5 Reasons Why Your Dog Shows Aggression – Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

Why Does My Dog Show Aggression?

There are a number of reasons families search for a dog trainer, whether they want their dog to listen more or learn commands such as sit or come. The real and not uncommon purpose is that their dog has become aggressive or they adopted a dog that is aggressive. Many times families say they had their dog for years and out of now where their beloved pet no longer likes people outside of the family circle.

Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

There are five possible reasons for that aggression.

Firstly, what is the definition of dog aggression?   Aggression is defined as the threat of harm to another individual involving snarling, growling, snapping, biting, barking, and/or lunging. Understanding the contributing factors in aggression can often help in the treatment of aggression.

1. Illness

There are a number of illnesses that can occur to your dog. Families that have possessed their furry friends for many years ask why their dog out of nowhere is acting differently. Suddenly a dog that has never shown any signs of aggression begins growling, snapping, or biting. It may be caused by a disease or illness. Diseases such as thyroid disease or cancers such as brain tumors and rabies can be the cause. The best course of action is to take your pet to the veterinarian to determine if illness is the cause root to the aggression.

2. Establishing Dominance

Dogs are pack animals and dominance is a key factor in that world. When an owner does not show leadership and establishes themselves as a pack leader, new bad habits can form. It only takes two to create a pack – the dog and the owner. The dog will establish dominance through growling, snapping, or biting when they feel that their dominance is being challenged. This course of action would require you to seek a professional dog trainer.

3. Fear

Another cause that is making your dog growl or snap is fear aggression. In this type of behavior, the dog has two actions: flight or fight. The dog will run away and hide from whatever is causing the fear, but when they have no other choice, they will bite. This will happen when the dog is trapped in a corner or if the dog is in so much in fear it feels like they are being cornerned. Moving too close or being in the way of the dog during the flight mode could cause a fear bite. This course of action would require you to seek a professional dog trainer.

4. Possession Aggression

This next aggression occurs when a dog gets possessive of food, a toy, a bed, your yard, or some other object. The most common signs of this behavior are if a human or another dog gets too close to one of the mentioned objects they will growl or even snap towards whoever is approaching. The behavior can be shown towards a stranger or a family member who does not live in the house. The dog determines possession of the house and warns the person coming in not to. The level of possession aggression can vary on the object. For example, someone can sit next to the dog with a rubber bone in their mouth, but an aggressive sign would follow if it were food. This course of action would require you to seek a professional dog trainer.

5. Frustration

The last type of aggression is frustration and this comes from a dog that is tied up all day to a post or tree. After being in this position and wanting to get something such as a running squirrel or any animal that might be about, the dog will take it out on the owner because they need to release it and the owner is the closest to them. A lot of the times they are also behind a chained fence or even in the house and some breeds need to release their energy, so they will show aggression when they are not allowed to do so. Structured exercises such as daily walks can do wonders for the physical and mental health of the dog.

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6 Tips On How To Get More Focus From Your Dog – Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

Why Won’t My Dog Focus on Me?

One of the most common things owners ask is: How do I get more focus from my dog? I ask my dog to do something or even call his name and they just walk away.

Well, like anything in life we have to work for it because dogs are not born knowing, just as human babies are not born knowing things. How can we ask the same thing from puppies or even older dogs?

If we need to train a dog how to be house broken or walk on a leash, then we must do the same with focus. The following are the beginning steps in gaining that focus and improving your relationship altogether:

Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

Poughkeepsie Dog Trainer

6 Ways to Get Focus

  1. Begin by having your dog not run away when you are working them. A simple but not always used practice is put a collar and leash on your dog. Only skip this step if your dog is food driven and you are in a safe environment in which where if the dog walks away there will be no danger to your dog. For example, you should have him on leash if you are in a public area such as a park or a trail. You do not want your dog to get lost or get hit by a car.
  2. Now once you dog is around you on leash or off leash, off leash in a safe environment, stand there and when your dog looks at you reward them with a treat/food reward. If you have charged the clicker or key word then you use that first and then reward with the treat. If you are not familiar with charging the clicker or key word please review my blog on “Charging the Reward.”
  3. The next level is to walk around a little and once again every time your dog looks are you, reward them. The next level above that is to take them to a distracted area such as outside, maybe a public area where things going on. Every time your dog looks at another dog or person and then looks at you reward them.
  4. When you are walking them down the street and they look at you, it is reward time. You are telling them that is what you want. With the food they will be more eager to look at you and you will gain that focus.
  5. It is feeding time and your dog wants that food more than anything. They might be jumping, running around or even barking to get that food. What you do is simple: hold the food up in the air where he cannot get to it. Once he starts to give you eye contact then you lower it, but if he drops that eye contact the food goes back up. If you are able to drop the food down to the ground and he goes for it, take the food up out of his reach once again and start all over. He cannot go and start eating the food until you give him the “ok” command. That command can be anything you want for example “eat”, “get it” or even “ok,” as long as you give him permission to eat the food.
  6. What is the next thing dogs love to do besides eating? That is going outside most of the time because they have to go to the bathroom or they want to play. Either case it is something they want so it an opportunity to work focus from them. You can stand at the door and wait for eye contact and then you open the door for them to go out. If they break the contact just like with the food bowl, you just start from the beginning, in this case you close the door. In the beginning the dog will not understand but with a little work they will be giving you their attention to go out.


Want to learn more and train with Poughkeepsie top dog trainer contact us today: