When dogs growl or bark at people, they are showing a sign of anxiety or fear toward them. this behavior can be dangerous for other people and your dog. You need to act fast before things escalate and caused things that are more serious. The least thing you want to do is punishing your dog for bad behavior, if you yank or yell at them whenever they growl or bark at people, they will associate people with bad things. This won’t teach your dog how to behave around people. They may go straight to biting if their fear is getting worse. The best way to deal with this is to shape your dog’s behavior in the way you like it by teaching them to associate people with good things.
Get to know more about what kind of breed your dog is, some breeds are more aggressive than the others regardless their environment. the biggest reason for aggressiveness on some breeds is that some of them serve a purpose once, e.g. Hunting, herding, protecting, fighting, etc. keeping your dog on the leash is the easiest way to keep everyone safe, keep watching your dog’s behavior when you’re in public space and be ready of anything unexpected. Being in control is a good first step in maintaining a healthy relationship between dogs and their owner. If you’re a new owner of a dog, recommended to read Easy guide to take care of dog at home for beginners and Easiest ways of caring puppy at home for beginners
Here are 5 methods to stop dog aggression towards people
This method requires time and patient and you can’t be pushy or you will just make things worse. Desensitization is quite a popular method in dealing with dogs’ anxiety and stress and teaching how to associate things with something good. Try asking a stranger to stand a distant away from you and your dog, and see if you can get a reaction from your dog. If there is no reaction, try getting your dog closer to the stranger.
Get as close as you can until you can get a reaction, try calming your dog by petting it if they are getting agitated. Each session should last only for 10 – 15 minutes and end with giving your dog a treat. After some time see if you can get closer than before during each session. With this method you can teach your dog to associate people with good things, in this case is a treat. Try not pushing it too far or your dog’s fear and anxiety will get worse. This method requires you to be patient, so just take your time.
2. Try the “come away” command
Take your dog to an open field or yard and let them explore a little bit, at random times you call their name and say “come away”, if they come to you reward them with a treat. after doing this a few times, you can bring a stranger with you, whenever your dog feel threatened call their name and say “come away” and end it with giving them a treat. This training teaches your dog to follow its instinct to come back to their owner whenever they feel anxious or threatened, to make themselves feel safe. Later on you can take your dog to a walk, and whenever they growl or bark at strangers, do the “come away” command and always end with a treat.
3. Avoiding certain people that they hate or fear
Dog’s reaction to people varied in many ways, some dogs are friendly to anyone and everyone they meet. It doesn’t matter whether they’re familiar or not, dogs can be friendly no matter what. The complete opposite is also true some dogs are unfriendly to any unfamiliar people, this may also include family member. But there are also cases where dogs are afraid to certain people such as groomer, veterinarian, post officer, people in wheelchair, people using canes and walkers and children.
During the training period you may have to avoid people that your dog hates, it isn’t being irresponsible or anything so you don’t have to worry of feeling guilty. Avoiding people is a safety measure to protect not only people but also your dog. You don’t want your dog to keep barking at random strangers. Though it can be difficult if you live in a house with children in it or in a suburb with a lot of children playing and your dog hates them.
4. Consult your veterinarian
No matter what kind of aggression your dog has (people, other dogs, other animals, random items), always consult a veterinarian first to make sure whether it is a medical problems or not. Medical condition can cause aggression to dogs, e.g. seizure, sensory deficit, adrenal dysfunction, cognitive dysfunction, thyroid abnormality and orthopedic problems can cause acute pain. Not only that certain medication and diet can alter dog’s behavior and personality, that is why it is important to consult a veterinarian to pinpoint the exact cause of aggression. If the problem is because of medical issues than your veterinarian can work to help your dog. If it turns out that there is no medical issued and then you can consult a professional behavior expert.
5. Consult your professional behavior expert
If your dog’s behavior is too much for you to handle then it’s a good time to visit a professional behavior expert. Aggression can lead to something dangerous, even fatal. And some behavior modification techniques have side effects. Even professionals have got bitten from time to time, so living with an aggressive can be risky. A professional behavior expert can create a plan customized specifically for your dog so it will be more efficient than other techniques. They can monitor and make changes to the plan on the go as often and as necessary, depending on your dog’s progress. And if your dog’s health is too poor or the risks of living with your dog is too high and to avoid any casualties, euthanasia is also warranted.
There are many kinds of professional behavior expert, such as Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), a veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB) or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). Look for the ones available in your area and choose whatever is available for you.
With these 5 methods to stop dog aggression towards people hopefully you can be more understanding on how to handle your dog. All in all aggressiveness can’t be cured completely. Aggression modification techniques can’t guarantee that your dog can be completely cured. But reducing the aggression and frequency of any type of aggression is already worth it. Even though you can’t completely cure it, you want to ease the pain that your dog feels. After everything that you’ve done for your dog, it is always a good idea to minimize any exposure that can cause aggressiveness to your dog. You’re responsible for your dog’s actions and as a responsible owner you have to think about the problems that aggressiveness can cause. With some times and patient your dog will gradually understand that will love and care you provided, they will feel and be safe from any threat. In return of this safety they will be more friendly and less defensive regarding their surroundings.