Why are there so many aggressive dogs these days?

Why are there so many aggressive dogs these days?

Since the birth of the internet, breeding dogs has become a very profitable business. If you go back over 20 years ago there were about ¼ of the amount of breeders than there are today. The internet has allowed for the sale of dogs not only to be National but also International. Most Breeders today are not reputable. They are Backyard Breeders and Puppy mills. These people do not take any pride in breeding their dogs nor do they have any integrity or compassion. Most of them do not check bloodlines for disease nor do they vaccinate the Mamas or their pups nor get them proper medical care. Most of these dogs are never let out of a cage. They treat them inhumanely with hostility and cruelty.

As a result of these actions, the Mama has developed a fear and distrust of people. Unlike us humans, dogs start teaching their pups from birth. So what is Mama teaching these pups? She is teaching them to be distrusting and fearful of people. Also, by mistreating the pups especially during the imprint stage will cause a negative response and behavior pattern towards people. The pups with a Fight response can develop aggression if this behavior is not corrected. The pups with a Flight response will exhibit their fear in a different manner by cowering, running, and hiding.

These dogs and pups are a product of neither their environment to no fault of their own nor their genetics.

Certain standards need to be implemented for Breeders and consumers need to be educated in order to put an end to Puppy mills as Pet stores usually acquire their dogs from Puppy mills. This is one of the main causes of dog aggression.

Is what we consider our dog being spiteful, actually dog anxiety?

Is what we consider our dog being spiteful, actually dog anxiety?

How people perceive things and how dogs do are completely different. People possess rational thought and dogs DO NOT. Dogs act on instinct and they learn through association. They do not possess the ability to reason. Contrary to popular belief, a dog can never be spiteful.
For example, I left so my dog got mad and chewed up my shoe. That is how people think and not dogs. Most unwanted behavior is displaying some form of dog anxiety or frustration.

What is the dog actually thinking when you leave your house? After you leave, the dog will go look for you. How do they look for you? By scent. What smells like you the most? Your shoes, dirty laundry, blankets, etc. Shoes carry your strongest scent as we do not wash them. As the dog goes around looking for you he picks up your scent and when he finds the shoe is not you anxiety kicks in. What is in front of him when the anxiety kicks in? The Shoe. How does a dog release anxiety? They chew.

Therefore, the result of this action is anxiety and not spite.

The mildest form of anxiety is a dog compulsively barking and whining. This stage can lead into worse stages of anxiety.

The most severe form of separation anxiety is when the dog urinates and / or defecates in the house when you leave. Did you ever hear the expression “ I got so scared I peed my pants “? Well this is the emotional state of your dog. At this level they cannot control their faculties. The only exception to this is when a dog is marking territory. This usually occurs with dogs that are Not spayed or neutered and they are leaving their scent to attract other dogs.

In the case, when you have had your dog for some time and he is potty trained and out of the blue he starts to urinate in the house; this is most likely is a medical issue like a urinary tract infection and you should seek medical attention for your dog.

The good news is that all forms of anxiety can be rehabilitated providing both you and your dog a happier life.

Dog Aggression – Who Is More Fearful, People or the Dog?

Dog Aggression – Who Is More Fearful, People or the Dog?

Angry Dog With Bared TeethDog aggression is something that is misunderstood and misinterpreted by people. There are so many fallacies about Dog Aggression.

First, let me start by saying aggression has absolutely nothing to do with the type of breed of the dog! It depends on whether or not the dog has a Fight or Flight response. Next, the old school thought process is that Dog Aggression is genetic which is something that can be barely proved in humans never mind dogs. Due to this fallacy, it is believed that aggression cannot be rehabilitated. This is absolutely not true! With some time and effort, with proper instructions and direction the owner can rehabilitate this behavior. The owner needs to gain the complete trust and respect of the dog and the first step is they need to give their dog the trust and respect first.

From my field studies, research, and observations there are several reasons as to why dogs exhibit aggression. Dog aggression occurs when the dog has a distrust of people to the extent that they feel the need to defend themselves. What is a dog’s only defensive mechanism? It is his bite. People sometimes forget they are still animals even though they are domesticated. It can also occur when a dog is wounded. They feel like an easy target, easy prey and when approached they will defend themselves.

There is also aggression that develops from a lack of leadership, and another form is from the communication given to dogs by people. People often claim dogs attack without warning but to a trained eye dogs always give warning with their body language. If this behavior is not corrected properly, it will develop into a Learned Behavior.

Fear aggression presents itself in different ways. Some dogs will bark and growl and then perform a False Charge to intimidate what they consider to be a threat. Over time it will escalate to nipping and then biting. This type of bite is a defensive strike so they will bite and back away.

