Alexandra Vets, Clevedon
SAFETY FIRST, avoiding further aggression and the possibility of being bitten is of utmost importance, NEVER CONFRONT or challenge an aggressive dog.
If aggression is displayed use the ‘time out’ technique. Attention of any kind from an owner is of great value to most dogs. Immediately any aggression is shown, storm out of the room in silence and slam the door hard leaving the dog in isolation for 3 minutes, then ignore him for a further 30 minutes. This will prove to him that aggression achieves nothing but a lack of attention. Alternatively, if it can be done safely, put the dog in isolation for a few minutes such as outside or in a different room.
It is now widely accepted that the theory of ‘Dominance’ in dogs is out dated. Dogs very rarely try to ‘dominate’ us and most behaviour interpreted as ‘dominance’ is actually guarding of resources or is driven by owners inadvertently conferring high status on their dogs. If a dog finds that using aggression is successful in maintaining control of, preventing loss of or gaining more of an important resource then they are likely to continue with that strategy. This can include food, toys, chews, the comfy spot on the sofa or even attention from their owner. If you have allowed your dog unlimited access to things like this over time then they will naturally assume the resource is theirs to control and they may act to defend it. To help deal with a resource guarding dog the following steps may be helpful.
|The owner should maintain a height advantage at all times, no sitting on the furniture or bed for the dog and no sitting on the floor for the owner.|
|Do not allow the dog to go through narrow gaps first, open doors/gates gradually and push the dog back with a foot or if the dog lunges at the gap close it again smartly. Repeat this until the dog waits to see what happens then go through and allow him to follow.|
|No rough and tumble games. This just teaches the dog he is the fitter, stronger and more agile than you.|
|The dog should be made to work for any resources e.g. food, games, toys and attention by performing a short obedience routine of at least 3 commands before getting the reward.|
|The dog should not be allowed to beg for food and should never be fed from your plate. If kitchen scraps are to be given then they can be included with the dog’s meal.|
|Throw and fetch games are ok, but they must be initiated by the owner and stopped also by the owner before the dog gets bored. The owner should remain in control of the game and the toy. If the dog is possessive over a toy and doesn’t return it, a second toy or food treat should be used as a distraction to get the dog to leave the first toy.|
|The dog should be made to work to gain attention (which is one of the greatest resources). If he constantly asks for attention he should be ignored initially, if he goes away and settles, then after a short break he can be called in and attention given.|
|Pulling on a lead must be avoided. This gives the dog the impression he is in control on the walk, a ‘Canny Collar’ is recommended. If the dog persists in pulling the owner should walk more slowly or stop and call the dog back to their side. Only then should the walk progress.|
To get some behaviour tips, or to make an appointment to have Rob spend some time with your pet, give us a call on
Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe
Monday-Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday : 9am to 11am
(Hillyfields Vets, Winscombe)
Consultations: 9am – 10.30am
Saturday:11am to 1:30pm
(Alexandra Vets, Clevedon)
Consultations: 12pm – 1.30pm