#dog aggressive, #dog aggressionMichael Konstantaras speaking about dog aggression:

Have you ever been uncomfortable when someone stands too close to you? When their face is inches from your face? This feels like an invasion of your personal space, an invisible bubble we put around ourselves that is our comfort zone.

Dogs do the same. When you are walking your dog, the purpose is to get exercise, not necessarily to visit every dog along the way. If a stranger were to approach you and started jumping on you and grabbing at you, your reaction would be to push them away. This is how a dog feels when a strange dog approaches him. He may bark and growl and even lunge to get the other dog away. This does not mean your dog is aggressive. He is just reacting to the other dog.

People often confuse reactive dogs and aggressive dogs. Although lunging, barking and growling may be the signs of an aggressive dog, in certain situations these are reactions versus signs of aggression. When a strange dog approaches, your dog is immediately on alert and becomes adrenalized.

Remember that dogs are naturally playful. If they lunge or growl at an approaching dog and their body language is not rigid, they are probably just excited.  If you can give him a simple tug on the leash and get him to keep walking, you should be fine. If they don’t “lose it” when they see every dog in the neighborhood, they are probably just over excited. Their instinct is to protect YOU. If you have established yourself as the “pack leader”, your dog won’t feel the need to bark and growl.

Dogs can be dominant and still be perfectly safe and socialized. Jumping on visitors is often a simple sign of dominance, over-excitedness and a demand for attention. Although an unwanted behavior, it is not necessarily a sign of a dangerous dog. I can teach you a few training techniques to educate your dog to act correctly on leash to stop this annoying and sometimes frightening habit.

Some dogs are naturally more territorial than others. If you approach a dog and he growls, it is not necessarily a sign that the dog is about to attack you. It is his way of telling you that you are invading his personal space. If you continue to approach after this communication, he may lunge and nip. In dog speak, he already gave you a non-threatening warning, which you did not respect. The best action you can take in this instance is to listen to the dog and stand your ground. You can be perfectly safe by just staying “out of his space”.

So how can you determine if an adrenalized dog could be aggressive or dangerous? Aggression usually involves growling, a baring of teeth, and fur standing on edge. If the dog is slowly pacing back and forth and giving you glancing stares showing the whites of his eyes, this is not a good situation.

Whenever a dog becomes over adrenalized, the best action is to be still, calm, and stand tall. This is sending a non-threatening message to the dog. It is telling him “I mean you no harm and I will simply continue on my way”. This body language is a natural de-escalation in the dog’s eyes.

As a Bark Busters dog trainer, I can detect if your dog is being aggressive or merely seeking attention. A dog who goes crazy when the doorbell rings and jumps on visitors is probably not aggressive. This is a behavior that can be easily overcome. If your dog is showing signs either in a reactive way or aggressive manner, call Michael Konstantaras (or email me) and I will be there to help.


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