Aggression in a dog – Where to start?

Muzykoterapia/Terapia kamertonami dla psów

Aggression in a dog is a problem that needs to be looked at holistically. Many different issues need to be taken into account, such as the physiology of the dog, how its brain functions and the satisfaction of needs.

The dog's body, which already exhibits aggressive behavior, is knocked out of balance. It is located under the action of stress hormones, which secrete by practicing inappropriate activities with the dog, the environment, our emotions and attitude towards the dog.

What should we do before we start working to solve the problem of aggression facing our dog? Surely we should focus on helping the dog's body to return to balance, calm any hormones that buzz in its body. They make the dog unable to assimilate new information and learn alternative behaviors. Lowering stress levels is a basic step.

It is also worth analyzing the scheme on the basis of which observations have been developed, which show how the dog behaves at a time when he has complete agency. Wild dogs decide for themselves how much they want to sleep, how much time to spend on all sorts of activities, looking for food, etc. The behavior of such dogs very often completely deviates from what, as if not to look, we force our dogs. On the basis of these observations, various conclusions have been drawn, such as how we can truly meet the deepest needs of our dogs. Meeting these needs, on the other hand, can help reduce the stress that a dog can experience while living with us. Let us consider how we can offer him a better quality of life.

1. Understanding our dog's body language

We should read, learn more about what are sedative signals, how we can recognize that a dog does not feel comfortable in a given situation. On this basis, we are able to properly read its communication, as well as provide the dog with support when it needs it. Another example is to think about which situations that are overly stressful or frustrating for our dog we can eliminate (e.g. when our dog has access to a large window, behind which a lot of people and dogs pass every day, and the dog is obviously stressed and energized- let's shelter the dog then the view to get rid of this stimulus). These small and seemingly insignificant situations can accumulate a whole bunch during the day and regularly add unnecessary stress to the dog, so it is worth taking the time to analyze this issue.

2. Non-application of penalties, aversion

The dog's body reacts to such methods physiologically and chooses strategies that help him cope with such treatment by the owner. All
aversive methods should be eliminated, including the use of a spike, an electric collar, or a beautifully named "educator" or "behavioral leash".

3. Not taking the dog out of the collar

If aggression in a dog is a problem you are facing, our dog is aggressive, reacts to dogs or humans, it probably pops up to them while walking when he notices them. Thus, if the dog is brought out on a leash pinned to the collar, this leads to the creation of tension on the dog's neck. Apart from all possible physical damage that can be caused by the use of the collar, when this tension is formed on the neck, it prevents it from sending sedative signals. One such signal is a reversal of the head. We take away the dog's ability to communicate signals freely and it can be very stressful for the dog. In addition, the discomfort caused by tension on the neck will in itself only "exacerbate" the retort, and the strokes on the part of the caregiver- will only turn up the frustration and knock the dog out of the physical balance, which supports peace and composure.

If your dog is pulling on a walk, be sure to read this article.

aggression in a muzzle dog

4. Allowing the dog to make choices

It is very important to limit control in everyday life with the dog. It is worth considering how often during the day we ban something from the dog, abuse commands, deicide in which direction to go while walking. Gaining more slack, not "commanding" the dog and gaining more trust in it are another important part of working in the context of every behavior we work with.

5. Nutrition

Thanks to observations that were made on wild dogs, scientists found that dogs like diversity in their meals. Providing them with this diversity is a very important element that can help increase serotonin secretion to enable the dog to feel better.

If you already feed the dog dry food, its meals are monotonous, he gets the same food for many years (which is quite common), try to reduce the amount of food to 90%. The remaining 10% should be a variety that you add to your dog's diet. In these 10% we should provide the dog with a variety of flavors, textures, smells, so that the dog not only eats, but also enjoys meals.

6. Chewable

Providing the dog with access to objects such as various types of chews, bones that can chew is very important. Of course, they should be as natural as possible, without the addition of artificial dyes (I advise against buying bleached bones from cheap supermarkets!).

For chewing, special toys, dried animal skin, carrots or other hard and even frozen vegetables are best suited. If your dog's health (and teeth) allow it, you can give it real raw bones, such as beef.

An interesting toy is also Kong, into which we put some food and preferably still freeze. The dog tries to lysute its contents, which takes him for a while, and at the same time calms him down. This is another good way to meet the needs of the dog, but also to reduce the perceived stress.

aggression in a dog in relation to another dog

7. Relaxation

In addition to the aforementioned silencing activities, it is also very important to take care of relaxing the dog through physical contact. Naturally, for this purpose, I recommend conducting daily TTouch sessions with the dog, during which we will not only lower the level of cortisol in his body, but also strengthen the bond with him, relax tensions. And this, in turn, can help us make the dog feel more confident, calmer.
And that's where you can build :).

Of course, these are just a few of the many steps that need to be taken to address the needs of our quadruped, and to start working so that aggression in a dog is no longer our problem. I do
not recommend trying to do it on your hand, but under the guidance of a behaviorist using positive methods of work.

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