Aggressive Dog Rescue
Author: Alina Andreeva
Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 50 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.View all 58 articles Learn about our editorial process and veterinary review board.
Vet reviewed by:Dr. Joanna De Klerk
by Dr. Joanna De Klerk
Dr. Joanna de Klerk is a professional Clinical Veterinarian. Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK and a member of the South African Veterinary Association. Graduated with a Master of Science in Tropical Animal Medicine in 2018. Professional author, she has been writing in scientific journals, and also several book series. Joanna loves to enjoy time with her young daughter and family in her free time.View all 9 articles Learn about our veterinary review board
Updated on: 01/11/2021
If you are a dog parent of an aggressive hound, you might have tried various methods to soften your dog’s character and make life a bit easier for both of you. Your methods might not have worked out, either because they were incorrect, maybe you didn’t know what to do. Now, hostile behavior may have become a regular part of your pup’s life.
It is an enormous responsibility to own an aggressive dog. The costs for treating canine bites may put a considerable dent in your bank balance, and this explains why most insurance companies do not want to cover hounds with a bite history. Not only that, but dog bites can cause serious injuries to yourself, friends and family members. And it would be best if you remembered that you are responsible for that in the eyes of the law.
Causes of Dog Aggressive Behavior
If your pet shows signs of aggression, you need to think about why and what situations it happens. Aggression does not appear out of thin air. If you can’t get to the bottom of its cause, then you will need professional help. But remember, if your dog shows signs of aggression, do not scold him or use physical punishment – this will only aggravate the problem and reinforce that it is ok to act like that, as you are acting that way too. 
So, let’s try to find out why your pet behaves aggressively towards you or others. And the first of the possible options is the breed of your dog. Few people understand that they should be conscious of the breed choice. For instance, a delicate girl should not get a shepherd or other large dog as her first pet, which may consider himself a leader in a “pack.” Experts do not recommend fighting breeds for home keeping, too active or hunting dogs require professional training.  It’s also important to remember that active breeds who are not naturally aggressive may still develop behavioral problems if not exercised enough.
The next problem is poor-quality dog training or lack of training. The way you treat your pup, communicate with him, react to one or another of his actions – all this forms the dog’s behavioral model. If you want your dog to grow up well-trained and obedient, devote enough time to him and do not ignore even minor offenses such as begging or barking at passers-by. The most effective method of training your dog is positive reinforcement; however, this doesn’t mean you can’t say no. It would be best if you become your dog’s pack leader but without using aggression yourself. If you do not engage in your dog’s training and teach your dog obedience, it will be difficult for you to explain to your adult dog why he can’t bark at your family members and why he can’t take away a pie or a toy from your kid. 
A lack of attention may also cause dog aggression. If you have a dog, you need to spend a lot of time with him. A long separation from you, being alone most of the time, lack of communication and walking can cause fear and stress in your dog, which affects both his behavior and mental health. So, if you see your dog becoming more aggressive, think about whether you pay enough attention to him. He may also be jealous of your love for other pets or family members.  However, it is important not to give in to his jealousy, as he must learn that his place in the pack is beneath other family members.
Also, dogs may behave aggressively when protecting their territory. Your pooch can growl or bark at your guests or even family members if it seems to him that someone is encroaching on his territory. To prevent such a thought from occurring to your pet, you should give him personal space in the house or the yard. Let it be even a small corner with his bed and toys – the most important thing is that your dog feels that he is safe and in control in that space, and those around him should respect his boundaries in this particular space. 
READ MORE: What to Do if Your Dog Bites Someone?
Can an Aggressive Dog Be Cured?
Owners of dogs with a bite history often ask whether they can ever be sure that their pooch pal is “cured.” Given behavioral modification methods that affect the hostile behavior, our current understanding is that the frequency of certain types of aggression can be decreased and, in some cases, eliminated. However, there is no guarantee that an aggressive dog will not show signs of aggression in the future. Sometimes, dog parents can solve this problem only by avoiding situations, people, or things that cause their aggression.  Other times, seeking the help of a professional behaviorist will decrease your dog’s anxiety, dominance, aggression, or alter coping mechanisms to reduce biting frequency.
