You’re Having an Issue With Aggression
You have finally come to the realization that you have a problem with your dog’s aggression. When taking a walk becomes an exercise of planning and physical restraint, it’s time to seek help. Dealing with your dog’s dog aggression is something that is not to be taken lightly and will require an experienced hand to assist.
Not everybody is dealing with a dog that has “dog aggression”, and some have dogs that show aggression at humans. In some extreme cases, aggression is directed at the owners themselves.
Regardless of the target of the dog’s aggression, the consequences of leaving it unaddressed are never good.
Where do you go?
Help Is Out There, Everywhere Apparently
The internet seems to be the first stop for most folks when they are seeking information. I am not sure if that is a good thing anymore though.
With the amount of information on the internet it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Using a search engine properly and efficiently has become a skill, and even an art form in some cases. Making it all the more difficult, is the presence of limitless “experts”.
Putting a post on Facebook asking for help with aggression is about as dangerous as the aggression itself. We are talking about something where the consequences for failure could result in severe injury of a human or animal. In the cases of small children and other pets, the outcome could be even worse.
I have seen some very disturbing advise given in response to questions regarding aggression. The wrong advise in a situation like this could be disastrous. The margin for error in this type of a situation is not very big at all.
What qualifies somebody to give advise on social media?
Seek Professional Help
When presented with a situation where somebody has a dog that is demonstrating potentially dangerous aggression my response is clear and simple. Seeking professional, in person, face to face, assistance is the only responsible thing to say.
There is nothing I can say that I would feel even remotely comfortable prescribing via the internet without having seen the dog or the owners in person. While giving advise and instruction on how to re-establish a healthy bond and relationship with your dog is easily described in a post or blo
g article, how to proceed when a dog becomes aggressive is a different situation.
Finding the RIGHT Trainer
Just because somebody has a business card and a magnet on the side of their car doesn’t make them qualified in dealing with aggression.
Just like some personal trainers specialize in powerlifting while others are experienced at cutting to single digit bodyfat percentages, dog trainers are similar in some ways. A trainer might be gifted at teaching dogs to be agility wizards and working with their owners at developing those abilities. That does not mean they can come into your home and properly diagnose the source of your dog’s aggression and move forward to finding the right solution. Is this ideal? No, however that is simply the reality we currently have.
When seeking a trainer, the first question to ask is if they are familiar with operant conditioning. If you aren’t sure what this is yourself, read my article on it HERE. This way you will have a fundamental understanding which will prepare you to begin finding a trainer.
If the trainer has no idea what you are talking about or stutters in any way, thank them and move on.
Next, ask them what types of breeds they work with. That’s a trick question of course as you want somebody who has worked with as much diversity with regards to dogs as possible. Once that’s been established, ask for references of aggression clients.
Asking for references is HUGE. Anybody can be good at selling themselves into your money. That doesn’t mean it will help your situation at all. If they are unwilling to provide references, then politely thank them and move on.
Aggression is NO JOKE
Please do not take your dog’s aggression lightly. Little problems can become big problems faster than you realize. It takes work to ensure your dog is in an calm and balanced state of mind 24/7.
Stay off of the internet with regards to seeking advice from complete strangers.
If you lacked the experience to prevent the aggression from occurring in the first place, then it’s safe to say you lack the experience to remedy the problem from simply reading somebody’s keyboard advice.
You need a professional, with experience, to be there, in person.
This really isn’t even up for debate.