Taming Dog Aggression

By Susan Garlinghouse DVM

Puppies usually learn how to interact with other friendly dogs during early life . However, for a variety of reasons, that doesn’t always happen, and such pups can grow up with poor social skills, unable to decipher and understand the body language of other dogs. As they mature, they can develop fear-based dog aggression—barking, growling, lunging or worse, which often gets more ingrained with time.

It would intuitively seem like the best way to discourage such behavior is to rebuke the dog or give a quick pop on the leash to reprimand for dog agression. However, doing so actually makes things worse, as punishment simply reinforces his anxiety that being around other dogs means bad things will happen. Read the rest of this entry »