One of the most com- mon behavioral issues we see in many dogs is aggres- sion. Aggression in dogs is classified into several different categories: Fear Aggression, Territorial Aggression, Learned Aggression, etc. Today we’d like to discuss what treatment plan you, as an owner, can freely set up in your home to help your furry friend who may be dealing with Fear Aggression. Fear Aggression can typically be seen in a circumstance where your pet is showing signs of fear or anger towards a particu- lar stimulus. Common stimuli are: other dogs, men, strangers, cats, traffic, etc. There are five major steps that you can imple- ment into your daily lives that can significantly help your dog towards a more relaxed future!

The first step is known as ‘Avoidance’. In this step, the main goal is to increase any safety measures that can help your pet feel at ease and more calm. As the name suggests, try to avoid the specific stimuli at all costs. If your dog does not like other dogs, then avoid him from coming into contact with other dogs or strangers. If you are on a walk and you can see from afar that another dog is approaching, quickly turn around and avoid the situa- tion from occurring. You can change the route of your daily walks or the timings in order to avoid certain moments where you are aware that more dog walkers are present. You can also purchase a special leash, known as the ‘Yellow Ribbon Leash’. This leash universally gives other owners the mes- sage from afar that your dog is uneasy around other dogs or people and that they should also try to avoid the situation if you are unable to. In cases of passing cars that may make your dog upset at home, close the window and draw the cur- tains. Avoiding visual stimulus of the main target is always a key component in this step.

The second step is known as ‘Relationship Building’. In this step, it is important to cre- ate a healthy and trustworthy relationship between yourself and your pet. This ensures that he or she can trust you during times of need and distress. For this step we like to apply a well- known process called ‘Nothing in life is free’. This means that starting from this point in the treatment, you should make it a strong rule that your furry companion will have to earn any rewards he wants. If he displays the wanted behavior and simple commands of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, only then will he re- ceive his favorite toy or desired treats. If you are unsure on how to proceed with this step, you can always contact your local veterinarian for more infor- mation and even a behaviour specialist in your area!

Dr. Hakam Bhullar

Dr. Sifti Bhullar