Hardly a day goes by when you do not see a news report about a dog getting aggressive or attacking a person or another animal.
In recent years, it seems that dog attacks have really captured the imagination of the public and news teams across the country.
However, the truth is that most of these attacks are likely to stem from poor training, a lack of control by the owner, or unresolved issues that were not dealt with in the critical stages of a dog's development.
The good news is there are a variety of ways to prevent aggression from developing in dogs and to quickly regain control once it displays signs of agitation. The key to curbing any aggressive tendencies is in the initial training stages.
Your dog may also have unresolved issues or trauma from previous ownership or experiences.
If this is the case, it is important to instil new behaviour patterns within it, especially when you are training it outdoors.
Dog aggression often occurs when in the vicinity of another dog or animal. In this circumstance, one of the best things you can do is keep calm - and ensure that your dog is on a tight leash.
If you remain composed, assertive and in control, especially when another dog is approaching, your dog is more likely to remain calm too.
It is also important to give your dog adequate space when out and about - particularly when another person or animal approaches.
After all, if your dog feels like it is trapped between you and the other animal it is more likely to get aggressive.
If your dog tries to attack another or starts barking frantically, pull sharply on its lead and issue a strong command such as "no bark". This lets it know that there is no reason to worry or get defensive and puts you back in control.
You may often find that you need to repeat the command before it understands and obeys. When your dog does calm down, it is a good idea to reward it with a treat, or by petting it and saying something along the lines of 'good dog' to encourage to remain composed in the future.
Written by: Hannah Dyball