Author: Jim Burwell
Many dog owners are seeking a cure for their aggressive dogs. Their questions usually focus around these three questions: Can you fix it? What do I have to do? How long will it take? Let's take these questions one by one.
Can you fix it?
As much as everyone wants their dog to be friendly towards all other dogs, the reality is that not every dog that is reactive with aggressive tendencies can be rehabilitated. Here are a range of results.
Complete rehabilitation from dog aggression and a resumed and relaxed ease around dogs. A controlled, on leash tolerance to a certain proximity to other dogs on walks allowing you to be in public places with your dog confidently under control without aggressing. No rehabilitation requiring management for the life of your dog.
What do I have to do?
As you consider treatment or rehabilitating your aggressive dog you must also commit to 100% management of your dog during treatment. This means the physical or mechanical control needed to prevent your aggressive dog from being confronted with something he can't handle at that point in time. Obtain the services of a professional trainer or behaviorist to assist in rehabilitating your dog. Even if you are prepared, it can be very frightening and intimidating on your end of the leash. If you find that your dog aggression is not treatable, you must commit to managing your dog for the life of your dog. When working with your aggressive dog, understand that results can vary widely.
How long will it take?
That's the $64,000 question! While some aggressive dogs rehabilitate quickly, it can take 18 months or longer for other aggressive dogs and results will vary depend on a number of factors. How successful you were at establishing a solid foundation for leadership. How well and methodically you performed your obedience commands without distractions at first and then gradually adding relevant distractions within the scope of your specific recommended behavior modification exercises. How you performed your recommended behavior modification exercises to set your aggressive dog up to succeed. Your handling skills, timing, demeanor and confidence
Some owners, however, are not successful working with their aggressive dog. Every owner knows what they want - a happy dog that will get along well with dogs. Not every dog comes like this. And, some dogs never got the chance to socialize. Not particularly their fault but it's what a dog owner has to work with.
Let's take a look at some of the more common reasons owners are not successful working with their dog's aggressiveness on leash.
Lack of confidence in handling their aggressive dog, it can be very frightening! Lack of money to train. It takes money to do obedience training. Lack of time to commit to working on this difficult challenge and the lack of resources - friends with dogs or a source of dogs (preferably non-reactive) to do a sufficient number of set ups to accomplish this tedious task of getting their dog used to the things that cause their aggression.
For these reasons and many more is why I reiterate again - employ a professional trainer to assist you in your work. A good trainer can be a big help in many of these areas.
Owners should stay actively involved in the rehabilitation of their aggressive dog. Do not send your dog off to be rehabilitated. Many dogs have become reactive because of previous training received causing the dog to associate physical leash corrections (with choke chains, pinch collars or shock collars) to the very thing you are trying to get them to like - other dogs! But every time they react to a dog, a correction is given and the association is made: other dogs cause pain.
Rehabilitating your reactive or aggressive dog is not an easy task. It takes time, patience, expertise and a written program that takes you through very sequential steps to finally bring you and your dog to, hopefully, a successful outcome. If you have an aggressive dog, get the help of a professional. Your dog needs this help sooner than later.
Jim Burwell has been training dogs professionally for 25 years. Texas Magazine refers to him as Houston's Dog Whisperer. Whatever your dog problem, Jim Burwell can help. His award winning blog on Jim Burwell's Petiquette has outstanding information on different dog behaviors. It's THE place to go for outstanding advice on dog behavior
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Author: Jim Burwell