How calm is your dog around other animals and children? Are you comfortable enough leaving your dog alone with strangers? At some point in time, your dog will be exposed to other people and situations in the outside world, whether it is on a walk, at a birthday party, or in the hands of a pet sitter while on vacation.
If you can’t predict and control your dog’s behavior in such environments, it will be difficult to enjoy many outings outside of your everyday routine. If you are worried about your dog becoming aggressive in new environments or with new people, consider some socialization training to help both you and your pup feel better in a variety of situations.
Here is what you should know about socializing aggressive dogs:
Why Socializing Your Dog Matters
A dog that hasn’t been socialized enough will be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. This means that faces, places, and pets that they aren’t accustomed to might feel like a threat. While some dogs will shy away from interacting with others in unfamiliar situations, more aggressive dogs may go into defensive mode and attack. Socializing ensures that your dog becomes comfortable with these new interactions.
The benefits are obvious. Good socialization training lowers the chances that other people and animals will be injured, which also prevents you from paying their costly medical bills. If your dog bites someone and they choose to file a claim or lawsuit, you may end up spending a lot of time and money in the process. Even as a pet parent, you are at risk as well, if the situation worsens, which could mean injuries to you or others living in your home.
In serious cases, you may end up seeking the help of a lawyer in case someone has decided to file a dog bite injury claim against you. Dog bite injury claims can be filed against you, the dog owner or someone pet-sitting your dog. Dog bite laws can be complicated, and it’s not always easy to determine whether the dog owner is liable for the injuries.
Why is Your Dog Aggressive?
An aggressive dog can have a history of neglect or violence, causing them to be fearful. Some say dogs can have a territorial instinct, which can be identified by a dominant stance whenever it is in an uncomfortable situation. Such canines are more likely to make eye contact with strangers, bark, and even lunge towards them.
Dogs that are aggressive out of fear will tend to take submissive stances. They might avoid contact with strangers, crouch, or even tuck their tails. In case the stranger or unfamiliar pet comes any closer, they could become defensive and attack them.
Understanding Your Dog’s Triggers and Threshold
The best way to deal with aggression is to socialize your dog. If you don’t have enough experience in this area, consider hiring an expert trainer or behavior classes. The first step to efficiently training your canine is to understand the triggers for their aggression and thresholds. As long as your dog is below the threshold of its aggressiveness, it is less likely to attack a stranger.
Once it gets over the threshold, it can become reactive as its natural defense instincts take over. You can identify your dog’s threshold and triggers by taking note of what makes it uncomfortable. A trigger can be something as obvious as meeting new people or as surprising as seeing someone with a beard.
It’s Never Too Late to Socialize an Adult Dog
The best time to socialize dogs is when they are puppies. At this stage, it is easier to set up proper boundaries and expectations, including how your dog should interact with strangers and other animals. If you got your pup at an older age, you may not know what socialization training he has had. But, it is still possible to socialize adult dogs, though it might take longer.
Before you can start training and socializing your dog, you need to have safety precautions in place. Consider buying a muzzle to prevent any incidents with you or the coaches during the training phase. A good no-pull dog harness will keep him safe and give you better control, along with a good quality leash for daily walks and exercise.