog thinking that he is in control causing him to guard his possessions from others.

Aggression that is not dealt with will get more severe as time goes on, causing your dog to become a threat you those around him, even you.

A common thought is to isolate a dog that is a threat to those around him. This only sends the message deeper into your pet’s brain that other people and pets are the treat and must be warded off. So, if socialization is the answer, how can it be done with out ending in catastrophe?  The key is starting your dog out in a controlled environment.

Model the Attitude You Want to See

If you are feeling anxious, nervous or afraid, your dog feels it too. He will sense that something is wrong and your fear of him acting out in aggression can be the very thing that sets him off. Part of the reason your dog acts out when you’re with him may be because your energy is telling him to do so. As the pack leader, work on bringing yourself into a calm state first, and your pet will follow your example.

Choose Friends Wisely

The saying is timeless but worth repeating, “You become the company you keep.” In the same way that your dog reacts to the energy you emulate, he will also feed off of the energy of others around him. To help him be successful in learning good social skills, choose friends who are good leaders with dogs who are calm and obedient for your pet’s play dates. 

Choose Constructive Activities

Adults go out for coffee, kids play at the park, and dogs go for walks. Its their most natural form of bonding and socializing. When done right, it is an outlet for excess energy and creating a calm mood in your pet. Have your strong pack leader friend and his calm obedient dog accompany you and your pooch on a walk to help set the pace. In order to help your pet succeed, maintain strong leadership by having your dog on a short leash and not allowing him to walk ahead of you. If he tries give him a correction before moving on. Also be sure that you are in front of him when entering and exiting doorways. If he is too anxious, have him sit or lay until he calms down before proceeding. 

When in Doubt Seek Professional Help

While the steps to socializing your dog seem simple, the execution of them may not be. If you need a little help or if you are in fear of your or other’s safety it is best to get a professional dog trainer involved. Unfrotunately, in cases of aggression, dogs have been known to bite, even their own handlers. That does not mean that there is no hope, enlisting the help of a professional trainer can help your dog make the change from “Cujo” to “Lassie.” 

Comments are closed.