How to Handle Dog Aggression
There is no real cure for inter-dog aggression. Instead, treatment is heavily focused on controlling the problem. Owners must learn how to avoid situations that encourage aggressive behavior in the dog, and to break up fights quickly and safely when they occur. In situations where aggressive behavior is more likely to occur (e.g., walks in the park), the dog must be kept away from potential victims and be under constant control. The owner may also want to train the dog to feel comfortable wearing a protective head halter and basket muzzle.
Training for Aggressive Dogs
Behavioral modification also plays a crucial role in the treatment. For example, dogs should be trained to sit and relax on verbal cues, with small food treats as rewards. The owner may also want to condition the dog not to fear other dogs, by gradually exposing it to other dogs in public. Unfortunately, the only way to assuredly prevent your dog from injuring others -- especially if your dog has already been involved in an incident or incidents -- is to put the dog down (euthanize), cruel as it seems.
There is no licensed medication used to treat inter-dog aggression. If it is largely caused by fear or anxiety, as opposed to a desire to establish dominance, then low dosages of certain Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Tricyclic Antidepressants, or Benzodiazepines may be prescribed.
Successful treatment of inter-dog aggression is usually measured by the decrease in severity or frequency of incidents. In addition, the treatment recommendations need to be implemented over the entire life of the dog. Even if aggressive incidents are completely eliminated for a period of time, relapses may occur if the owner does not strictly adhere to the recommendations at all times.
The term for the nostrils and muscles in the upper and lower lips of an animal; may also be used to describe a type of tool used to keep an animal from biting
The term for a harness that is worn by certain animals; it fits over the head and the nose
An animal’s tendency to overpower another, in character or in activity