Aggression and Behavior Modification

Dog Aggression and Dog Behavior Modification Consultations

  • Behavior issues (i.e. excessive barking, digging, bolting, escaping, destruction of property, separation anxiety, mouthing & biting, potty issues, etc.)
  • Control conflict aggression
  • Fear & social aggression issues
  • Idiopathic (for no reason) aggression
  • Possession & territorial (protection) aggression
  • Prey (animal) aggression
  • Redirected (frustration) aggression
  • Pack aggression
  • Play aggression

We require an initial temperament evaluation of your dog so that we can better determine your dog’s genetic disposition and temperament. During your dog’s temperament evaluation, we will develop a strategic behavior modification training program that can help you change your dog’s thinking and, in turn, their outward behavior.

Are You Having Aggression Issues With Your Dog? Below, we have provided a chart that describes the different forms of dog aggression

Breed tendencies and human selection for aggression have been created by human breeding practices. However just because you own a strong protective breed does NOT give you the right to make excuses for so called breed tendencies & aggression. In our mind breed tendencies & aggression are NOT valid excuses for dog aggression. If your dog is displaying aggression problems, you should seek professional training.

We believe control conflict aggression (or dominance aggression) is directly related to human-dog interactions only. This type of dog is very reactive toward their handler. This can be a very scary dog to work with. All they want is their way and if they don’t get it they go right into rank order with their handler who is keeping them from what they want. These dogs may have redirected & pain aggression issues as well. You see this aggression with high drive dogs like sport protection & police K-9 dogs.

Yes, it is normal for a dog to have some fear. It is built into their fight or flight survival mechanism. So, it is also natural if a dog shows aggression towards a person or dog they are pushed without a way to escape. Fear aggression can also be traced back to poor breeding and selective breeding for looks and not temperament. Genetic fear & aggression can begin to show in an 8 week old puppy. Fear aggression can also be learned & reinforced by other people and the owners. This is usually the reason the dog’s fear aggression gets worse. Some fear aggression can be easily avoided by properly reading the dog and the situation.

Idiopathic aggression means aggression for no known reason. The dog reacts and attacks with a lot of force and violent aggression for no known reason. Idiopathic aggression has no regard for humans, dogs or objects. These dogs usually show no aggression at other times. This dog will be calmly sitting by you one moment and the next they are attacking you hard. This dog has neurological problems and should be taken to a neurological specialist. Idiopathic aggression is not a catch all label. It is UNUSUAL for a dog to attack for no reason. USUALLY people totally miss read or miss altogether what the dog’s language and posture is saying. So, in the dog’s mind this is a valid reason to reacted with aggression.

All animals can learn aggression from their parents & piers. People can also teach a dog to be aggressive. Aggression is learned very quickly if a dog sees it works for them. Once a dog learns aggressive behavior works to their advantage they will readily use it in many other situations.

Social aggression is also a form of dominance aggression, rank order and hierarchy. Social aggression is also linked to just about every form of aggression on this list. Social aggression is usually associated with unsure & fearful behavior that is defensive and on guard. Social aggression can be linked to the lack of social experience with humans, dogs, animals and changing environments. Dogs who have had a lack of socialization do not know how to properly communicate in social environments. Usually dogs that have had a lack of proper socialization can learn how to cope and communicate with other people, dogs and animals if properly done to make the dog feel comfortable.

We believe territorial aggression is another form of natural aggression that is breed into every dogs genetic makeup. Yes some breeds more than others. Territorial aggression is another form of aggression that can be built upon very fast through successful reinforcement. Once a dog knows territorial aggression works for them it is almost impossible to stop. You can only control it. A dog will naturally determine their own boundary if you don’t determine it for them. We feel it is our dog’s job to be territorial over their home and family. However, it is ultimately our call as their owner to say who is welcome and who is not.

Possessive aggression is also a natural aggression directly related to guarding of valuable objects (ie. people, toys, bones, food, physical object).The dog will keep a consistent touch on the object while posturing. They own the object and they intend to keep it by using forward aggression to back the second party off. Aggression can be triggered by threatening or innocent approach by another dog or person. Teaching the “Drop It & leave it” commands are of utmost importance with possessive dogs.

Protection aggression is based on protecting a (second-party) person or dog. Protection aggression is directed at a (third-party) person or dog coming too close to the second-party the dog is protecting. Protection aggression can be learned when a dog is successful at scaring a third-party off by using aggression. Breed tendencies are important to remember when dealing with protection aggression. If a third-party approaches in a threatening manner then sure its okay for a dog to protect their owner. Again we believe a dogs job is to protect their family members. However the dog should still be controllable and respond to their owners command.

Maternal aggression is a form of natural aggression that comes from instinct and genetics. New mothers can have tendencies to launch intense attacks towards strangers (people & dogs) who approach her puppies. This maternal aggressive behavior is due to chemical hormonal changes within the bitch. Symptoms will subside as her puppies are weaned off her. However we believe once a bitch has had a litter of puppies they do not forget that maternal aggression and how well it works for them. We have also seen mothers develop more protective & territorial aggression after a litter of puppies.

We believe prey aggression is the killing of prey. We believe some dogs who have high prey aggression enjoy fighting. These dogs like to stalk and chase but they really enjoy. You can see prey aggression when a dog shakes its head with a stuffed animal until it stops squeaking. Then they leave the stuffed animal alone. This is unlike a fox, coyote or wolf who eat their prey.

Redirected aggression can occur when a dog is prevented from directing agonistic behavior toward their original target. Resulting in a dog unloading all their frustration on the closest third-party (human or dog) available. You commonly see this when two dogs are behind a fence running up and down the fence line when stimulation is passing by. Then all of a sudden one dog unloads on the other dog. In the dog’s mind it is the third-party’s fault they cant get to the targeted stimuli. Redirected aggression is very quick and hard then, Then usually the aggressor goes back to the original target.

Pain aggression is based on a dog’s individual pain threshold. Some dogs are more stoic and some are just the opposite. You will never know how much pain a dog is in. But each dog has a limit to what they will tolerate without reacting with aggression. Some dogs will try to mask their pain too. But others are much more reactive and will react aggressively when they anticipate pain. This is a mixture of fear and pain aggression and is a very reactive combination. Animals who have been injured can understandably be very aggressive due to their constant pain. This aggression can be very violent until the pain is gone.

Dog on dog aggression can fall under several forms of aggression and is a very generalized statement. But Ridley K-9 Academy believes true dog aggression exists and can not be fixed (just managed).True dog aggression is when a dog is constantly looking for a fight with another dog. Arousal can be stimulated by scent alone. They ignore the other dog’s distance increasing signals. In fact, dog aggressive dogs look for weakness in other dogs to exploit .Their behavior is not based on rank order. They are bullies with no regard. We feel true dog on dog aggression is NOT natural. However, we feel natural and normal canine aggression is being exploited by terrible humans who use selective breeding to create dogs who are genetically predisposed to be dog aggressive.

Play aggression begins when dogs playing together start getting over stimulated. At one point one dog reaches their individual threshold and begins to use threatening signals and reacts with aggression if the threat persists. Short intense unconfident aggression is usually the result. Play aggression can escalate very fast when a dog is just starting a socialization program. If the dog feels worried he will go right back into defense. You see this when these dogs are just learning how to play with other dogs. While they are playing they start to worry and become reactive again. Play aggression is common in homes with several dogs who play with each other too hard. Play aggression can also be very bad between littermates / siblings. Siblings tend to go into rank order and will use aggression much faster than they do with other friends. You will usually notice the more worried and unsure dog reacts with aggression first.