fear and aggression -

Fear, Reactive and Aggression Issues

Article Written By: Chris Haworth / Manners Unleashed

Resource/food guarding, on-leash reactivity to other dogs, nervous around kids, and on and on and on..

This is a huge subject and unfortunately, all too common. Often times however, the behavior seems far worse than it is, and is a fairly straight forward remedy. Other times, well, it’s not so straight forward.

I know you’re embarrassed, frustrated, and wish he would just STOP it.

This is a behavioral issue near and dear to me. My 2 year old aussie/ border collie, Emmy, had many reactive issues. I was certainly in denial early on, “how could my own dog be aggressive?” It forced me to do many, many hours of reading, research and seminars on the subject.

Since those early days I now know that much of her behavior is genetic. Other manifestations of her breeding are a low tactile/high opposition reflex. This basically means she doesn’t necessarily like to be touched, especially by strangers, has restraint issues and is extremely space sensitive.

This is true not only of many herding breeds but more dogs than you would think. Labrador and Golden Retrievers tend to propagate the Myth that every dog should be friendly, happy and outgoing to everyone in every situation, all the time. Wow, that’s a lot to ask. We don’t expect that from a cat, or horse or any other animal. Heck, are we friendly, happy and outgoing, to everyone, all of the time…not me.

I’m not saying that it’s okay for your dog to act aggressively or “over the top” whenever he feels the need. To the contrary, let’s teach him alternative ways to deal with his fears, anxiety, hyper motivation, etc. as well as showing you ways to be a better advocate and leader for your buddy.

There’s enough information about aggression and related issues to give a seminar here, but for now suffice to say, there are ways to help most cases.

Emmy and I now live a reactive free life. She can be off leash anywhere without me worrying about an inappropriate response, loves other dogs and doesn’t mind the occasional pet from a stranger. I also use her during some of the training sessions with aggressive, “over the top” dogs to act as the neutral, well mannered, calm dog. She’s got great body language which helps to put the other dog at ease.

We’ve come along way for sure. Maybe we can help you. If I feel like a professional other than myself would be more appropriate for your case I also have some fantastic referrals. Drop me an email or give me a call. Let’s talk about some options.

For more helpful articles by Chris be sure to check out: http://www.mannersunleashed.com/blog/