How to Create an Aggressive Dog
Okay, so that was a little tongue in cheek… most people don’t want to create an aggressive dog, protective maybe, but that is a whole different article for more on creating a dog that intimidates people click here!
But sometimes we silly humans do things to our dogs that they don’t understand; or for them so clearly breeds aggression because although we expect our dogs to understand us and learn our language; we so rarely learn theirs!
I have gotten quite a few comments lately about dogs being left on a tie out, or tie down, or tether or *gasp a chain (I hate, hate, hate chains that denotes a permanent tie out to me, but however you want to put it) and becoming overly aggressive; “For no apparent reason”.
So Let’s Break This Down
What The Human Thinks
- I want to put/leave my dog outside but I am having trouble containing him.
- I don’t want to leave my dog inside while I am gone.
- My dog chews on things so I must leave him outside (then this, sadly, becomes permanent).
- My dog needs to be outside.
- Crates are inhumane; I would rather leave my dog outside where he can get some exercise.
What the Dog Thinks
- At first: Wooo Whoooo I’m outside!!!
- Why am I tied up?
- Why can’t I get away?
- What did I do wrong?
- I’m bored… maybe I will bark to entertain myself
- This is MY territory!!!
- … What was that noise?
- …. Who is that?
- …. GRRRRR BARK Get away from me person I don’t know…!!!!
- I’m so scared, why am I alone and tied up??
- Why doesn’t anyone come and visit me anymore? Where are my people?
- Look my barking scares people away! This is a fun game!
Tie downs often create aggression in even a normally social dog.
I could take a normal, very social dog and tie him up to a tree or a post for several days and you could watch his behaviors and sociability deteriorate at a very rapid rate. Some dogs, in high traffic areas, can get very aggressive very quickly.
It is frustrating, confusing and sometimes very scary to be tied up and feel like you can’t get away!
So at first when he sees a person, he might be simply frustrated that he can’t get to the person and be petted.
Then, he is confused. Why can’t he get to that person? Why doesn’t the person stop and talk to him and pet him? Why does everyone just keep walking past? What is wrong with people?
Confusion leads to agitation and irritation as he continues to ask himself these questions.
Now, let us all admit that some people, especially children like to tease a dog on a tie down.
This teasing leads to more frustration and agitation which quickly leads to aggression.
Pretty soon it doesn’t take anything other than seeing someone walk by for the dog to get defensive and irritated.
And remember, that was a normally social dog.
Now imagine a nervous or fearful dog, or an already aggressive dog… and you have a faster recipe for disaster.
What People Don’t Realize
Dogs are easily visually stimulated (by almost everything… squirrels, kids, people, bags floating past) and when they realize they are stuck in one place they become easily frustrated.
Frustration leads to barking and that often leads to more barking and pretty soon some aggression.
Boredom leads to more noticing of everything else that is going on; so in other words he might not have seen that squirrel 3 houses away, except he is bored so he begins noticing everything going on around him.
The dog feels like he has nowhere to go, no way to get away and most dogs are territorial (this is why they bark ferociously when someone comes to the door) so putting him on a tie out multiplies these feelings by 1000 or more!
Dogs don’t want, nor do they need to be constantly overstimulated like this! This type of constant overstimulation leads to a dog with serious aggression and over excitement issues. It is like a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD the dog ends up living in an almost constant state of panic and over stimulation because he feels bombarded and under attack almost continually.
Even a dog left outside in a chain linked fenced area can develop some of these problems; but at least they feel like they can better protect themselves because they are not tied up!
What a Dog Really Needs?
I, personally, don’t believe in leaving dogs outside while you are gone; too many bad things can happen. And, as a professional dog trainer I have learned that dogs left outside often bark and barking dogs very often get poisoned (you would not believe how many!!).
I like leaving my dogs at home, either loose in the house if they will not get into trouble (but with the blinds closed so they don’t over stimulate themselves).
Or, in a crate where they can feel safe and they are not over stimulated.
A crate is a place to chill and sleep and maybe chew a bone until your family returns. Being left in a crate keeps you from worrying who is coming up the drive or what is going on around you.
I Use Tie Downs
They are not totally evil!!
Tie downs are perfectly acceptable means of restraining your dog IF YOU ARE THERE with them!!
I won’t even get into how often dogs break off these, or strangle themselves to death with them or how leaving them permanently to live on one is cruel and abusive!
Tie downs and tie outs are meant for restriction while you are with your dog but are not for leaving your dog on for any significant period of time.
I use my tie outs for training purposes (to frustrate them into barking for that article click here).
And, I also use them when I go to the park with family and friends to keep my dog contained in one specific area if I need to or can’t trust my dog off leash.
I even use tie downs in my house to contain crazy dogs so they don’t chase cats or get into fights.
But, I NEVER leave them alone or unattended on a tie out. It is just not worth it to me!
I don’t want an aggressive… or a dead dog!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.