The worst mistake you can make with an aggressive dog

If you have an aggressive dog or know somebody who does you must read this post. Please send this to anybody you know who has an aggressive dog. This is a life saver on how to avoid the worst mistake you can make with an aggressive dog.

You are more powerful than you know in your dog’s eyes.

Most people think that when their dog is upset such as being afraid or aggressive that they should calm their dog down by giving affection. This is done innocently but in reality your dog will interpret the affection differently than intended. Your dog won’t see it as a calming down effect. He will see it as a cue that you like what he’s doing, that you approve of his state of mind.

I can’t stress enough that affection given at the wrong time when your dog’s in a bad state of mind will keep your dog locked in that state. I’ve had client after client tell me that they adopted a dog that was afraid or aggressive and has always been that way. They scratch their head and tell me that they’ve just accepted that their dog will always be that way. Then I ask about when they give their dog affection. And sure enough they’ve been petting their dog when he’s in that bad state of mind.

Affection to dogs is a powerful reward and resource to dogs.

They will never get over fear or aggression as long as it’s being reinforced when they’re in that state.

When are you giving affection? Most people are unconscious about it. We seem to go into a trance when we’re petting out dogs unaware of what we’re actually reinforcing.

Become aware when you’re petting your dog. What are you rewarding other than your need for touch?

We love to pet our dogs and they in turn love to be petted. Well not all dogs do but mostly all dogs. 

Affection done at the wrong time actually reinforces aggression. Your dog will see it as a reward. Before petting your dog make sure he’s in a calm state that you want to reward.


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  2 comments for “The worst mistake you can make with an aggressive dog

  1. Julian Climaco
    September 18, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    My German Sheperd dog is very aggressive towards other dog when she sees them during our walk. I have a hard time controlling her. She is friendly to human beings. I had her trained but nothing has happened.
    How can you help? Thank you.

    • Susan Hill
      September 22, 2016 at 10:41 AM

      Hi Julian. Sorry to hear about your GS’s issues. Is your dog truly aggressive? Has she bitten another dog? If not she might be ONLY dog reactive which is not as difficult to resolve. Learning how to get your dog to stop focusing on trying to go after other dogs requires that you need to learn how to effectively communicate with your dog but first you need to learn how dogs think. Once you learn this it will make more sense about how to do it. Your dog might only be excited around other dogs. Does she get along with any dogs at home or the dog park? Learning how to walk her will take some work but controlling dogs is mostly psychological. Obedience training doesn’t address your dog’s reactivity which it sound like it might be the cause of the issues. Could you make a short video of your dog’s problems and send it to me? I can take a look and then let you know. Also you could fill out the contact form on the contact us page? thanks

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