Other dogs will become so fearful and nervous they will go into a panic attack. They will bite and keep on biting and because of the state of panic they lose control of their actions.
Other dogs are so fearful that when they muster up the nerve and the bite occurs they shut down like a deer in the headlights and won’t let go. This is where the fallacy of Lockjaw comes from. It is scientifically proven that no breed of dog is capable of Lockjaw. This results from this type of fear.

Another reason, dogs are pack animals and by instinct someone has to be in charge. If no one assumes this role the dog will take this position. If the dog is a natural born follower, he does not have the confidence to be leader and perform this job correctly and over time can develop into a negative behavior of aggression.

Other dogs act out in aggression as a result of the direction and communication given to them by their owner / handler. Dogs learn through association. For example, a person is walking their dog and they see another dog and then they tense up on the leash which is communicating to the dog that something is wrong with that dog’s approach, and the handler is nervous which makes them weak in the eyes of their dog and these actions puts their dog into protection mode, hence the reaction.

Now that you have an understanding as the why a dog reacts with aggression you can see the situation is not hopeless and can be corrected with proper training for both the owner and the dog.

Reduce Dog Anxiety on the 4th of July

Reduce Dog Anxiety on the 4th of July

The sounds of fireworks – the artificial squeal followed by the giant burst of explosives and subsequent whimper – drives dogs nuts! And for many, it triggers their innate flight instinct. Many people equate the sights and sounds of Independence Day fireworks with the trauma that dogs can experience in thunderstorms. But there’s a difference.

For one, thunderstorms are Mother Nature. Two, fireworks are closer to the ground and more vibrant. And three, dogs are not prepared for the sudden booms and flashes and burnt aromas that come with what is one of many Americans’ favorite holidays. Remember, dogs experience the world through their senses – nose, eyes, and ears.

So what do you do? Do you take your dog to the fireworks with you? Do you leave him home alone? Can you prepare him for this? How do you deal with dog anxiety?

My suggestion is to take your dog away from areas where there will be a fireworks display nearby. Take them to your parents, grandparents, brother’s or sister’s house, or to a day care center they are familiar with and comfortable at.

Plan ahead — if you are taking them to a new place they haven’t been, expose them to the home or center in the days and weeks before the holiday, so when you take them for the Fourth, it’s not a surprise and for them, it’s just like any other day of the year.

Don’t think of this in terms of your dog as your child who is missing out on a great, fun time. That’s human guilt and trust me, the dog won’t know what he’s missing. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing him to a situation that will trigger his flight instinct in a negative way.

Keep your dog inside: Many anxious dogs on the 4th of July have been known to run away from home and jump yard walls or fences, and dogs or puppies that are tied up outside may run away in fear and have so much fear and anxiety that they choke and strangle themselves if left tied up. (Never have your dog tied up outside without human supervision.)

Stay home with your dog: Just because your dog or puppy is inside does not mean they will be safe or relaxed. Many anxious and fearful or phobic dogs on the 4th of July will become destructive in the house. This may include, but not limited to, trying to jump through open or closed windows, pulling down window curtains or blinds, jumping at, clawing or scratching at doors or screens to try to escape, running and hiding under furniture, destructive chewing, marking or fearfully urinating or defecating in the house, pacing, hyperventilating, and even self-mutilating behavior. Some anxious dogs left in dog crates, kennels or runs may try to chew their way out and do damage to their teeth and gums, or try to claw or paw their way out, doing damage to their nails, pads, and feet. Don’t come home to a bloody mess or a bloody dog.

Desensitize your dog: Several weeks before the 4th of July, start a program of behavior modification to desensitize your dog to the loud sounds of the 4th of July fireworks. Desensitization is exposing your dog to the fearful sounds in a slow, quiet and progressive way, pairing a positive reinforcement like a very high-value food treat, toy reward, or pleasant massage with the sounds of fireworks. You can download fireworks sounds from iTunes, and begin by playing the sounds of fireworks at a very low and non-threatening volume. Play with your dog with a ball or toy and reward calm, relaxing behavior in order to condition him to hear the sound and interpret it as something good.  Always start with the sound very low, and over time, as your dog learns to relax to the sounds, gently and gradually increase the volume and continue to reward relaxed behavior.

Some dogs can deal with the sights and sounds of fireworks if they’ve been desensitized, like hunting dogs for example, who are familiar with the sounds and smells of gunshots and gunpowder.

But keep in mind, the soundtrack cannot replace the actual power of real fireworks.

Consider anti-anxiety medication: Talk to your Veterinarian about short-term anti-anxiety medication for your dog or puppy. In some cases medication may be warranted and a needed option. There are many safe FDA approved behavioral medications for your dog, their fears, phobias, and anxiety.