Best 8 Learning Tips on How to Calm an Aggressive Dog


There’s something genuinely touching about your dog trying to play with you as a sign of affection. However, there are times, like when dogs are in heat or other circumstances, where they might show aggression.

This may not always be an issue that’s easy to overcome but can be resolved. How to calm an aggressive dog then?

Let’s understand first the behavior itself to know the appropriate approach needs to be done.

What is Aggression?

Any behavior that exists for various reasons and circumstances refers to aggression. Wild animals are virtually aggressive by nature when it comes to guarding their territories, protecting themselves, and defending their offspring.

Dog aggression encompasses different behaviors that typically starts with warnings and ends in an attack.

Notice of Aggression

Dog aggression may have different signs for a specific breed or environment they are into.

Some dogs may be slicker in their aggression, while others will have classic signs of aggression. Take into account the warning signs of dog aggression. Some of them may only be playful, which may lead to being aggressive.

Some signs will help you determine if your dog is in an aggressive state. Among these aggression hints are as follows:

  • Muzzle punching
  • Irritability
  • High arousal
  • Snapping
  • Rigid or still stance
  • Baring their teeth
  • Reactivity among shy dogs
  • Nipping or biting
  • Guttural, threatening barking
  • Bullying
  • Snarling
  • Lunging or charging forward

Most of the time, dogs follow these behaviors, but there are also times when they don’t show aggressive signs and suddenly attack.

You’ll be able to stop dogs from hurting anyone if you are more receptive to their behavior. But typically, they don’t just attack or bite right away without signs of aggression.

When any or some of the mentioned behaviors are noticeable on your dog, it would be best to take action to overcome the aggression.

However, there are considerations you should take into account.

Considering the Risk Factors

But before deciding to treat your aggressive dog, you have to take into account some factors.

These factors come with some risks which should be considered to change the behavior. Among them are:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Severity
  • Triggers
  • Bite history
  • Targets
  • Predictability
  • Ease of dog motivation

How to deal with aggression?

What to Do When the Dog is Aggressive?

1. Make a Plan

Have the right plan to soothe the aggression of your dog so as not to try techniques that may not work well, or may only worsen things.

It’s either things will become worse, or the aggression may slow down or stop dog aggression.

Get knowledge in some ways which will quickly soothe your pet and end the aggression. Find measures to soothe and calm them down. You may do the following:

  • Remove your dog from the aggressive state
  • Never raise your voice–it may only make things worse
  • Speak calmly
  • Leave your dog alone for several minutes to calm themselves down

Usually, these are the easiest ways to prevent aggression but making these constant may not be advisable.

This is precisely where you need a plan for appropriate dog behavior retraining rather than his inappropriate behaviors. It may take some time for this to work well, but everything will be worthwhile in the long run.

2. Better Understanding and Management of Noticeable Changes in Your Dog

Once symptoms of aggression occur, you need to properly manage these changes on your pet before everything gets out of hand.

Handle the changes by:

  • Preventing too much play situations
  • Reinforcing calm behavior
  • Introducing your young dog to well-mannered adult dogs
  • Permitting and limiting your dog to only rehearse desirable behavior
  • Teaching them how to calm himself

3. Proper Behavior Modification and Its Importance

Overcoming aggression can be solved through behavior modification.

This must be done the right way; otherwise, more problems will occur. Contrary to what people say, giving your dog a treat to modify their behavior may not be the best way to stop dog aggression.

You have to investigate the proper techniques for behavior modification that is more relevant to your dog and effective for you.

So to modify your dog’s aggressive behavior you need to have some techniques:

Best Measures on How to Calm an Aggressive Dogs

Here are some of the tips and tricks to calm your aggressive pet:

1. Staying Safe

When you have assessed that your lovely dog is at the state of aggressiveness, be better safe. Making sure that you have strong fencing is one of the first things to do. Keep your pet on a firm leash when on walks and don’t let them pull away.

