Aggression is one of the most misunderstood behaviors in dogs because it is not an issue in the first place.
Most dog behaviorists or dog trainers or dog parents make a mistake by treating aggression as an issue but actually, aggression is a symptom of an underlying issue.
Now, suppose if a person is suffering from malaria(Issue) and he is having a headache(symptom), do you think treating headache is the right approach or should we treat malaria?
I don’t have to answer that, but I think I cleared my point that we need to work on the root cause of the aggression.
The big question is what is the root cause?
Well, aggression in dogs is not natural and it is important to understand because most people think that aggression is natural or this breed is aggressive or this is my dog’s personality to be aggressive, we have to clear these false beliefs so that we can work on the real issues.
During my journey, I came across two types of aggression:
- Dominance Aggression
- Fearful Aggression
When you observe dogs in their natural habitat, you will find some dogs do project dominance over other dogs but they are not aggressive.
See, dogs are born with one of the two traits, either they are followers or they are leaders.
99% of dogs are born followers and only 1% are capable of leading, that’s how mother nature keeps the balance, otherwise, there will be chaos.
When you bring a dog into your life and because of your lack of knowledge of dog psychology, you unintentionally fail to provide leadership which makes your dog take the leader position, because dogs are pack animals and a pack cannot function without a leader.
Most dogs are born followers and if you give the responsibility of leading to a follower dog, then the dog becomes ‘insecure’ ‘anxious’, or ‘frustrated’ which creates aggression when dominance comes into the equation.
So if we provide the leadership to the dog then there is no need for the dog to take it.
Most people think that they can take the leadership by being dominant on the dog and the meaning of dominant person they have in their mind is someone who is strict, angry, and of yelling nature.
NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT, NO…
A strict, Angry, and yelling nature person is not a leader but a dictator. Both are different personalities.
We humans must understand and learn how to become leaders of dogs.
“Before we move forward, first we have to understand that leadership is necessary for all the dogs and not just the dogs who are having behavioral issues, if you provide leadership then most dogs will not develop any behavioral issues at all.”
Every aggressive case I handled and helped in, I did by following certain rituals which later became OhMyDog Parenting Model.
“OhMyDog Parenting Model is a Dog Parenting Framework which I developed after taking feedback from 100s of consultations, helping hundreds of dogs, reading many books, and through my experience which I gathered working on the field since 2016.”
I helped many dog parents understand dog needs, taught them how to provide leadership, and every day heard stories of dogs becoming calm, confident, and obedient.
BUT, my point is that no dog should suffer from any behavioral issues, and most dogs will remain balanced if people start fulfilling the needs of the dog on daily basis.
This issue is very unfortunate because prevention is very easy but the cure is a long journey.
If the dog gets afraid or fearful often and humans don’t know how to behave in that situation then eventually any fearful dog can become aggressive.
In all cases of fearful aggression, one thing was common in the ways humans were behaving with their dogs.
The most common mistake they were making was the timing of the affection, every human was giving affection to the dog when the dog was under stress.
The intention of humans was to give comfort but that’s not how a dog’s mind works.
Whenever you give affection to the dog, you nurture the state of mind the dog is in.
By giving affection when the dog was nervous, humans were nurturing nervousness in the dog, and that’s why it is important to understand dogs otherwise we will keep on doing such mistakes which later can manifest as serious behavioral issues.
I remember a very interesting case I handled in the initial days of my dog behaviorist journey, at that time OhMyDog Parenting Model was just in my mind.
So I was handling a case of a nervous dog who was according to her owner she was very unpredictable (animals are very predictable, it’s just our lack of knowledge of dog behavior we don’t know what they are up to.) and has attacked and bitten her on multiple occasions.
To learn more about her behavior I took her in and started observing her and found out her aggression is just because of her fear or when she becomes uncomfortable.
The way her human was giving affection to her was very intense for her and that’s why most of the bite happened when she was receiving affection.
I kept her with me for 15 days and in 15 days no biting accident happened, she spent most of her days in peace.
I just followed the same steps which are now I call OhMyDog Parenting Model. She became calm and confident in just a matter of a couple of days, which was amazing for me and her human to witness.
Her human started following all the steps and changed her own behavior first to help her dog become more calm, confident, and loving.
I love responsible parents who are ready to accept their mistakes and ready to do whatever possible to give a happy life to their dogs.
what is your take on this? Let me know in the comments.