Preventing Aggressive Behavior in Dogs

Preventing Aggressive Behavior in Dogs
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One of the most important duties that comes with being a responsible dog owner is giving your dog adequate exercise and teaching the importance of social skills to help in preventing aggressive behavior. In addition to walks, providing toys that challenge and develop your dog’s intelligence will keep your dog occupied, even when you can’t be with them.

The way your dog plays with you or other dogs can be an accurate reflection of their temperament. If your dog becomes aggressive while playing certain games, you will want to avoid those games in order to prevent any further aggression, which could lead to biting. It can be fun to play rough games with your dog, such as tug-of-war, but this game and others like it, can encourage dominant aggression if not played properly.

If you feel confident that your dog will not be negatively affected by aggressive games, then follow these three steps to safely play tug-of-war.

  • 1. Do not allow your dog to grab the tug toy before you give them permission to do so. Your dog must sit or lie down and then wait for you to invite them to play. You can invite your dog to grab the toy by using a special word or phrase, like “Take it!” or “Get it!” to initiate a game of tug.
  • 2. Teach your dog that when you say, “drop it” or “give” they must release the toy. Use positive reinforcement when they listen to you to encourage this behavior again.
  • 3. End the game immediately if your dog puts their mouth on human skin or clothing while playing tug — even if they do so accidentally. “Missing” and grabbing anything except the tug toy should immediately result in the end of the game.

If your dog has an aggressive temperament, it is crucial to avoid aggressive games and instead play docile games. The Kyjen Company’s Hide-A-Squirrel is a great toy that will provide hours of entertainment without triggering aggressive or dominant behavior.

Playtime is important for your dog. Encouraging them to play with toys that will not attribute to increasingly aggressive behavior will allow you to confidently play with your dog and give them the exercise that they need while keeping them happily entertained.

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About the author

Thomas Richardson

Tommy Richardson, owner and president of the AV-Rated law firm of Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers in Phoenix, focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Since 2009, Tommy has sat on the Board of Governors for Arizona Trial Lawyers and in 2011 was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer and confirmed by the Arizona Senate to the Maricopa Judicial Selection Committee. Tommy represents plaintiffs in trial work in Maricopa, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, Mohave, Yuma, Apache, Gila, Cochise, La Paz, Coconino and Navajo counties. Tommy is the co-chair of the seminar committee for the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers and is involved in the American Association for Justice and American Trial Lawyers.