Preventing and Addressing Dog Aggression

by Colleen Fernandez

in Dog Socialization

Boston terrier puppy and kittenBoston Terriers are generally very non-aggressive, easy going dogs; however they can exhibit signs of aggression from time to time. It’s definitely not the norm and is never considered acceptable.

Tips For Preventing Aggression

You should never allow your Boston Terrier to achieve dominant status over you, any adult, or child. So, your dog should always know their social ranking and should never be allowed to challenge you or anyone else.

The early stages of socialization addresses preventing aggression.

Puppies should be taught to take food without grabbing or lunging. They should never be allowed to chase children or joggers, jump on people, mount legs, or growl. Puppies should not be a part of rough play. A few games to avoid are: hand-fighting, wrestling, and tug-of-war.

Also, your puppy should not be physically punished for aggressive behavior. Instead, she should be denied rewards and taught alternative behavior.

If your puppy tries to bite or jump on children, the child should yell “Off!” and cross their arms and turn away. Your puppy will learn that she can’t play when she’s too rough with kids; and she’ll have to learn to play nice.

Once, your Boston Terrier has been vaccinated, she should be exposed to other non-aggressive dogs. She’ll need to learn that other dogs, as well as other people are friendly.

What To Do With An Aggressive Dog

If your dog has exhibited signs of aggression, not to worry! This behavior can be changed …

First, you must understand the different types of aggression that exist:

Defensive (induced by fear, pain, or punishment)
Dominant
Possessive
Territorial
Intra-sexual (male to male or female to female)
Predatory
Parental

Some dogs may exhibit more than one type of aggression. Here is a summary of the 2 main types: dominant-aggressive and defensive-aggressive.

Dominant-Aggressive
These dogs are macho and confident. They stand tall with their ears up and forward and they’re usually very demanding. They demand when they want to go outside, they demand excessive attention, and they’re very possessive of their sleeping area. They generally don’t obey commands, especially submissive ones such as “down” or stay.” Usually dominant-aggressive dogs are pure-bred males.

Defensive-Aggressive
Defensive-aggressive dogs are much friendlier. Their body-language is submissive (they avoid direct eye contact, lower their head and body, tail between their legs, and ears back) in nature. Defensive-aggressive dogs are fear-biters; they may snap if cornered or bite at people who turn and walk away.

If your dog has displayed any type of aggressive behavior towards you, other humans, or other dogs, you should seek the services of a competent dog trainer or behavior specialist.

You and the trainer should be able to change the dog’s behavior without resorting to punishment of any sort. Before this type of training begins, the trainer or specialist will most likely recommend that you have a vet examine your pup to rule out any physical causes for aggression.

Sometimes chemical imbalances such as low thyroid hormone levels or abnormalities of the liver can trigger aggression in dogs.

Look for a trainer that is very positive and who emphasizes praise and rewards for good behavior. You may want to seek advice from your veterinarian. Carefully interview potential candidates to make sure they use the least amount of force necessary.

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