Dog Aggression and How To Correct Your Dog Safely And Humanely

Want to know the one non-negotiable thing you’ll need to correct dog aggression?

It’s you.

That’s right. You. And your relationship with your dog.

dog aggression

And you might be surprised to learn that it’s as simple as Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug mantra: “Just say no.”

“But wait… I’ve told my dog, ‘No!’ before… and it didn’t stop his dog aggression…”

And as a professional dog trainer and editor of the dog training web site, — I hear that all the time.

Dog Aggression From
A Professional Trainer’s Perspective

What does it tell me? It’s an immediate red flag that the owner does not have a proper relationship with their dog.

See, once you’ve established a proper relationship between you and your dog– meaning that he:

A. Views you as his “pack leader.”


B. Understands your commands — (in this case, the “No!” command)

… then you’ve just eliminated 99% of the different types of dog aggression behaviors you may be experiencing.

Granted, aggression from a dog trainer’s perspective (from someone who works with aggressive dogs, everyday) is a little different from the pet owner who only experiences aggression from their own dog.

But regardless, once you learn the right techniques, aggressive behavior can be stopped almost immediately. Other times, fixing aggression problems will require consistent work and constant supervision.

I’ve put together a collection of articles that include the following:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Dealing with other aggressive dogs
  • Aggressive puppies.  (Yes– dog aggression can be a genetic factor, and present itself through aggressive puppy behavior, too).
  • Aggressive dog behavior, such as nipping and biting, puppy biting, dog fighting and more.

It’s important to remember that there are four main types of dog aggression:

  1. Dog to handler aggression (when the dog shows aggression toward the owner)
  2. Dog to dog aggression (when the dog shows aggression toward other dogs, but not to humans)
  3. Dog to other animal aggression (such as killing chickens).
  4. Pain-reactive aggression.

Within these four categories of dog aggression, there are several sub-categories, such as:

  1. Dominance aggression
  2. Defensive aggression
  3. Fear aggression
  4. Territorial aggression
  5. Protective aggression
  6. Maternal aggression (protecting her puppies)

… and also several combinations of these sub-categories which can make diagnosing the type of aggression your dog is showing, difficult.

Three Things That Stop Dog Aggression

Regardless of the type of aggression– your dog’s aggression problems will be primarily fixed by:

1. Understanding the type of aggression you’re dealing with.

2. Establishing yourself as the dog’s pack leader, so that your dog will listen to your commands, respect those commands, want to please you, and bond with you more.

3. Correcting the aggressive dog behavior— which is fundamentally a way of communicating your displeasure with the display of dog aggression, and teaching the dog that the said dog aggression is not an acceptable response to the stimuli.

2 thoughts on “Dog Aggression and How To Correct Your Dog Safely And Humanely”

  1. Adam,
    I need your help. My 1 1/2 year old poodle showed his teeth and looked like he was about to bite a tall man while he was trying to be friendly (probably interpreted as aggression). My poodle works at a nursing home. This is not the first time he has barked (sounding like a protective bark), running up toward the person with tail wagging. This usually happens once a week or so. I have not been totally sure if he was playing, but now I think it is fear. He has entered beginners obedience training for a solid year and is pretty well trained. I am clear that he should always be on a leash. In this instance, I bopped his muzzle very quickly, sternly said “no.” and immediately, put him in his crate. The correction surprised him, his tail went between his legs and he was submissive. He willingly went to his crate. I took him out a bit later, he wanted to make up with me. The man he did not like said he was more than happy to be reintroduced. My poodle was not comfortable (tail down), but there was no aggression. Of course, my issue is not just this man, but also other tall people who want to be playful. I sometimes use a prong collar for teaching. Do I need to just set up more scenarios? Correct him with the prong. I know how to do it properly, and praise the good behavior? The residents at my home love him. Normally, he is not a fearful dog nor is he really into being touched by everyone. H walks proudly beside the wheelchairs as they hold his leash. He obediantly sits as they give hime treats. He usually retrieves for about an hour every night. He runs in the park with me a half hour every morning. We train and play at lunch and he is with me most of the day. I usually give home a couple hour nap. He plays with our corgi when the corgi is in the mood. Do you have any ideas? I have read your site since he was a puppy.

    Thank you so much.


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