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Dominant or Aggressive Dog?

Step 1: Avoid Confrontation
Simply put, do not do anything, or allow your dog to do anything that causes it to growl or become aggressive. If your dog growls and protects his dog treat, do not give him a treat. If he is possessive about stolen garbage, or tissue then put these items where he cannot get them.

Step 2: Feeding
Only you feed the dog and only you decide when to feed the dog. No more free choice feeding. Leave the food down for a certain amount of time then pick it up. Distract the dog, or wait until it leaves before picking up the food. Most importantly, the dog must respond appropriately to a command given by you before he is fed. (i.e. the dog must sit on command) If the dog does not sit or obey the command do not give him the food. Do not give in to your dog if he does not eat for several days. This is a battle of wills that you must win. When he finally gives in, he is acknowledging that you are the boss over the food, not him.

Step 3: Petting
The physical act of petting your pet, and the recognition that goes with it are very important to your dog. Petting is a powerful and meaningful reward for a dog. Always pet your dog by stroking his chest, chin or cheek. Petting the top of a dog?s head has resulted in many bites to owners because the dog perceives that as a threatening or aggressive act. Again the most important thing is never let the dog tell you to pet it. You must make the rules. Do not respond to your dog?s head butting or coaxing to be petted. Also, do not respond every time the dog wants petted. When you do decide to pet your dog make your dog respond to a command first, then pet him but only for a brief time. If he doesn?t sit then he doesn?t get petted. This is very hard for owners to do, but is very important.

Step 4: Praise
Do not over praise. Too much praising causes the dog to not care. Also make the dog work for the praise by following a command or doing an appropriate action (such as walking calmly beside you or sitting or shaking on command). Make the praise warm and heartfelt. In other words: praise for good things but do not shower the dog with praise as it will become meaningless to the dog.

Step 5: Toys
Toys are great; however, the dog must work to get the toy. He must respond to your command to be allowed a toy. Put all toys in a box/drawer. Your dog must come to you if he wants a toy and respond to your command to get the toy. After he is done playing, quickly put the toy back into drawer/box.

Step 6: Games
Make sure you initiate the game. If he wants to play and is pestering you to play, ignore him. A short time later, when he has given up, you can start the game. Make sure he obeys YOUR rules! If he will not release a toy, or misbehaves, simply quit the game and walk away. Remember to stay away from any games that could be considered to promote aggression!

Step 7: Needs & Wants
Demanding what they want and getting it, is a form of dominance. Dominant dogs thrive on this, they demand something and keep demanding until you consent. This only adds “fuel to the fire”. The answer is, to ignore the dog, give them the cold shoulder. This may be hard, as we all want to pet our dogs. However, with a dominant dog, we must decide when to pet and when not to.

Step 8: Company
All dogs, even dominant ones, want to be close to their owners. Ration this closeness out as rewards for good behavior. Avoid having dominant or aggressive dogs, sit in your lap or lay in your bed. These forms of companionship should be banned in aggressive dog.

Step 9: High Places
NEVER allow a dominant dog on furniture or beds, and never get down on the floor with a dominant dog. Being at eye level with such a dog, makes them feel more in charge. If you are scared to initiate removing your dog from one of these places, try one of these tricks:

1. Place a long leash on the dog while in the house, and if he gets on the furniture, pull him off. Tell him “No – get off the couch”, but praise him when he has all 4 feet on the ground.
2. You can “booby” trap the furniture. ( A tin can filled with pennies, attached to a string, or a water pistol) .

Step 10: Freedom
Again, do not let the dog out when he demands it. You make him obey your command first. If he does not obey, do not let him out. (unless the dog is needing to use the bathroom – which in this case, tie him out or walk him on the leash. Do not allow him to run loose)

Step 11: Exercise
Plenty of exercise is good!! A tired dog is less likely to be aggressive.

Step 12: Diet
Try a low protein diet. It might help!

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