Dogs at a very early age may start to show signs of aggression, when a new dog or pup is brought into your home behavioral training should start. If the dog is not taught from the beginning that humans are the pack leader, they will assume the role of pack leader.
If you have to confine your dog in a separate room, crate or fenced area when guests arrive, you have not reinforced in the dogs mind that you are the pack leader and they are to obey your rules.
Causes of Aggression
Aggression may be that the dog has been mistreated by previous owners, but there are also dogs that will seem to be aggressive from the start. In either instance the dog needs to be taught aggression, is not an acceptable attribute. A dog should never be allowed to chase, bark or nip at anyone, which tries to approach you or them.
Most dog owners will try to alleviate aggression or bad behavior when their dog first becomes a member of their family by showing them affection, this is not wise. A dog will see this as a sign of weakness in the human and they will also come to understand that bad behavior is rewarded.
Prevention & Training
Aggression should never be allowed when your pet is ill; allowing aggression at any time will just confuse your dog. Asserting your leadership should be an important part of your dog’s daily routine, bad behavior should never be ignored.
An important rule for an owner to follow is, making sure that all house guests are told prior to their visit they should not make eye contact, touch or talk to your dog. Make your guest aware that you are trying to take authority over your dog’s aggression. When guests are following your rules and ignoring the dog it will allow the dog to come and smell them, this will alleviate the dog’s aggressive attitude.
Giving your dog sufficient daily exercise, where they come into contact with other dogs as well as humans, will aid in socializing them. While walking your dog you should always maintain the part of a pack leader, this means the dog always walks to your side or behind you while on a leash. Dogs should never inter a doorway or gate ahead of their owners. While applying these simple rules, you are actually alleviating the dog’s chance to be aggressive.
As dedicated veterinarian and writer, Dr. Susan Wright writes articles on the topic of dog behavior to help dog owners understand pets better.