Throw Back Thursday… 10/17/12 Questions About Aggression…
OK, so I get phone calls from time to time asking me how to deal with aggression issues… Everything from a child being bit to chasing a bicycle or the mail person! It always ends the same way, with the question of can you fix an aggressive dog? Now I am going to be honest this post is going to be short and is not intended to educate you on how to deal with an aggressive dog. Instead it is to give you my basic thoughts on aggressive dogs and whether I think those issues can be totally fixed.
From my point of view once a dog has bit, the genie is out of the bottle and no amount of work can ever 100% fix the issue. The dog has learned that by being snarky or biting, the “scary” thing goes away. If pushed in the future, the dog will again react the same way (because it has worked in the past). As an example think of a person who takes an anger management class… Upon completion does that person now not have a temper anymore? Of course not, they have simply learned to control or increase the threshold for things to trigger their anger. In much the same way dog training can definitely raise the threshold necessary to get a dog to bite but it will not magically make the dogs new self defense mechanism go away.
The reason for this article is simple I do not like it when dog trainers advertise or claim the ability to fix dogs that bite… I think it is irresponsible and unfair to send these messages to clients that are already dealing with a very hard situation with their dog. It is our job to be honest and let clients know that once a bite has occurred, we in a way have left the world of training and entered the world of management. Don’t get me wrong dog trainers can definitely do a lot to help the situation. In this trainers opinion promising and/or guaranteeing a fix is just plain wrong.
As always my posts are to stimulate thinking so here is the question… WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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