Multiple Dog Aggression Case Study – Pittsburgh Dog Training
Biting isn’t always a sign of pure aggression in dogs. Dogs may bite because they’re scared or because they’re trying to establish dominance. The urge to establish dominance generally occurs when a dog is not provided with enough structure in his or her home.
As pack animals, dogs rely on structure to help them understand their role in the pack, or in the case of domesticated dogs, family. If your dog is unsure of what to expect on a day to day basis, they may become insecure and try to fix what they view as problems on their own. The type of structure I’m talking about is more in-depth than a simple feeding or elimination schedule, although that’s a start—the type of structure and consistency necessary to help a dog feel secure in his or her environment has to come straight from the owner.
I recently worked with two dogs named Cassie and Gia who barked and nipped at anyone who came in the house—immediate family members included. When I arrived for the in-home consultation, the dogs were locked in the bedroom to keep them from bothering me, but they continuously scratched at the door, trying to get out and see the intruder for themselves.
During the last thirty minutes of our meeting, I asked that they be let out so I could observe their behavior. The two seemed to work as a team. Gia did most of the barking, and Cassie did most of the nipping. I’ve seen this before, in dogs who need just a little more consistency from their owners.
To get Cassie and Gia’s behavior under control, I recommended crate training and basic obedience training. Dogs view crates as their dens, as a safe space where they can retreat and calm down. Rather than being locked in a room and ruining a perfectly good door, the dogs now have a place of their very own to escape to when they become overwhelmed by their environment.
Basic obedience training was effective for Cassie and Gia, too. Basic obedience is more than teaching dogs a few commands—it teaches them to view their owner as the leader, as the Alpha dog. This isn’t so the owner can be controlling or mean to their dog; it simply works to take the responsibility away from the dog. It lifts a weight off the dog’s shoulders. Dogs look to their owners for cues, for reactions, to know whether or not the people in their home are welcome. Once that focus is established, you’ll find your pet less anxious and more open to new people, simply because that’s what they see in you.
Our Pittsburgh Dog Training methods worked for Cassie and Gia, and they could work for your dog as well. Give me a call at 800.649.7297 to discuss your training needs.