17 Aggressive Dog Training Tips: Key Secrets for Working With an Aggressive Dog


17 Aggressive Dog Training Tips: Key Secrets for Working With an Aggressive Dog

Canine aggression may manifest in several different ways, but it’s most commonly expressed as a growl or, in a worst-case scenario, a bite. This is often heart-breaking for owners, and — in the case of a bite — it also presents legitimate safety issues.

These types of problems are often fixable, but tackling canine aggression requires you to identify the causes of the behavior and implement a management or training plan to correct the issue.


1. Get a thorough vet examination to ensure your dog’s aggression isn’t health-related.

2. Seek out the guidance of a certified dog behavior consultant.

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3.Employ desensitization and counterconditioning training if appropriate.


Read also: Why dogs show aggression

4. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and other canine enrichment activities.

5. Maintain a calm demeanor around your pet.

6. Use positive reinforcement and reward-based training techniques.

7. Purchase and use a muzzle if your dog bites or you suspect he may.

8. Set your dog up for success by working in a safe training space.

9. Try to address or eliminate your dog’s triggers, such as providing more elbow room during meals or addressing his underlying anxiety.

10. Use management tools and techniques, such as puppy gates, to keep your dog separated from people and other dogs if need be.

11. Consider spaying or neutering your dog — especially if your vet or behaviorist suggests that his aggression may be sex based.

Read also: 5 steps to train your dog using positive reinforcement

Things You Shouldn’t Do When Working with an Aggressive Dog:

1. Do not put yourself or others at risk, which may mean leaving the training process to professionals if you don’t think you can do so safely.

2. Do not punish aggression (especially growling — this is your dog’s way of telling you he’s upset or afraid).

3. Do not employ outdated and counterproductive training techniques, such as dominance-based alpha dog training methods.

4. Do not use aversive dog training tools, such as prong or shock collars — these will only exacerbate your dog’s fear and frustration.

5. Do not touch or pick up your dog when he’s acting aggressively (doing so puts you at risk for a redirection bite).

6. Do not expect a cure (through training and/or medication, you’re managing aggression, but the underlying trigger may still exist and require attention.)

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