If your dog can be a little aggressive at times, that doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy — but it can still be stressful, because aggression is behavior that’s considered destructive, hostile, or that could hurt you or another animal.
And if you’re looking for strength training for your puppy, there are a few things you can do to make sure your dog gets the best help possible.
We spoke to Joan Hunter Mayer, certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Inquisitive Canine, to find out everything you need to know.
Can you train aggressive dogs?
good news! You can train aggressive dogs – and any dog.
“You can teach an animal anything they can do, both physically and mentally,” Hunter Meyer told The Dodo. “You can certainly train dogs to perform alternative behaviors, along with changing their emotional state, but dogs are conscious beings and there are no guarantees.”
To be clear, displaying behaviors that include aggression in no way makes your pup a “bad dog.”
“Under ideal circumstances, even the most friendly, calm, and social dog can act aggressively,” said Hunter Meyer.
If your dog is aggressive (or reactive) it is recommended to contact a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
How does aggressive dog training work?
According to Hunter Mayer, a trainer or behaviorist should first analyze your pup to try to figure out what triggers his aggression in the first place.
Hunter Mayer recommends that the professional you choose treat the problem with Fear Free tactics, such as:
- Counterconditioning – using rewards (usually treats) to make your dog actually have good associations with something
- Desensitization – gradually accustoming a dog to something, usually in stages
- Positive Reinforcement – Reward your dog for the desired behavior to make that behavior happen more often
And when it comes to aggressive dog training, as with any training, make sure you go at your dog’s pace.
“You’ll also want to use training techniques that motivate the dog, help keep him engaged and allow the dog to learn to trust those he works with,” said Hunter Meyer. “It is also important that the dog be given a choice whether or not he wants to participate in training.”
So your puppy may benefit from aggressive dog training – just make sure you never force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
How much does aggressive dog training cost?
The cost of aggressive dog training can vary depending on several factors.
“Some trainers may charge more for dogs that display aggressive behaviors,” said Hunter Meyer. “Training can also take longer, since you are retracting a history of learned behaviors and emotions while teaching new skills and changing the dog’s inner feelings and reactions.”
According to this blog, professional help can range from $100 to $6,000 depending on whether you are looking for a behavioral counselor, private lessons, or boot camp.
But if your pup can be a little aggressive at times, proper training can help him take advantage of other behaviors that are less stressful for both of you.