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How to Gain Trust in an Aggressive Dog

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    No Bad Dogs

    • 1). Put a muzzle on the dog and take him to the vet. Aggression can be caused by physical pain such as arthritis or even a matted coat that pulls at the skin. Unless you know the dog was abused in the past(a dog fighting or puppy mill survivor), then anti-anxiety medications may be in order to help the dog relax.

    • 2). Sleep in the same room and spend more time with the dog. This helps calm the dog down and lets him know that you are predictable. Make sure the dog is getting enough exercise, including a romp in a fenced yard where there is no chance of a stranger suddenly appearing.

    • 3). Use positive reinforcements for good behavior such as verbal praise, treats, toys and petting. Never hit the dog. Trainers at DogTown use positive reinforcement and also sleep in the same room as their dogs. They have successfully rehabilitated pit bulls used in dog fighting.

    • 4). Gradually desensitize the dog to whatever is scaring him. When a dog is scared, he shows aggression (bared teeth, raised hackles, growling). Have the dog on a muzzle, collar and leash, and have him see or hear whatever is scaring him for a short time. Have the dog sit and look at you instead of the object of his fear.

    • 5). Keep training sessions to a few minutes several times a day. Train first at home, then in the yard, and then out on a walk. In between sessions, treat the dog normally, with plenty of exercise, attention and TLC. Eventually, the dog will relax, even if there are setbacks.

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