Dealing With Your Dog’s Fear & Aggression

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If you are forced to put your dog in a crate or kennel due to his aggression or fear issues when guests come to visit your home, then learning about the true cause and how to fix it is past due! Fear and aggression typically go hand in hand together. A dog that is fearful may become aggressive in an effort to protect himself, but that does not mean that you can’t help him get over his fears and learn to be a relaxed and happy dog!

The Cause

The cause to both fear and aggression can be a deeply rooted problem from a lack of proper socialization or even a traumatic experience such as being hit by a car or even landing incorrectly on his leg during a jump. It is difficult to find the cause, but easier to help cure your dog of the fears that his triggers bring up. When your dog is no longer terrified, he will stop lashing out through barking, growling, lunging or even biting.

Most dogs who exhibit fear aggressive behaviors do so because this is what they learned to do in situations that frighten them this badly. They feel like their safety is in jeopardy, so they do the only thing know can which is protect themselves through aggressive behaviors. This learned reaction can be hard wired into the brain during puppyhood. A puppy will go through special growth periods in their lives called a fear period. The first fear period begins at 4 weeks of age and usually lasts until about 12 weeks of age. This period is especially important to do proper socialization with objects like umbrellas and hats, gentle people that you know and even sounds, smells, and floor textures. Socialization does not teach your dog to be social with other people, dogs and animals but instead teaches him not to be afraid of unfamiliar and scary things. During negative socialization experience, a puppy can learn to act out in fearful ways which leads to aggressive behavior as an adult.

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The Fix

Correcting aggressive and fearful behaviors in a dog is a long term commitment, but includes only short sessions using counter conditioning techniques. Counter conditioning is a fancy term for helping your dog change the way he feels about his triggers. Currently he is terrified, but in time he will feel comfortable and relaxed around whatever it is that scares him with your help!

Before you get started, honestly ask yourself if your dog is in danger of harming anyone. If he attempts to bite, or has bitten in the past it would be in everyone’s best interest to seek the guidance and aid from a professional canine behaviorist. The cost is well worth the prevention of someone getting hurt or your dog risking euthanasia due to his aggressive behavior.

Start with a handful of high value treats like real meat or cheese. Always keep the trigger well below your dog’s threshold. During this entire process, you never want him to regress to his aggressive or fearful behaviors at all. If he does, you have pushed too far too soon and must go back a few steps and work you way up all over again. As your dog is exposed to his trigger, make sure he is rewarded with the high value treat. For example, if a guest knocking on the door makes your dog go berserk start with only one knock on the floor and immediately hand your dog a treat. You want to get him to the point of expecting a treat every time he hears a knock.

You can build the criteria by moving the knocks, and yourself and dog, closer and closer to the door. Always provide that reward after your dog is exposed to his trigger. In time he will a positive emotion when that trigger occurs instead of feeling fearful and acting out aggressively.

Keep At It!

Some dogs may take a year, others only mere weeks to get over their fear. It all depends on the dog himself and your training abilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek professional guidance! Remember, always reward your dog for good behavior!

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The Perfect Pet Portrait? It CAN Be Done

You LOVE your dog, right? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog right now! We do so much for our canine companions while they are with us from feeding them a correct diet to spending hundreds a year on toys.  We also like to feed into our own emotional attachment with them through taking them on vacations, taking photos of them and placing these photos in special pet-themed frames. One thing that is missing, though is the ability to immortalize your dog through an individual, 100% original and unique pet portrait by a talented NYC artist. That is about to change…

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The above photo is a high quality original oil painting on canvas by one of the talented NYC artists through www.commission.nyc  This website helps to connect pet lovers with artists so that you can have the one piece of doggy love that you just don’t have – your dog’s very own custom portrait.

How do you get one of these, you say?  First go here and check out the site. You will find the mission statement under the “How It Works” tab at the top.  Not only do they claim to bring high quality pet portraits to pet owners, but each one is commissioned by a professional New York City artist. That is something you are not going to find on Etsy.com!

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Art takes time and cannot be rushed. These professional artists know this, and once commissioned begin with simple sketches. Finding the right portrait to bring through more than just your dog’s look but his personality, love and affection is a priority.  Traditional painting methods, when done right, will show a much higher quality than any digital painting. More love and sweat goes into it (not literally!) and when the finished product is ready you will want to reach into the canvas to pat your dog on the head.

Why go with this website? Why not commission your own artist on your own terms?  Much like any other website that brings together sellers and buyers commission.nyc will guide the entire process and make it so much easier on YOU!  Of course you will need to send in photos of your dog for the artist to view and get inspiration from.  The people behind the website, which are all artists, will help communication get through between you and your commissioned artist for your dog’s portrait.  It’s convenience and quality all rolled into one beautiful mission!

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More than just convenience, they will also help to match the right artist for the right pet owner. All artists have their own style, and some styles can really make certain dogs pop out of the canvas!  It takes all the guesswork out of picking out the right artist for every job.

Once the deed is done and your dog’s portrait is in your hands, the work of commission.nyc does not end. They don’t drop the portrait into your care and ignore any further concerns or comments you may have. Great customer service makes sure you are fully and completely happy with your end product and the entire experience!

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Now you can get $75 OFF your pet’s portrait when you use promo code NatDogs2015 for a LIMITED TIME ONLY!