Adult Dogs

What to Do with An Aggressive Dog That Is Truly Out of Control

Dogs are pack animals – social creatures that naturally want to follow.

They adhere closely to a rigid pecking order with the alpha wolf at the top.

This is their natural state.  And in most cases, truly hostile or violent behavior is quite rare within the pack.  This is why dogs make such loyal and loving companions.

But do you know what to do with an aggressive dog that is out of control?  How do you handle a puppy that constantly tests boundaries, bites, or throws tantrums?

Well, first, you must understand what canine aggression is.  It’s a natural response to unpleasant situations or events.  Aggression is how dogs express annoyance and frustration.

In other words, aggression is a form of communication.  It is NOT a personality trait or a sign of hatred.

Once you understand this, you can equip your dog with better tools for expressing itself.  Or better yet, you can remove those triggers that upset your puppy to begin with.

But what if the aggression-reduction tips listed here don’t produce results?  What should you do then?

How to Handle an Aggressive Dog When Nothing Else Works

Fortunately, you have options.  Some good and some bad.

Let’s review.

Option 1 – Redouble & Refocus Your Dog Training Efforts

The dog training tips listed on this site have been collected from numerous reputable sources.  And we’ve added some of our own experiences raising puppies.

If you don’t see results right away, don’t give up.  Instead, take these tips and:

  • Make your training sessions more focused.  Instead of tackling several commands or behavioral problems at once, just pick 1 (and only 1) goal.  And don’t move on until you succeed.  For example, you might try to reduce your puppy’s dog on dog aggression or its hostility towards children and babies.
  • Make your training sessions more frequent.  Repetition and consistency are critical in dog training.  Instead of doing practice sessions every week, try to get some face-time every day.  Or even multiple times a day (depending on your schedule).
  • Make your training sessions shorter.  Dogs don’t suffer from ADD like humans do.  But their attention spans are limited – especially puppies.  Instead of doing 30-minute training sessions, go for 5 or 10-minute bursts.  Just as long as these bursts happen frequently (see the above point).
  • Set realistic deadlines and expectations.  Results won’t happen overnight – especially if you have an aggressive dog that is truly out of control.  It might take weeks or even months before you begin seeing significant changes in your puppy.

Hopefully, this will be enough.  But sometimes you won’t see results at all.  Or perhaps you don’t have the luxury of time.  For example, you have young kids and don’t want to risk putting them in danger.

What to do with a truly aggressive dog under these circumstances?

Option 2 – Bring in “Affordable” Professional Help

If you don’t see results (or can’t wait any longer), it’s time to bring in a professional:

  • Use our expert dog training resources here.  These were created by world-famous dog trainers with proven track records.  The great thing about these tools is that they’re relatively inexpensive.  Better still, you can use them at home and at your own pace.
  • Enroll your puppy in obedience school.  This will provide even greater focus and direction.  But this also increases the price of your canine training.  Another downside is that your dog won’t necessarily receive individualized attention.  He’ll be part of a much larger class of other problem puppies.
  • Hire a professional trainer.  This has the benefit of specialized attention.  And the trainer will be able to analyze your dog in situ (i.e. within his or her natural environment – the home).  The downside is price.  You pay for this attention and expertise.

99% of the time, you’ll see measurable results.  Problem solved.

But what if none of these solutions works?

Option 3 – Get Rid of the Dog

This is a last resort.  And it’s one you should only consider if everything else fails.

Don’t hesitate to consult with your dog trainer or obedience teacher for advice.  Your vet can also be a part of the conversation.

Note that getting rid of your dog is complicated – and emotional:

  • If you give him away to a friend, you’ve simply transferred the problem.
  • If you send him to a shelter or pound, there’s a good chance he’ll be euthanized (i.e. put down).
  • If you put him down yourself – well.  We won’t even touch that one.

We hope you never reach this point.  Good luck.

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