Deal with an aggressive dog

How do I deal with an aggressive dog?

Aggressive dog visiting the vet

A reader asks Dr Platzhund about dealing with the aggressive behaviour of her dog when he visits the vet, as he mock charges and barks at other dogs in the waiting room.

Q: Every time I take my 2-year-old Dachshund to the vet, especially to have his nails cut, his pupils dilate, he shivers, and when they take him from me he urinates and defecates. He also mock charges and barks at other dogs in the waiting room. He’s a healthy dog and has never been hospitalised, so how do I deal with this behaviour?

A: This behaviour is purely fear, coupled with displaced aggression. This occurs as a result of a syndrome of benign neglect. It simply means your dog was never taken to a reputable puppy socialisation class and basic obedience training where you could’ve been taught how to behave with a dog and for your dachshund to learn appropriate behaviour in the company of other pets and people. This type of dog behaviour hints towards living in isolation, completely comfortable in its own home environment, with lots of human affection and undivided attention. This isn’t a happy or secure animal. Most pet owners pat or talk to their dogs when the dog is in a state of panic, which merely reinforces the unacceptable aggression and fear. People think they’re consoling their pet, but a dog doesn’t understand human psychology. You need to subscribe to dog training under the auspices of an animal behaviourist, so that you can learn how to restructure your relationship to build up the dog’s confidence. You’ll teach this dog to earn affection, attention, exercise and food. You’ll learn to reward him for calm behaviour and ignore inappropriate behaviour. Try change your mindset to be calm at all times, since at the moment he’s your dictator. This type of dog needs to learn to socialise with other pets in a park or puppy socialisation class. He’ll change if you’re prepared to do the same. Visit Thedogtrainingacademy101.com for help on counter-conditioning your pet.

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