Dog Aggression

Quite simply, dog aggression frightens people – and understandably so. Some dogs get aggressive around kids, some dogs get aggressive around food, some dogs get aggressive around their toys, some dogs get aggressive around their favourite sleeping spot – it’s all to do with their frame of reference.

More often than not, aggression primarily relates to a dog’s specific temperament more than to its particular breed. If they growl, snarl, bite or lunge as puppies, you can be sure that you’re dealing with a feisty temperament. If you have questions regarding aggression that relates to breeds, I can give you guidelines but please understand that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dogs, breeds and aggression.

That being said, as we age, we may be better suited to dogs that have equal energy, size and agility to our own. Picture an energetic sheep dog with an infirm owner. Not an ideal combination. In addition to ageing, lifestyle changes (work, family pressures) can diminish influence over your dog, causing a change in the dynamic between owner and pet.


Dog aggression is an area of dog behaviour that I specialize in and the good news is that I get definitive results. For obvious reasons, it’s the one issue that sits uncomfortably with most people. It’s also one of the more misunderstood issues - albeit that it is a fairly common problem. I deal primarily with dog-to-dog aggression, more than dog to owner or dog to other people aggression.

In my experience, a vast majority of aggressive dog behaviour can be driven by fear and stress. Puppies very quickly learn that if they show teeth their teeth, for example, they can frighten away another dog or person. This kind of display normally indicates that the dog has had insufficient socialisation and/or control from early on. For this reason I recommend a puppy visit from early on to prevent aggressive behaviour from developing in the first place.

As I previously said, the old adage that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” just simply isn’t true. In actual fact, I’m always encouraged at how quickly dogs can make changes over a short period of time. We credit them with the same slow learning skills as humans when in actual fact they tend to catch on rather fast. You will almost always see improved dog behaviour after just one session.

Just as with humans, halting aggressive behaviour and replacing it with a positive approach takes time and requires steady commitment.

Please remember, there is a safe, calm, humane way to resolve your dog's aggressive behaviour. If you look at it this way, dogs aren’t naturally aggressive; they just display aggressive behaviour.

There are always other issues to consider when looking at aggression. We may first need to analyse your control and leadership strategy inside the home before we tackle aggression problems that occur outside the home.

Puppies, if you can believe it, can display a surprising amount of aggressive behaviour. This in particular, needs careful handling - a good future together depends on it. The importance of early socialisation with young dogs can’t be emphasized enough - it’s the underpinning principle to prevent aggressive behaviour. More often than not, aggressive behaviour develops through insecurity and fear, which brings us back to the dog not being properly socialised correctly at the right age.


If your dog was attacked at an impressionable age, it may have resulted in creating a reactive dog. By repeating aggressive patterns, the dog learns that its aggressive behaviour is effective. It’s the original vicious cycle.


If you’ve inherited aggressive behaviour through acquiring a rescue dog the solution will be different to one that I’d suggest for a puppy that you’ve had from infancy
The type of aggression and how it acts out manifests itself differently. Due to the complexities involved, I don’t offer a paint-by-numbers approach on how to deal with your dog’s aggression. Each dog and their owner will require an individual programme based on their particular set of circumstances. What’s right for one dog may be way off the mark for another. If you’re consistent and calm you can develop a leader-based style of interaction.

You will often see an improvement after roughly an hour session, but it can take up to 4 sessions of roughly 2 hours per session to get things really running smoothly.
Please remember, I have a great track record when it comes to resolving aggression issues but I can’t guarantee results. This is because the outcome is dependent on so many other things that lie outside of my one-on-one coaching sessions.

If you’d like to discuss your dog's behaviour problems with me in more detail, then I’m more than happy to consult with you. See Contact Me




"Itís not about the dog. Itís always about us. Itís always about the owner. Itís up to us to create an environment and circumstances in which the dog can thrive and be itself.Ē - Cesar Millan


††       BERNICE JAFFE © 2010

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