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Why Is My Dog Aggressive / Reactive?

At Platinum K9 we are often asked by clients “why is my dog aggressive” or “how can I stop my dog from being AGGRESSIVE”. Dogs are often labelled as aggressive when they display behaviour such as snarling, biting, snapping, barking, lunging and jumping. This may be reactivity to other dogs, humans, cars or seemingly unprovoked behaviour. In extreme circumstances, it will lead to an attack on a person or animal. Aggression or reactivity from your dog is stressful for you and them to live with. It hinders both your lives, but is a behaviour that in most cases can be changed.

In answer to those questions; Most cases of dog aggression / reactivity are misdiagnosed as dominance or protective behaviours. In fact over 90% of the hundreds of dogs that I have assessed and have trained, the underlying cause is FEAR or anxiety. It is important to remember that dogs do not see the world as we do. They do not think like we do and they certainly react differently.

Dogs act instinctively, overall they live in the moment. They feel a certain way and they react to it. They don’t display aggression or reactivity to annoy us, they do it, because it is instinct.

How you stop your dog being aggressive?  This is something I could spend hours writing about! In short; you need expert professional help. It can be done. The key to changing aggression / reactivity does not totally lie in what stimulates the dog to behave this way. The challenge is to teach the dog to REACT differently when it feels FEAR or anxiety. Only when we achieve that can we begin to change how the dog views or feels about what stimulates the aggression / reactivity.

Many clients come to us in despair and a residential training programme may be the last step after a string of behaviourists or local trainers have failed to change their dogs behaviour. Our client’s are always relieved and amazed when they see the difference in their dogs behaviour. This is achieved in a relatively short period of time. It is very rewarding for us to see clients confidence grow and the enjoyment of simply walking their dog return when we hand their dog back over to them. ‘I wish we would have called you at the start’ is a comment we hear often.

Expectations do need to be managed in some extreme cases, but in most cases we have changed the lives and outlook of dogs which have been labelled aggressive/ reactive to dogs with exceptional standards, including recalls, off leash heel work that are neutral to distractions in the busiest environments. Click here (YouTube) for videos of our trainers at work.

We would encourage all owners to contact us if they have any concerns about their dog’s behaviour. We offer a no obligation free assessment of your dog and will advise you on what we can achieve. Dog aggression is a misery for you and most importantly your dog to live with. Our mission is change your dogs life and give you back the enjoyment that comes with it.