I couldn’t help but notice the lunging, snarling, dog approaching as it dragged its handler across the busy intersection towards us. From a distance, the obviously flustered and panic stricken young lady desperately clinging to the end of the leash yelled out “He’s friendly”. He just wants to say “Hi”!
|Types of Aggression
Wow! That would have been quite a greeting, had I allowed it to take place. Although the very large dog I was working with happened to be dog friendly, I called back, “This guys not”!
How many of you have experienced a similar experience? Perhaps you have been the person hanging on to the leash attached to a dog aggressive dog.
The most common aggressive dog behavior exhibited occurs while the dog is on a leash. This is often referred to as “leash aggression”. This same dog, once the leash is removed, may well become immediately approachable and non aggressive in nature. Ever wonder why this is?
Of the 12 or so more common types of dog aggression, it is usually only three or four that are contributing to this ridiculous behavior. So many people will tell me that their dog is “protective”! What are you being protected from? A mother pushing her child down the street in a stroller? A kid on a bicycle or skateboard! Stop making excuses for your dogs’ unacceptable behavior!
Dog aggression is a grave behavior problem that is never acceptable. My experience in working with people with dogs that show aggression while on leash, could be classified far too often as “learned aggression”; in other words the dog uses aggressive behavior to get what he wants. If that is nothing more than getting everyone around him excited he has accomplished what he set out to do. Often when a dog shows aggression towards another dog or even a human while being walked on a leash, he does so because he has learned that every time he reacts this way, his handlers and those around him, including the other dog, all get excited and join in the chaos – just what he wanted! Often, what may start out as a mild fear reaction to another dog will develop into ever increasing “learned aggression” which is often mistaken as “dominant” or “possessive” aggression? The seeds of this escalating behavior are often rooted in the illogical and over reactive behaviors of the handler at the other end of the leash.
Not only can I explain and help you understand how you are contributing to this unacceptable behavior, I can teach you how to identify what drives and causes this type of aggression and help you to eliminate such behaviors in your dog. In doing so, not only will I instill in you a deeper understanding of a dogs’ cognitive process, but you will learn to treat your dog like she truly wants and deserves to be treated and that is simply “like a dog”. Dogs are not humans, they don’t think like humans (thank goodness), nor do they want to be humans.
If you truly love your dog then you owe her nothing less than to treat her like a dog.