Of all the behavioral issues we work with, aggression is one of the most challenging and also widely misunderstood.Revealing itself in different stages both inside and outside the home, its definition and meaning will vary from individual to individual. One person might perceive their puppy’s biting behavior as “aggressive”, while another might view their dog barking at visitors as such.
To offer a brief break down, here are shades and dimensions of gnarly-looking behavior often confused with “aggression”: viciousness, reactivity (pet dogs), and proactivity (working dogs).Viciousness is a trait, and it’s an extreme rarity for dogs to be born “vicious” and with strong intent to kill or cause great harm. When it comes to reactivity and proactivity, this is dependent upon context. Reactivity occurs in pet dogs when needs haven’t been met, healthy coping mechanisms haven’t been established, and instinctual drives haven’t been appropriately channeled. Patterned reactivity often becomes aggression. Proactivity, on the other hand, refers to a working dog’s eagerness, tenacity, fervor, and natural drive. It’s intense, strongly desired in certain environments and jobs, and is also directed and more focused.
Our goal is to equip owners with a deeper understanding of who their dog is, the contributing ingredients impacting state of mind and behavior, and whether or not they’re dealing with a case of aggression or reactivity. There are multiple triggers contributing to and influencing either state; so it’s very important to understand. We’ll design a strategic, customized program covering all of this, as well how to know and identify when aggression is loading up, what’s underlying it, what to do to control it, and how to help it to fade out.
Through this work, we’ll also be building and strengthening one of the most important ingredients of all: relationship. This new bond, level of trust, relevance, and respect, and manner of communicating and relating will drastically improve overall quality of life for both ends of the leash. After this work, you’ll be heavily equipped with knowledge and skill sets, have a deeper understanding of yourself and your dog, and will be able to enjoy certain freedoms and activities that once seemed impossible.
Before we enter into any training program or protocol, we first conduct the IBAC (Initial Behavioral Assessment and Consultation). If you have an aggressive or reactive dog and would like your situation assessed, please purchase an IBAC (for the appropriate number of dogs in your household) and we will be in touch with you shortly!