Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
This is one of the most serious problem behaviors any dog owner can face. Most problem behaviors are just annoying, but a dog who gets aggressive can really be dangerous. Aussies are not small dogs, and although they’re typically friendly and loyal, in the wrong situation an Aussie can do some damage to a person. As with most problem behaviors, there are various different causes with aggression and the way you deal with the problem depends on the cause.
People tend to think dogs get aggressive because they’re angry. What most people don’t realize is that aggression is more often the result of fear.
Humans and dogs are both born with fight or flight instincts. When we get into a potentially threatening situation, our brain makes a quick decision for us – run away, or stick around and fight. In most cases, a dog will run from a threatening situation. Aggression and fighting are a last resort used when the dog feels she has no other option.
The common scenario goes something like this: you’re out walking and you meet another person walking their dog. Your dogs sniff at each other a bit, and then suddenly your dog starts snapping and biting for no apparent reason. What happened here was that your dog perceived the other dog as a threat – probably through body language signals that you couldn’t read and understand yourself. Because your dog was on leash, running away was not an option. The only thing to do in this case, your dog thinks, is strike first. Hence, you get an aggressive reaction despite there being no obvious threat from the other dog.
Next time: Stopping Fear Aggression
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