The following question came in from one of our readers from our site on how to stop dog aggression:
We have a dog who is mid-size and has always been well behaved. He’s a border collie mix. As he has been indoors for more and more time over the winter he has become very protective. He starts barking at the doorbell and growls when friends or guests want to pet him.
Has even snapped at my brother-in-law after my brother-in-law continued to try to pet him again and again even after being warned with growls again and again. He turned and snapped and scared all of us.
He even trapped our neighbor in his car… Protecting their home (I was inside their home visiting his wife).
How to Stop Dog Aggression: Three Tips
The following three steps go over my recommendations for how to stop dog aggression in this case.
The three steps I recommend in this case are:
- Take care of your handling errors. You are putting this dog in situations that are not conducive to training success. Allowing this dog to be pestered and leaving the dog loose in a neighbor’s yard are things that just should not be happening.
- Get this dog fulfilled. You recognized that with more time indoors he has become more aggressive. It’s important to help him get out some of that pent up energy that is currently being manifest as aggressive behaviors. I always tell clients that they will get rid of energy faster through the mind than they will through the body. Get this guy on focused walks, practice ‘integration training’ with him throughout the day, play games like fetch, etc. and that will help to siphon off some of that added energy that is going into negative behavior right now.
- Focus heavily on obedience. When you are looking at how to stop dog aggression you MUST always start with some great obedience. Obedience training allows you to have options for when the dog is feeling stressed out, anxious, or aggressive. For example, if you could have him lie down and stay when someone knocks on the door it helps solve the doorbell problem. Basic obedience isn’t good enough, you really need to work on obedience around distractions.
How to Stop Dog Aggression- Summary
A big majority of our clients come to us trying to figure out how to solve dog aggression. I find that in nearly all cases it comes down to structure, structure, and more structure. Structure is nature’s enemy of chaos, aggression, and anxiety.