We prevented 6 dogs from being put to sleep this summer. The answer to aggression issues is not euthanasia, magic, or medication; the answer is training.

Our goal is to offer the best aggressive dog rehabilitation in Northern MA and Southern NH. This summer, we sought out the cases nobody else would touch: dogs recommended for euthanasia by the owners’ trainers and friends. We’re happy to say that these dogs are now living happy, stress-free lives because of their owners’ willingness to make a change.

We’ve become specialized in dealing with dog aggression problems. Our process is reliable, but it requires hard work. When it comes right down to it, owners agree that their dogs are worth fighting for. If you’re trying to stop dog aggression in your own home, please know that you’re not alone and that there is a way to keep your dog.

There is an astounding number of dog owners suffering with aggressive dogs. These dogs may not go after their own handler, but instead show aggression to friends, family members, and other pets. Sometimes those owners feel there is nothing they can do to fix their dog’s behavior, so they resort to avoiding activities that trigger their dogs aggression. Other times, people simply don’t recognize the signs of aggression in their dog, which can have disastrous consequences.

There is no room in society for aggressive dogs that are out of control. These dogs aren’t only a threat to people or other animals, but think of the effect they have on the dog owning community as a whole. We hear about dog attacks in the news, and all too often the story is the same: “The dog had never exhibited the behavior before,” according to the owner. But in reality, the signs were probably there long before the wake-up call occurred. Unfortunately, humans aren’t always the best at recognizing the symptoms of dog aggression.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

-Benjamin Disraeli

There’s a reason that Pit Bull owners have a hard time insuring their homes and finding apartments: statistics tell us that Pit Bulls and other large dog breeds are dangerous. These statistics are only telling us about reported bites and how serious they are. What the statistics don’t show us is the truth of the matter. Here are three grains of salt to take your dog bite statistics with:

  • Breed restrictions have no foundation in animal behavior or real life. They are lists meant to protect businesses and towns from liability.
  • Dogs are not to blame here: aggressive behavior is a dog’s way of coping with insecurity. Aggressive behavior is often reinforced (or even taught) by a dog’s owner without even realizing it. Someone who babies their miniature is just trying to make their dog happy. At the same time, the dog mistakes its owner’s reassuring tones and handling for praise and keeps displaying aggressive behavior, because he or she just wants to make their owner happy.
  • Pit Bulls (and other dogs on breed restriction lists) are not more aggressive than other dogs. They have a bad reputation because their bites are more likely to require medical attention than a small dog’s. Bites from small dogs are often dismissed as playful or harmless, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, another study claims that small dogs (such as the Dachshund or “Weiner Dog”) tend to display the most aggressive behaviors. If nothing else, this should tell you that statistics can be used to make just about any point you want.

Don’t think that your dog is hopeless just because it made it into someone’s “Top 10 Dangerous Dogs” list. We have had as much success with terriers as we have had with Shepherds. Aggression can be controlled, and training is the key.

Identifying the Causes:

The first step in overcoming aggression is to identify its source. There is no one size fits all approach; every dog is different, and therefore each dog needs its own unique training program. Finding the cause of the aggression is the key to developing a training strategy that will solve the problem.

Most often a dog actually exhibits aggression out of fear or anxiety. A dog’s bad experience with another dog early in life can cause dog aggression down the road, and a dog that was not properly socialized with children or dogs early on may be aggressive simply because they are unsure of the unknown.

A good trainer can help you and your dog to overcome aggression issues. You don’t have to simply live with your dogs behavior, get help and learn how to change it for the better! 

Keep in Mind:

Proper socialization and puppy foundation training is the best way to prevent dog aggression. Your dog will learn its habits, good and bad, from the experiences you offer. If your dog is developing aggressive behavior and you want to put an end to it, keep in mind how long your dog has been acting this way. If your dog is 3 years old and had the problem since early on, don’t expect things to change right away. Your dog has had 3 years of experience doing things the wrong way with you and change in the right direction will take training, time and consistency.

You will be rewarded greatly if you commit to helping your dog learn how to behave in an acceptable manner. You will be less stressed and your friends and family members can safely visit your home. Rehabilitating an aggressive dog is the only fair thing to do for both the dog and the people in its life.