How to Prevent Aggression in Dogs
Many owners get a puppy with little thought; sadly some of them grow up to be mean, aggressive, or unsafe, dogs due to owner error. If you have a dog, or are considering getting a dog, you must be aware that most mean dogs are created as a result of what you do, or do not do, with it. While breed can play a small factor, a dangerous dog is often the result of a bad owner.
Many people fail to recognize the value of obedience lessons. These not only teach a dog to come when called, sit when told, and so forth, but are very valuable to teach the dog social skills and to teach the owner how to relate to their dog in a way that the dog understands and respects.
Untrained dogs are often the ones who become unruly and dangerous.
Another value of obedience lessons is that they provide some mental stimulation for the dog and a happy dog is less likely to be a dangerous dog.
When dogs do not have boundaries they think they are the boss. Dogs who think they are the boss are more dangerous, not just to strangers, but to their owners too. A dog will want things its way, and when not given its way aggression can come forth.
This includes such simple things as not allowing a dog to jump on you, not allowing it to beg, and not allowing the dog to pull when on walks. As well in some homes the dog is clearly the boss, its owners are too afraid to take food away from it, or sometimes the dog might have jealousy issues and will not let its owners show affection to each other. This is more common in small dogs, who are just as likely to bite as a bigger dog.
Dogs must be raised to be dogs, not spoiled children, or decorations.
Know your Breed
Although people are often quick to assume that only the bully breeds are dangerous this is untrue, while those dogs do have stronger bites than some other dogs they are not necessarily more apt to bite.
Smart dogs who are not given enough mental stimulation are likely to bite out of frustration. These dogs are generally also more keen about reading body language and some people send mixed signals so the dog may respond with aggression.
Some breeds are prone to a problem known as Rage Syndrome, which can cause a normally great dog to turn aggressive for a few minutes then snap back to normal. This is known best in Cocker Spaniels and Chow Chows.
If you have a smart breed of dog, you must keep it mentally stimulated so it does not become bored or frustrated, and you really need to know about dog psychology, because a dog that is smarter than you can be a problem.
Terriers were bred to hunt and kill, there is no denying this. They need to have their need to chew things satisfied, and also need physical and mental stimulation to prevent frustration. A terrier who is not properly cared for and well trained is a risky dog. These dogs will have higher prey drives than most other breeds.
In some rare cases the dog's diet can impact its behavior. Some dogs have behavior problems as a result of eating Soy or color dyes that some dog foods tend to use - particularly red and yellow dye.
Teasing a dog can make it aggressive. The game can easily escalate to the point the dog's natural instincts kick in and aggression becomes a concern. Children are a concern here as they often think teasing a dog can be fun, but this should never be allowed.
For some dogs the simple game of tug-of-war can show the dog that it is the boss. When dogs win these games they tend to realize they are the dominant one. This may not be an issue in smaller breeds, but is a caution in larger, and bully breeds.
Male dogs who are not fixed tend to be more aggressive than those that are neutered. As such neutering a dog is one prevention measure against it becoming a dangerous dog. Neutering should be done when a male dog is around 8 to 10 months of age, and has other benefits too.
Female dogs who have a litter of pups might have aggressive issues while feeding the pups. This should be prevented as it can actually teach pups (when they get older) to show aggression.
A dog requires care, a neglected dog will often become mean and unsafe. Studies have shown that dogs kept on chains in the backyard are more likely to become aggressive than a dog kept in a fenced yard, or dog run. Dogs that do not get enough socialization (as mentioned above) are also risky.
Dogs that are tormented by children are more likely to bite out of frustration with being somewhat abused.
Overall a properly selected dog, given proper care is less likely to be a problem than one that is not being cared for. Most people get a dog, or puppy, on a whim and fail to consider all the work that must be done to help to train it. When proper care is neglected aggression is a common concern.