5 Ways To Spot An Aggressive Dog (And 5 Training Tips For Dog Owners)

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Every parent should know how to spot an aggressive dog, especially as young children love to reach for that fluffy fur. However, any breed of dog can be aggressive, some are just more threatening than others. Yet, you should not rely on growls and barks to determine the safety of you and your loved one:

Additionally, every dog owner wants a well-behaved pet. Yet sometimes they can pick up bad habits, and act out of character for unknown reasons. In this list, find out how to spot an aggressive dog, and top tips to reverse those doggy bad habits:

1. Does The Dog Growl Frequently?

While playing with other dogs, gentle dog growling is a sign of happiness. Your dog is enjoying the company of the other animal, which is a great thing.  But, a growl doesn’t always indicate happiness. Monitoring growling is an important way to understand your pet.

For example, a guttural bark could mean a lot of things. The most profound indication it can give is aggression. If you encounter a snarling dog, or your dog snarls in front of your family members, it is uncomfortable.

Know that, some dogs can take time to adapt to new faces. So, it is preferable to keep your dog at a good distance from that long lost cousin you’ve invited around.

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2. Does The Dog Have A Biting Tendency?

Before adopting a puppy, it is important to trace its history. Questions about the breed, its parents, and the environment of their habitat are vital before making a decision to adopt. If its parents had biting tendencies, your new puppy is most likely to inherit them. 

But, there is a lot for you to know about the bites as well. Be it a soft bite on the finger, or an intense bite following a snarl, both need to be attended with care. Regular biting without any obvious reason should be taken care of with training.

3. Is The Dog’s Body Shape Rigid?

The body position of your dog can indicate a hundred different things. In most cases, a stiff and upright position, with raised fur, is a sign of anxiety.

Observe if your pet has lately become unyielding, and started pinning back its ears.  These behavior changes could be the outcomes of potential discomfort and anxiety.

You should always address the mood of your dog carefully and provide your pet with a safe place.

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4. Does Your Dog Muzzle Punch?

Does your dog close its mouth and apply pressure against your body parts? This is called a muzzle punch. When feeling uneasy, your pet may actually punch a family member. It can also behave the same way with other pets around the house or at the park.

In this regard, a poke or an assertive push can show the dogs mood. So, if you’re regularly being muzzle punched, like biting, know it must be dealt with with training.

5. Dog Tail Movement

There are a few things you must know about dog tail movement. A tail that is intense and stretched out often signals a state of aggression. If your dog sways its tail from side to side, in a stiff way, it is most likely angry at the situation it is encountering.

 This is similar to how a flag swings in the open air. Hence this condition is called ‘flag tail’. Don’t confuse this with ‘flagging tail’ which is used for a female dog on heat.

A soft, gentle wagging tail, while hanging down, is a sign of a dog that feels safe and content.

CHECK OUT: A Guide To Traveling With Your Dog.

How To Train An Aggressive Dog?

This brings us to the next part of the discussion. How to re-train a dog and stop its bad habits?

Here are the top tips for how you can reverse stubborn and aggressive behavior in you dog:

1. Make Sure It Isn’t Medical

The first thing you must do is take your dog to the vets.  Aggressiveness and disturbed behavior could be indications of some medical problems.

Take your dog to a vet, before engaging it in a training session to make sure everything is normal in its body.

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2. Take It Slow

Change does not come overnight. The same applies to training a dog. If you feel like your dog has multiple bad habits to be altered, take on one at a time.

Focus on what it is doing wrong, the commands and actions needed to keep the dog calm when aggression or anxiety is building, and repetition, so the dog learns how to react.

Once it has mastered one of its bad habits, move on to the next.

3. Using Treats As Rewards

Good work should be rewarded. While training, when your dog obeys your command, encourage the animal with praise and treats.

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4. Train In The Right Atmosphere

Choose a peaceful and calm surrounding to carry out training sessions.

If you are doing it indoors, make sure that the place is free of any distractions. These could be the toys your dog chews on or likes to play with, treats, or even background television sounds.

Create a calm environment for your and your dog.

5. Create A Layer Of Safety

You’re never 100% certain of what’s going on in the mind of your dog, particularly when it has picked up some bad habits.

With that in mind, consider carrying out training sessions in a controlled and protected environment.

So if training outdoors, be cautious and carry out drills inside a fenced area. If indoors, keep the room clear of other people.

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The main thing when training your dog, is to be consistent. This means:

  1. You are regular in the training sessions with your dog. 
  2. Your response to the dog’s actions should be consistent. If you mean it to sit on the command ‘sit’ your children should not encourage it to run.
Have you dealt with an aggressive dog? What training tricks did you use to reverse its bad habits? Share your dog training tips with us in the comments below.