Considering them to wear a muzzle whenever visitors are around or when you’re in public places is a good idea. This, however, requires training primarily when your dog is not used to it.

2. Use of Desensitization

As a pet owner, you need to understand that desensitization aims to expose your pet to things fearing them.

Teach them the “come away” command to leave a particular situation and come back to you. You may use this command to get their attention.

Expose them to their trigger safely and in control. Bring the trigger to their aggression closer and closer over a certain period.

Do this little by little.

3. Behavior Modification

How do you precisely modify the aggressive behavior of your dog?

Change how they respond to certain situations. This is where people usually begin when dealing with aggression. You have an option to get a behavior trainer to show you some techniques you can try at home.

Of course, you need to apply these methods to see improvements in your dog’s behavior.

Teach your pet some simple commands like stay, come, or sit. This will serve as the foundation of the obedience of the behavior training of your dog. You are preparing them for a more focused training to ease their aggression. It somehow helps them mitigate their anxiety and stress.

As a result, they will develop more self-control for their actions. It’s not fair to push them fast for behavior modification.

Consider some cues indicating their preparedness to undergo training.

4. Environmental Modification

Changing the environment where your dog lives or stays can be helpful to lower the aggressive behavior of your pet. You can do this by changing their diet.

Might as well reroute your walks with them to avoid the other aggressive dogs. Slowly introduce them to others.

Do small environmental changes like keeping them in a room on their own until they calm down. They might get overstimulated, causing them to be aggressive.

5. Dealing with Aggressive Dog and other Behavior-Associated Issues

Lessen the chances for your dog to practice guarding behavior.

As much as possible, keep them from situations where they can exhibit or practice their guarding behavior. Teach them that guarding their food is not necessary.

Follow this up with any positive reinforcement.

6. Veterinarian Consultation

Talk with your dog’s veterinarian on the possible medical cause leading to aggression.

Aggression can be due to medical issues like convulsions, increased body weight, rapid mood changes, hair loss, and lethargy. Consultation with your veterinarian can help diagnose these medical conditions, which will then prescribe the necessary treatment for your dog.

7. Medication

When you consult a veterinarian with regards to your dog’s aggressive behavior, you will be prescribed medications.

Your responsibility to modify your dog’s behavior and change their environment does not end here.

Remember that medication may not work by itself. Dogs requiring medication to ease their aggression usually have a higher anxiety level compared to an average dog.

Medications can be a great contributor to becoming more responsive to modification techniques. This can make them less impulsive and give them more self-control.

Some of these calming medications for dogs to treat aggression are:

  • Fluoxetine
  • Buspirone
  • Sertraline
  • Propranolol
  • Clomipramine
  • Amitripty

A calming medicine for dogs like those listed above is not necessarily a quick fix. However, they are typically used in treating dogs with aggression or any other behavior-related issues.

They must not be considered in all cases. Your veterinarian will allow you to determine whether they are great for your dog.

8. Professional Help

In cases when your dog shows aggression toward other animals or people, it is crucial to ask help from a professional who can assess and offer long-term behavior modification assistance.

Never expect your pet to grow out of aggression or to get better on their own. Keep in mind that aggression can be a severe problem when neglected. Though it is normal, you should not let your lovely dog stay aggressive.

Such behavior can be a cause for a potential disaster with liability risk. Dogs that demonstrate aggressive behavior — hissing, growling, and barking — can benefit from positive reinforcement (intended for good behavior), socialization training, and the natural solutions containing some calming herbs.

It would be critical for pet owners to learn how to socialize with an aggressive dog.

The measures mentioned above on how to calm an aggressive dog are critical whether you have encountered it with your dog already or not because sooner or later pets may show some aggressiveness. It is still better to know before anything unsolicited things happen.

Calming your aggressive dog isn’t that daunting right? For more dog training tips on aggression or any other, check out our dog training tips article here.

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