THIS IS A GUIDE AIMED AT WORKING WITH FEARFUL OR DEFENSIVE DOGS
Many dogs are labelled agressive when they present an unwanted behaviour such as defensiveness, i.e. barking, lunging at people/other dogs, and nipping or biting. This behaviour is usually down to ONE CAUSE which is fearfulness. Often fearfulness in a dog is due to a lack of socialisation, abuse by humans or a bad experience.
Dogs are regularly "euthanised" for such behaviours which is a tragedy and can be avoided. Some Canine Behaviourists or Psychologists recommend that you "show the dog who is boss" and advocate harsh techniques or cruel tools ie choke chains or spray collars or worse. This is not helpful and may make the defensiveness worse.
A fearful dog needs to be handled with humane and kind, gentle methods only. A degree of firmness is fine provided it is in conjunction with praise, tolerance and understanding. By teaching the dog to trust the owner, it will rely on the owner for protection rather than feeling a desperate need to defend itself in a frightening situation.
This does not happen overnight and is best achieved under the guidance of a humane Canine Psychologist and Behaviourist.
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23 September 2006
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