Do you know the saying: “better safe than sorry”? It’s nothing more than prevention, which means doing things to reduce the chances of a problem developing. It can be, for example, taking vitamins and taking care of your immunity, so you don’t get sick. In terms of aggression, the goal is to prevent it – to counteract it so that it does not occur. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, are there any magic vitamins that will eliminate the signs of aggression? You can say that because you are the cure for all evil. You are fully responsible for your pet’s life. Take advantage of this and ensure that the problem of aggression does not affect your dog. Keep reading to learn how to prevent aggression in your dog.
1. Investigate the conditions under which your dog grew before you got them.
Few people know that aggression can start already in the kennel. It is there that the primary socialization takes place, which lasts from 21 days to about 7 weeks of a dog’s life. It is the period that a puppy should spend among their siblings at their mother’s side. At this time, the puppy acquires the first social-communication skills. The mother begins to set boundaries and rules. She teaches humility and respect towards other dogs. She supports the puppy is getting to know the environment and starts to build their self-esteem.
A good breeder should ensure that a puppy is properly stimulated. It is essential to familiarise puppies with various stimuli, including sounds, smells, objects, surfaces, places, situations, other dogs and animals, children, young and older people. If the puppy gets used to them at this stage, they will not be stressed by them in the future. The dog will not feel fear, so that that self-defense will be unnecessary. It significantly reduces the chances of aggressive behavior from your pet.
A responsible breeder should also support the puppy’s self-esteem. It is necessary to organize various activities to develop a puppy’s self-confidence and independence (e.g., sniffing games). If a dog is confident, they tolerate stress much more manageable. They are more emotionally stable and balanced.
If you want to adopt a puppy, always check what conditions they have been in. Ask the breeder if the puppy has received proper primary socialization.
2. Ensure your dog is socialized correctly once they come to live with you.
Secondary socialization begins at 7 weeks and continues until the puppy is about 12 weeks old. It is the time when puppies are separated from their mother and breeder. They go to another place, to a new family. From now on, the responsibility for the dog’s development is taken by their new parent. This is your moment! It is the time when you should start to accustom your pet to all potentially stressful stimuli and situations. Do it slowly. Don’t force your dog to do something they don’t want to do. Give them time to think and don’t create pressure. Allow them to make their own decisions and reward the right ones.
You can only encourage your pet to learn about new objects, people, animals, situations. Praise them often, show how proud you are of them when they make progress. Try to adjust the pace of socialization to your pet’s abilities. If it is too intense, it may overwhelm your pup. The result will be the opposite of what you intended.
A good solution is to create a positive association with a potential stressful stimulus. To achieve this, it’s a good idea to introduce the stressful stimulus at the same time as something pleasant, e.g., during bonding with another animal – before the other animal appears, give your dog a chew or organize a sniff game.
Then the dog simultaneously:
is near a potentially stressful stimulus and becomes accustomed to it,
bites or sniffs to reduce their excitement,
is relaxed and associates the presence of another dog with something comfortable.
3. Ensure that your pet’s self-esteem is high.
Many people associate their dog’s aggression with their overconfidence. Nothing could be further from the truth! A vast number of dogs turn to aggressive solutions when they are afraid. After all, the best self-defense is to attack!
Try to encourage your dog to handle stressful situations more confidently. Organize sniffing and mentally stimulating games for them. Your dog should enjoy them and get satisfied. A great way to do it is to activate their nose, especially if they find something tasty inside.
We encourage you to start training basic obedience together. You can also learn tricks. Mental exercise incredibly increases a dog’s self-esteem. This way, your four-legged friend develops their logical and analytical thinking. Thanks to this, their reactive behavior during stressful situations can turn into a calm analysis. Then the chances are that the dog will find a different and more reasonable solution than to attack. If you don’t know how to start, take a look at the Dogo app. You will find there a detailed description of basic commands and many exciting tricks.
4. Provide your dog with proper stimulation – take care of their needs.
Every dog’s basic needs include: food, walking, sniffing, chewing, mental work, and play. Of course, every dog is different. Therefore, the number and intensity of these needs are an individual matter. If your pooch fails to meet them, they may become frustrated. Accumulated energy will probably find an outlet in the least expected moment. It most likely happens in stressful situations. Insufficient stimulation makes the dog more nervous, and it is much harder for them to stay calm.
To avoid this, take care of all their needs. By doing so, you will help them gain emotional stability, which eliminates aggression.