How to prevent and correct dog aggression

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Aggressiveness is not an end in itself, there are corrective techniques to overcome this major defect, but the most important is prevention, hence the need for a good education of the dog.

1. Teach him to stay calm in all situations that could trigger the instinct of cha sse.

2. Make the dog live with other animals like kittens, rabbits, chickens and prevent him from chasing the birds, even by game. Socialize with subjects belonging to another species is not a definitive thing, but requires frequent attendance, and is not a generalizable phenomenon. If a dog and a cat cohabit in peace, that does not mean that the same dog accepts all the cats; he will be able to attack another kitten who enters his territory. Do not allow it to run after joggers, cyclists or automobiles

3. Train your dog to the presence of children and their noises.

There is no treatment especially to cure predatory aggression, but it is possible to intervene by accentuating the authority of the master on his dog. It is therefore important to teach him the basics of obedience : "Sitting! ", " Rest ! And especially "Come! ". To teach your faithful friend the meaning of "Come! Take him to a large field, far from the road, and let him frolic to call him back at your pleasure; when he correctly executes your order, reward him with a treat or a caress.

The first time, you will be able to use a retractable leash which facilitates the recall. If the dog, on the other hand, escapes by not obeying, do not insist and do not punish him especially when he comes back, because he could associate the return to the punishment and, later, not approach by fear. Quickly turn around and move away in the opposite direction; the dog, seeing you no more, will come back to look for you. Let him come near, without trying to catch him by the collar, and order him "Sit! By rewarding him with a treat, then resume the walk together.

When your dog becomes obedient, recreate the situation that triggered his aggression , retaining him at the beginning with a retractable leash. to be able to hold him back. This type of intervention works when the subject attacks his prey in the presence of his master.

Another way to correct this behavior is to desensitize and to decondition the dog : it must be presented to him prey in associating it with a pleasant activity. You will start by showing your dog a cat, a car or a person in a situation that is not a cause for aggression (live prey while sleeping, cars and people when they are still and at a safe distance) ; if he remains relaxed, you will reward him with caresses or a treat.

You will then bring it closer to the prey (it may be useful to control it by holding it on a leash), or it will start moving faster and faster; if the dog sketches a reaction, you will stop it with a dry "no" and resume training at the previous stage. To be really effective, the "no" must precede by a few seconds the action that one wants to prevent.

Obviously, during the training, it is necessary to avoid the unexpected which pushes the subject to attack. The punishment is difficult to correct this behavior, and to use it must be very clever anyway, because the animal must associate with the prey and not his master. You can try throwing a bucket of water on your faithful friend or frightening him with a noise when he begins to follow a potential victim.

If the dog associates the unpleasant experience ( negative reinforcement) in pursuit, it will not start again; when it reacts well, that is to say if it stops, it must be rewarded immediately by caresses or treats (positive reinforcement)

The simultaneous use of systematic desensitization techniques and deconditioning to deal with predatory aggression requires some experience to get good results and is not risk-free for the master and his dog. It is therefore better to address a behaviorist veterinarian , which may also be useful because predatory aggression is sometimes a symptom of certain behavioral pathologies, in particular the sensory deprivation syndrome (predation concerns species with which the dog has not socialized), or hypersensitivity-hyperactivity syndrome.