how to socialize an aggressive dog

Taking your dog for a walk is a great exercise for both of you.

What if you encounter a dog that is running loose and one of the dogs becomes aggressive?

*Disclaimer: The overall training process should be done by people who know what they are doing. If you want to train your puppy on your own, you should be well informed before you begin. The following online program will teach you a ton of useful methods, and we highly recommend it. It’s the training method we use for our own puppies as well.

In case you are interested, this is the puppy training program we use in puppies4all as well. Thanks!

The difference between dominant and aggressive behavior

There are differences between dominant behavior and aggressive behavior. You have to remember that dogs are pack animals.  In the pack, there is a dominate alpha who leads the pack. This means you need to understand the difference between dominate behavior and aggression.

Signs of dominance

  • Blocking the path of another dog or human
  • Demand for attention
  • Charging through doors
  • Protective of their domain (sleep area, home, yard)
  • Halt to eating if approached
  • Placing the head on the other dogs head or back
  • Boarding  another dog or a human leg
  • Coming in between you and another dog or person
  • Lunging at people

Signs of aggression

Aggressive dogs do not always give any signs at all.

Signs of aggression are;

  • Unnecessary low-pitched barking mixed with a growl
  • Snarling
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Standing at attention (erect and tall)
  • Tail straight and moving stiffly
  • Ears held up

mad dog

Teaching your dog socialization skills

It is important to make sure that your dog has good social skills.

The best way to teach these skills is to start when the dog is a puppy.  If your dog happens to be an older dog that is a rescue you can still teach socialization to the dog.

Younger dog socialization tips

A puppy needs to learn socialization skills with people and other dogs.

Things you need to cover;

  • People – various people including children
  • Grooming –handling, brushing, bathing, and trimming or filing nails
  • Sounds –that are normal in your area and hobbies; children playing, trains, banging such as hammering if you are building things often
  • Other animals –this includes farm animals if you are on a farm, cats, and dogs.

It is best to do this socializing during 3 to 12 weeks.

Older dog socialization tips

You rescued an older dog or your puppy was too sick to give proper socialization too you can still help socialize your dog.

  • Walk the dog daily and introduce them to other dogs just pay attention to the dog’s behavior you can also allow the dog to meet new people. Remember when doing this to reinforce good behavior, no jumping on people etc.
  • Introduce your dog to one new social situation a week. Do not rush this, but try at least once a week to get your dog into a new social situation that he or she has not been in before. Pay attention to your dog and the signs the dog is giving you. If the dog becomes scared then take the dog out of the situation and try again another day.

angry dog

Tips on socializing over-protective dogs

Dogs are fiercely loyal to their pack (you and your family). Some breed of dogs more than others.

  • Work with a professional they can help you devise a program and give you tips on how to show your dog the assertiveness you need in order to help socialize the dog.
  • Control the socialization with the number of people. Choose people wisely and start with a small number say 1 to 2. Then you can add another person or two as the dog accepts the people you have already brought in.  It is important to choose people who have the time and patience as well as those who are calm. You must also remain calm and assertive.
  • When you walk the dog, get one or two people that have been in on socializing the dog who are still getting social with the dog go on walks with you and the dog.

Dog to dog aggression

Dog aggression to another dog is due to several reasons.

The reasons vary but some are;

  • The dog may be scared.
  • The dog is feeling stressed; he sees his territory being invaded.
  • The dog needs to feel dominate.
  • The dog feels protective of his or her owner.
  • It could be curiosity.
  • It could be the dog is over-excited.

Tips to help your dog become less aggressive with other dogs

These tips can help your dog become less aggressive with other dogs.

  • You must be calm and assertive.
  • Avoidance can be useful. By ignoring and moving past the other dog or changing direction if the other dog owner cannot control their dog reinforces calmness and less aggression. It also keeps your dog from getting into a situation in which he or she would be a bite victim or bites another dog or owner.
  • Stop confrontational situations by blocking in which you quickly move your dog past the other dog quickly. You can also do this by putting something in between the dogs such as a car or fence as a barrier.
  • Create neutral experiences by passing by every time you see another dog reinforces it as a non-threatening event.
  • Keep greetings with other dogs and people short and sweet.
  • Pay attention to behavior.  If one or other of the dogs start to become over excited or suggest aggression then move on quickly to a safer place.

barking dog

Handling dog aggression toward people

While genetics are part of the role in aggressive behavior toward people and dogs; environment also plays a role in it.

The best way to handle this is to socialize your dog from a young age. If your dog is a rescue and older with aggression behavior problems it is best to contact a professional for help.

Know the signs

  • The hairs on the neck rise.
  • The teeth are exposed or the lip curls.
  • The dog begins growling.
  • The dog stares and maintains eye contact.
  • The dog’s body becomes stiff.
  • The dog begins snapping.

How to help reduce aggressive behavior

There is no way to prevent all aggression but you can reduce it by;

  • Neutering/spaying your dog
  • Treat your dog with kindness and respect
  • When adopting a rescue get all the information you can its past treatment has it been aggressive before etc.

In Conclusion

Socializing your dog from an early age is always the best way to avoid aggressive behavior.

It is not too late even with older dogs to help reduce the aggressive behavior but you will need patience and understanding of the situation. It is always best when an older dog is involved that meet with a professional.

Before you go unleashed, have a look at this informative video: