A dog’s aggression may take many forms. Read Daniel Steven’s, renowned trainer and author of SitStayFetch – Dog Training To Stop Your Dog Behavioral Problems, consultation to a client dealing with one such form of aggression in their dog.
Our beagle, Benny is showing signs of aggression (we have noticed this for quite a while and have tried a number of ways to combat this but nothing seems to work) and we are at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with this.
The problems we have are listed below:
He becomes aggressive if you try and take something from him that he doesn’t want to give you i.e. if he has pinched something like a sock. He will refuse to give it back to you and if you try and take it away from him he will attempt to bite you.
Secondly, he will attempt to bite you if you try and prevent him from chewing his blanket or when you try and stop him from trying to destroy something.
It seems to be when he is doing something and you try to stop him or take something from him that he reacts and turns aggressive. We are currently undertaking the Dominance Aggression training and Benny has shown signs of improvement with regard to his barking and listening to us more but I do not think that this will combat the aggression.
However, he does not react like this when you take his food bowl from him or if you take a toy from him. I am very concerned and confused about this behavior and what can be done. Is there any advice you can give me as I adore my dog and other than the above he is very loving.
Thank you for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.
It sounds to me that it is definitely the dominance aggression problem, good spotting there.
Asserting yourself as the alpha dog is really important with any dog and it is something you have to continue to do through out the life of the dog. This is particularly true with Beagles because, as you know, Beagles tend to have a strong-willed temperament.
As a first step please review the “Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog” and apply these techniques if you are not already doing so.
With a dominant aggressive dog, it pays to not let them have the ‘run of the house’, as this communicates to them that it is their right to run loose, rather then a privilege. That is one of many reasons why a kennel or a crate is so practical for training purposes.
If it is possible it would be a good idea to restrict Benny’s access to anywhere that contains socks, or any other potentially ‘tempting’ paraphernalia that he may wish to destroy! In saying that you should still supply dog toys for Benny, as he should have something he is allowed to chew on.
I once trained a puppy called Jesse, who at the age of 12 weeks, had already been through three different homes. She was a Labrador x Staffordshire Terrier x Border Collie. She was very loving most of the time but did exactly the same thing. She would challenge you if you tried to take anything from her that she was having fun with!
What I did with Jesse was practice taking things off her and if she even tried anything I would growl my head off and chase her! Turns out I was a much scarier dog then she had first thought! She realized this, and would still try and challenge me but would then remember how scary I was and then run away and roll over on her back in a submissive pose! Eventually (having kept up this practice) I could take anything from her and she would be like, oh yes master, OF COURSE you can have it, just please don’t be scary! I guess my point is, is that you really have to be more like a dominant dog yourself, bare your teeth and growl loudly! (Act like a monster!).
I find that saying ‘NO!’ can be quite weak when said with a growl. If you say “AARGHH!” or “BAAH!” these sounds make a sharper, more effective growl when made deeply from the voice box. You can also try shaking a can of pebbles to accompany the growl, it is non violent and quite loud, which intimidates them into complying.
For more excellent training tips and information:
For more information on Daniel Steven’s wonderful training methods on everything from the basics to aggression, barking and biting to house training, jumping and whining, check out SitStayFetch – Dog Training To Stop Your Dog Behavioral Problems