How to Handle Fear Aggression in Dogs

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Dogs that are fearful can often bite, so when dogs are being trained it's important to let them know that there is nothing to be afraid of. Learn how to teach a dog a number of commands with help from a veterinarian in this free video on dog health and fear aggression.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Health
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Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Dr. Greg McDonald. I'm a Veterinarian in Southern California and my hospital is in Santa Barbara. I want to talk a little bit about animal care today especially dogs and one of the things that people find when they just adopted a dog is that they're very fearful. And unfortunately dogs that are very fearful can also bite. If you think about it they're only means of protection is to bite and so if we move too fast or we go towards the dog too quickly, that's afraid, they're going to bite us. And so unfortunately it's one of the most difficult things to get control over. If you have a dog that's very up and just very happy and very aggressive as far as getting around and moving and doing things; you can really get down on his case and make him sit still. But for dog that's fearful it takes a lot of times; like ten times the amount of time and effort it takes to bring the animal up to being feeling comfortable. The best way to do that is to start what I call military school. In other words, teach the animal a whole bunch of commands. When the dog knows where he's suppose to be, what he's suppose to be doing, they're not as afraid and so if you take a dog and put him through the regular basic training and then teach him a whole bunch of things; sit, lie down, roll over and you can do it with treat training; it's okay. But the most important thing I think is to let your dog know that he's not having anything to be afraid of. It's also very very important in a dog that is fearful that we take our time and effort and not be too grapple some because that will make us feel backsliding into more fear and aggression and so we need to really take our time; be gentle with them. The other thing that helps a dog that's fearful is to have them a lot of positive exposures. So once you get your dog real comfortable with you, then you want to start taking them to parks and places where he's going to run into other dogs and other people and everyday that you do that and he has a positive experience it's going to be more uplifting to them.


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