Our dogs have a tendency to be aggressive when we take them to the dog park. That is why it is very important to pay particular attention to them in the presence of other dogs. There are a lot of reasons why they may act aggressively towards others.
- They may be afraid.
- They feel protective of you.
- They may be very curios
- They are stressed.
- They are overly excited.
- They feel the need to be dominant.
There are times when we think that their eagerness or natural inquisitiveness is a form of aggression. That is why it is important that we understand how our dog feels and what they’re trying to say.
For dog aggression cases, you should consider your dog’s age, temperament, health, and preferences when coming up with appropriate solutions. These factors are your basis in teaching your dog appropriate behaviors so you won’t get in trouble when you take them to the dog park.
Teach avoidance to your dog.
Teach avoidance to your dog by averting your eyes from other dogs that pass by. Keep your eyes forward and keep walking at a normal pace. That way, your dog will learn that when there are other dogs, we avoid rather than confront.
Create neutral experiences for your dog.
Make it a point that you create neutral dog-to-dog meetings as possible. When your dog sees another dog and just passes them by without anything untoward happening, it becomes a non-event.
It is important to be consistent with neutral greetings. That way, you will help boost your dog’s confidence. By repeating such experience, you are teaching your dog how to behave well. He will feel calmer because he isn’t anticipating for a highly charged encounter, whether for play or confrontation.
If your dog gets agitated during a visit to the park or dog groomers in the area, try to end the experience as soon as possible. If he feels that way, he has high adrenaline levels and is likely to act aggressively.
Be calm and decisive around your dog.
Keep in mind that dogs are highly sensitive to human emotions. They easily pick up on your emotion and reflect them with much more intensity. A common mistake when going to the dog park (where a lot of dogs are around) is to feel anxious of what your dog might do. If they pick this up, they are likely to get aggressive towards other dogs.
Be aware of aggressive stimuli.
There are dogs that naturally appear dominant, like the Spitz-type dogs. Their dominant appearance may trigger other dogs to respond and start posturing as well. This causes conflicts. If neither dogs are willing to back down, it would definitely result to dog fights.
Desensitize your dogs to other dogs.
Desensitization training is done in a quiet environment. Trainers would start with a very weak stimulus. Distance is used to weaken the reaction of your dog to other dogs. Doing so will calm your dog enough that they will listen and learn. This creates opportunities where you can begin to train your dog in the presence of others.
During this process, you shouldn’t move your dogs close to other dogs quickly. If you go through the process quickly, there’s a tendency that your dog may become very reactive and will no longer listen to you.
Try to make desensitization sessions short, fun, and rewarding for your dogs. This helps your dog associate calmness towards other dogs with positive experiences.
As your dog makes progress, you can gradually increase the strength of the stimulus. Note that desensitization process can very long and difficult. With consistent practice and patience, your dog will eventually improve.
Dog to Dog Aggression Training
When training your dogs to behave appropriately, do not expect too much as it would really take time. It requires a lot of patience and reassurance from their owners. Don’t forget to reward them with treats and praises when he exhibits avoidance behaviors when other dogs are around. How do you know if they are avoiding? That’s if they look away from the direction of another dog, and they begin exploring the environment instead; or look at us for directions.
When giving treats and praises, you should start with small avoidance behaviors initially; like looking away even just for a second. If he doesn’t accept the treats you give them, then he may be too far gone and it would be best to lead him in another direction. Note that treats can only be effective when you shape your dog’s behavior; that is, he is still thinking and not yet operating on instinct.
Consistently practicing desensitization exercises will teach your dog how to behave in the presence of other dogs. As he matures and becomes more confident, your dog will become less aggressive. He will also be more comfortable in dog park experiences.