Training a fearful and aggressive dog
Fear and aggression are often closely linked in an animal’s behaviour. To train this type of dog, you need to be very intelligent. On the program, there is comfort, but also punishment when he crosses the authorized line of conduct.
This natural authority and empathy allows the dog to feel protected and to understand that aggression is forbidden. To learn this training easily, accessories are necessary and, above all, common sense.
But before looking at the solutions, let’s look at the risks of having a shy dog.
The shy dog often becomes aggressive
There are many reasons for fear in a dog. For some, traumas experienced during breeding or during the first months have repercussions throughout their lives.
For others, the training style given by the owner and the lack of interaction with unknown humans or other dogs develop fear. However, a fearful dog does not always mean a bad education, but there is often a lack of adaptation from the master.
It is sometimes nice for the owner to see his dog running in his legs in the face of danger and to feel loved. However, you have to put yourself in the animal’s place.
The shy dog does not fully enjoy his walks. With every noise or unfamiliar shape, he develops significant stress. Different reactions. Generally, we observe:
- Dogs that growl and bark in the face of danger;
- Paralyzed dogs that refuse to move forward;
- Dogs running away in the opposite direction;
- Dogs that become violent in the face of danger.
These four classic behaviors all have drawbacks and pose real dangers.
The dog grunts and barks at the danger
Any owner who has a shy puppy has already been confronted with this situation. In the evening, he quietly walks his animal around the neighborhood and suddenly, he starts to scream continuously. For the owner, this is very embarrassing.
The onlookers look at him and he feels helpless since his words or his anger only partially reduce the barking. For the dog, this fear disturbs him for the rest of the walk. If, as he gets older, he retains this reflex, the walks and the pleasure they bring is less, while the animal may even develop heart problems.
Think also that such a high level of anxiety also remains when you are away. A shy dog often spills over on an animal that has trouble keeping the house clean or commits regular mischief when alone.
Cowardly dogs that don’t move
This behavior is the least annoying of the common reactions of a shy dog. However, it remains impractical. Suddenly, the dog stops walking and it often takes the owner a few seconds to find the source of the problem.
It may be a simple branch or a more serious danger such as the presence of another animal. This too punctual fear gives the dangers an incomprehensible hierarchy. On the day when the danger is real, the owner often ends up snubbing it, thinking that his little cowardly dog is having his usual tantrum, which can cause serious accidents. From a more down-to-earth point of view, this sudden stop when the master is walking with the leash sometimes causes problems with the claws.
The tight leash pulls the dog a few dozen centimeters, or even more if the handler is not attentive, and the claws can break when rubbing the concrete. And, let’s not forget either that this sudden stop can cause the master to fall and catch his pet’s feet… A gag scenario sometimes leading to serious injuries such as a broken wrist!
The dog runs in the opposite direction in the face of danger.
Scared, the dog with the courage gauge at zero runs away without thinking. His reaction is linked to his instinct. It is indeed logical to run away from danger to protect himself. If the dog does this in front of a wild boar, it is a good thing, but when he runs when he sees a small hedgehog or a simple branch noise, the problem arises.
If the dog is held on a leash, it gives a big bump on the leash and can cause the handler to fall or cause pain, especially by getting his finger caught in the wire. For the dog, this start followed by the backlash of the leash getting stuck is far from pleasant. It can hit him in the neck. For this reason, we prefer to recommend harnesses for fearful dogs. If the dog is not kept on a leash, the danger increases considerably. He could run away and disappear from your sight.
Worse, he could cross a street under the influence of emotion and get hit by a car. A fearful dog is in mortal danger depending on the situation he faces.
A shy dog is aggressive
This behavior is often seen in races that instinctively have a desire for dominance. A dog that is afraid, but still wants to be dominant is dangerous. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, he may attack humans as well as dogs or other animals.
Safety is not guaranteed for any of the protagonists. The dog could injure, sometimes seriously, the other party. In such cases, an overly aggressive dog often ends up being euthanized, even though early management of the problem would have prevented the tragedy.
Conversely, if he loses the battle against an animal that is stronger than him, his injuries can be serious or even fatal.
You can therefore see the importance of correcting fear in an animal very early on.
Confronting the fearful animal
Fear is often linked to the unknown. You must therefore do everything possible to ensure that your dog knows more than just his basket, walks in the neighbourhood and the caresses of those around him.
From a young age, we encourage you to take your dog out regularly. This way, he will go out to smell and play with other dogs. Faced with a more imposing and older animal, he will put himself in a position of domination. Rare are the puppies to develop aggressiveness towards adults.
He will also learn not to always fear them. The golden mean is found. It is the same with human contact. The dog should not take refuge behind your legs as soon as he crosses a person. In any case, when you take your pet out, you always find a person who wants to pet him and talk about his own dogs. Let them move forward and touch your pet. When he sees that it is safe, he appreciates it.
Reassure your dog with words and gestures at each of these encounters. His fear will diminish.
Confronting the animal from his youth is therefore necessary, but if it were THE solution, it would be known. Sometimes, you have individuals who, despite being open to each other in the first few months, develop strong feelings of fear resulting in aggressiveness later on and a strong desire to dominate. There is only one answer then: punishment.
How to punish an aggressive animal?
Aggressiveness is expressed in daily activities:
- He grunts during games;
- He faces you with its tail raised when you fight it;
- He barks at people in a nasty way;
- He tries to dominate other dogs;
- He wants to attack cats and other dogs;
- He destroys objects violently;
This aggressiveness is sometimes seen in overbearing behaviours such as urinating on your bed or clothes, constantly wanting to eat from your plate, lying on top of you, or watching your every move.
You must forbid each of these behaviours and reprimand the dog when he commits them. An aggressive dog needs clear barriers. He likes to try to go the extra mile to test your limits and your authority.
Remember that for him, this is not vicious behaviour, but natural behaviour in his mind. He can perfectly love you while trying to dominate you.
Dispute the dog with a firm voice
A dog obviously doesn’t understand every word you say. But that doesn’t prevent him from determining, thanks to your intonation and facial features, whether they are negative or positive words.
When he doesn’t obey you and is aggressive, say a very firm “No”. If he doesn’t listen the first time, repeat. Don’t give up by telling yourself that if you just hold him on the leash or ignore him, he’ll stop. This aggression is not normal. Don’t act like it is. As a handler, remember the dangers we talked about at the beginning.
Put the dog in a dominated position
When a puppy is still with his mother, she often makes him understand that it is she who decides. To do this, she catches him with her mouth at the skin of the neck and lifts him up. Imitate this behaviour.
Of course, use your hand and not your mouth unless you want to look like the neighborhood lunatic! If possible, lift him up a little and turn him on his back. Then, place your second hand on his chest to control his movements. Hold the position until he calms down.
For the first few seconds, show your displeasure, then calm him down. To do this, change the tone of your voice and say comforting words. Once he’s calmed down, let go of the hug and praise him a little. Controlling his aggression is not easy. He needs to know that you are happy to do it.
Tapping your dog
We might as well tell you right away, violence on the dog is not our recommendation! Of course, animals don’t understand all your words, but the blows they receive, they know what it’s like. And then, admit that hitting an animal so that it doesn’t bite is rather paradoxical.
There is no question of hurting the animal or traumatizing it. A small slap is not always bad, but it should not have the objective of hurting. It sends a message as if to tell him that he must react more quickly to your request that he get off the couch.
Using a training collar for an aggressive dog
The training collar is a fantastic dressing tool. That’s why sales of these products are constantly increasing. It allows both to punish the animal while having a response adapted to its character and size.
Indeed, a training collar is fully adjustable. You choose the stimulation sent. It can be a simple beep, a spray, a vibration or an electrostatic stimulation. This last mode, the most punishing, is often the only one that works with particularly nasty dogs.
The intensity of these stimulations can be adjusted by remote control. Thus, you don’t put the same force for a small bulldog of one year old as for an Argentinean great dane .
We advise you to start with the lowest levels to find the one that allows you to have obedience without hitting the animal. This is only true if there is no imminent danger. If your dog grunts at you or gets into an attack position, use a high intensity for a painful but clear message!
Be aware that the device is not magic. It is you, the master, who operates it. You must therefore be very consistent. The dog is punished only, and all the time, if he commits a forbidden act. Ideally, combine stimulation with speech so that he can eventually react to your words.
Training collars have quick results on aggressive dogs.
Training coach or training collar for an aggressive dog?
The big advantage of the training collar over the various training courses is that you are sure it works. Sometimes, when you take your dog to a trainer, he listens because he understands the seriousness of the situation and fears the behaviourist.
Then, once on the street in a situation that is conducive to his aggressiveness, the excitement makes him forget everything and he no longer listens to you.
Moreover, it is used in many situations: barking, running away, various stupidities… The price is also low compared to the price of a dozen lessons. Count $100-150 for a high quality collar like those of Petsafe which has a lifespan of several years, against the triple for a cycle which does not guarantee you to know how to train your dog afterwards.
An aggressive dog is not inevitable. Don’t wait for the bite or an impossible life to react. As with all trainings, the message passes more easily when it is transmitted young and in a clear way.