Why Rehoming Is Not the Right Approach
Some day or other, you may consider re-homing your pooch as an easy way out, but this decision is often not in the best interests of your dog.
Re-homing is a high-stress event for most pets and will likely lead to increased fear and aggression levels. Thus, the new dog parent may risk getting seriously injured, and the dog may risk being put into a shelter or re-homed again – and the vicious cycle begins again.
However, there are a few cases where re-homing the pup might be a good option. One of them covers dogs that have inter-dog aggression. This is when dogs that don’t get along with other pups can live virtually trouble-free in a single-dog home. New dog parents need to be well aware of the problem, so they know in advance that they will have to cope with other dogs on walks and in other places where your dog may meet other dogs.
There are cases when a hound can’t get along with felines, small animals, and livestock. These dogs can be happy with a quiet life in households without cats, livestock, and the like. These are just a few scenarios in which a re-homing might be the right solution.
Dogs that have been aggressive towards humans for a long time should not be re-homed. Even if a dog is aggressive towards kids but does well with adults, he should not be re-homed for the simple reason that he is a liability.
So what to do with a pup who has a history of resorting to aggression? Putting your four-legged friend down may seem like a big step. However, it is important to understand that there are situations where there is little you can do for your dog. The best option is to ask a professional animal behaviorist to evaluate your dog’s chances for rehabilitation. This person can give you an idea of whether there is hope for improvement or whether the most humane measure is putting the aggressive dog down for the safety of everyone.
How Do You Deal With an Aggressive Dog Rescue?
There are a few steps dog parents can take before they decide to put the aggressive dog down.
- Contact a veterinarian. Some medical conditions may cause aggression. A sick dog may suffer from pain. Several conditions cause aggressive displays, such as ear infection, brain tumor, hypothyroidism, and chronic pain. Some medications also remove inhibition and increase the chances of biting. Likewise, your veterinarian may be able to discuss medications that can help calm your dog down and reduce anxiety.
- Consult a knowledgeable canine behaviorist. This specialist can tell you whether any behavior change methods and training can help your pooch pal.
- Many shelters will not take aggressive dogs (since their goal is to find a new home for a dog). However, they may know people who may adopt the pup if his aggression level is considered mild.
- You can choose to make an effort to reduce the liability associated with your dog by keeping him in a private area at all times apart from when exercising when he should wear a muzzle at all times. Muzzles, strong leashes, fences are a must for those who decide to use this option.
- While no-kill shelters may take a dog with a history of resorting to aggression, they will most likely never take a hound with a bite history .
- Don’t try to manage your dog’s aggression on your own. Remember: you cannot learn to deal with aggression just by watching a TV show!
READ MORE: How to Calm Your Dog
The Bottom Line
Aggression is one of the most serious behavior problems in canines. It is also the number one reason why dog owners seek professional help from trainers, veterinarians, and behaviorists. Rehabilitating your aggressive dog is a daunting task. However, with the right treatment and professional help, an aggressive dog’s behavior can be improved, and sometimes even cured.
- Sheaffer, Scott. “When Should I Euthanize My Dog?” USA Dog Behavior, LLC, 30 Jan. 2018, usadogbehavior.com/blog/2018130when-should-i-euthanize-my-dog.
- “Common Dog Behavior Issues. Aggression.” ASPCA, aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/aggression.
- Wilde, Nicole. “Options for Severely Aggressive Dogs.” HuffPost, 14 Oct. 2014, huffpost.com/entry/options-for-severely-aggressive-dogs_b_5668918.
- “Aggression in Dogs.” Animal Humane Society, animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/aggression-dogs.
- “I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue Mission.” I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue, 18 Dec. 2020, icaredogrescue.org/.
- Canine Rehabilitation Center and Cat Sanctuary. crcsdogs.org.
- Oursler, Teri Ann. Adopting Out Aggressive Dogs. 30 Oct. 2020, vin.com/vetzinsight/default.aspx?pid=756&id=7218009.
- Farricelli, Adrienne. “Considerations for Rehoming Aggressive Dogs.” PetHelpful – By Fellow Animal Lovers and Experts, 18 Dec. 2020, pethelpful.com/dogs/Dog-Behavior-What-to-Do-With-a-Dog-With-a-Bite-History
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