How to Get an Aggressive Dog to Like You? (29 Tips)

How to get an aggressive dog to like you?

The way to get an aggressive dog to like you is to show them that you are not a threat.

It’s best not to act aggressively towards the dog, as they may view this as a sign of weakness and become more aggressive.

If the aggressive behavior continues, it’s best to seek professional help from a trainer or behaviorist.

This guide will help you understand your dog better, and find some methods that work for training them to like you.

29 Ways To Get An Aggressive Dog To Like You.

1. Build trust with treats
Many dog owners make the mistake of giving a treat or some sort of food as a reward when teaching their dogs a command.

The reason they do this is that the dog will follow a command if it means food.

However, this also makes the dog expect a treat after every command that is taught.

More than likely, the dog will come to expect a treat instead of just doing it for the love of it.

The best way to build trust with an aggressive dog is to slowly build up that type of trust.

Do not give them any treats at first; just spend time in their space and slowly move away from him/her when you are finished doing whatever you need to do.

This will help your dog understand that being around you doesn’t always mean food, but rather companionship and safety.

2. Build a bond with play

Like many things, play helps build up a bond between you and your dog.

If you are able to spend some time playing with your dog in a safe environment, it will help him understand how enjoyable it is to spend time with you.

Playtime also helps if he goes into an overprotective mode while walking the dog.

The better in shape he is, the more excited he is to play and that can help make him less aggressive towards others while out and about.

3. Learn your dog’s body language

If you want to know what your dog means when he puts his ears back, makes a face, or stops walking, it is important to first understand what each one of those poses means.

Also, note if the dog moves away from you when you move closer to him.

If he is a leash-aggressive dog and will pull on the leash towards you instead of moving away, take note of that too.

These small details will help your dog become more comfortable around you and less likely to attack out of fear when you are asking for attention.

4. Play games with your dog

Dogs love playtime, but there is more to the game than just being around each other and having fun.

There are games that can help you make sure your dog isn’t going into an aggressive state.

For example, if you see him stop playing and just stand there, play dead or make a funny face by putting your hand over your mouth.

Whatever game you play will help calm him down because he probably realizes that you aren’t about to attack him, so he can relax and smile at you.

5. Get a dog crate

If you have a dog that is afraid of everything and will attack anything that comes near him, then this next step should be the first thing you do.

Dogs can’t live in the house all day because it isn’t good for them.

The constant attention and affection can cause them to be stressed out and develop mental issues of their own.

A dog crate is an excellent way to keep your pet safe while you are away and show him that they are not in danger.

They can also use it as a place where they feel comfortable when someone new arrives at your house or whenever a stressful situation arises.

6. Use a muzzle for safety reasons

If the first step didn’t work, then the next thing you should do is to put your dog in a muzzle and call for someone to come take him out of the situation.

The best way to get your dog accustomed to wearing a muzzle is by putting it on him while he is still young enough not to be aggressive towards humans.

As he gets older, you will have more control over his behavior and will be able to put it onto him when he needs it most.

7. Be Consistent

If you have done any of the steps so far at all, then you know that consistency is the best way to make sure your dog has what it needs.

You should start with small doses of treats.

You should follow the same rule when you are working with him in a muzzle.

The last thing you want to do is give him more treats than he can chew through and end up having to bring him back inside for something to be done about it.

8. Ask for help from friends, family and neighbors if needed

There was a time when most people could not do it all on their own.

This was the way when people helped each other out in the old days.

In today’s society, there are still plenty of people that can help out with this task.

They may not be able to take your dog out for a walk with them, but they will drop by and check in on them and make sure that everything is going smoothly.

9. Be calm and assertive: don’t yell, scream or hit your dog

Be as calm as possible.

You should never even raise your voice when having any type of confrontation with your dog.

Only a firm but calm voice works with an aggressive breed of dog and it is the same reason that you should only talk to him in an assertive manner.

If you start yelling at him, he will think this is just another way for you to get away from him and go out on his own.

By kicking up a fuss, he will also become aroused and not want to cooperate with you.

If you follow all of the tips outlined above, you are going to have fewer problems with the little time that you spend together.

If nothing else, at least make sure that he has his own space in the house where he can be by himself for extended amounts of time without feeling stressed out by other people

10. Avoid eye contact

Aggressive dogs will often look at you in a threatening manner, using their eyes to indicate this.

This can be very dangerous for a dog on the receiving end of the stare attack.

If you are going to enter a room with your dog, give him space in which he can feel safe and comfortable but definitely don’t enter the room without an intent to walk the dog out again if it is aggressive.

11. Do not make fast or flowing movements or gestures

Many dogs will mock your movements, especially if you are moving slowly and staying calm.

They are trying to gauge your intentions and see if it is safe for them to go on the offensive.

If you flick your hands at their face, then they will assume that you want a fight which is why they will respond with aggression.

If you make any gestures or make quick movements, they will take this as a sign of aggression which could be a precursor to a bite of some sort.

12. Be vigilant of their body language and attitude

Aggressive dogs will often give very subtle signs of aggression that can be hard to pick up on by people new to the breed.

They’ll hold their ears back, growl or go into a defensive mode, all kinds of body language that can be misconstrued as aggressive.

If the dog seems very wary, backs away from you, or otherwise does not seem comfortable, then it may be a sign that this dog is not your best friend and should be avoided at all costs.

13. Make sure the dog isn’t hungry

Hunger is one of the biggest factors in making a dog aggressive, especially if you are leaving food out for them all day and not feeding it at regular intervals.

If you are going to take the dog out, make sure they have something to eat and then leave them alone until they have fully digested their meal.

14. Give it water

If you are going out walking, then make sure that the dog is well hydrated for the excursion.

If they are thirsty, this will make them more aggressive and they will be much more likely to become aggressive.

If nothing else, just carry water for them and make sure that they have access to it at all times, or else it is going to be extremely hard to get your dog to go out with you on any routine basis.

15. Bring treats

Bringing treats can be a great way to get your dog to be more social and friendly.

Many aggressive dogs will become more aggressive when they think that they’re about to get something good out of it, so you have to be very careful with this.

You want them to feel that they are in control and getting something in return for their behavior, so try not to overdo it with the rewards.

If you are going out with your dog, make sure that there is at least one treat in the bag but no more than that if you want to keep them happy.

16. Let them smell you first

Aggressive dogs get really excited when they meet new people.

They don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but they are very curious about you and what it is that you are doing with them.

When a dog meets a new person, animals have the habit of sniffing out the human’s scent to see if they’ve been in trouble or not.

If the dog smells the scent of another dog on you, then they may assume that you are there to fight them and then act accordingly.

17. Take them to a place they are familiar with

If you are training your dog not to be aggressive, then it just doesn’t make sense for you to take him out onto a busy street where there may be many dangers for your safety and his well-being.

It is better to take them to a more controlled environment where there will be little to no risk.

If you are just bringing your dog out for a walk, then you may want to take them along the route that you usually take and make sure that they’re always on their leash in case they try and escape the rope.

18. Pat the dog slowly after it has calmed down

When a dog goes into an aggressive attack mode, its behavior can become very erratic and unpredictable.

If you’re not careful, you can end up being the victim of biting and you may very well have no idea where it came from.

You need to just wait patiently until your dog calms down and stops its weird behavior.

Once this happens, just praise them immediately and pat them gently on their back to reward them for showing restraint.

19. Be patient

If you are looking to train your dog not to be aggressive, then it is going to take a lot of patience and consistency on your part.

You need to show them that they are always safe around you and that they can rely on you if they ever become aggressive.

20. Be careful when controlling them

When you are training your dog not to be aggressive, you need to be very careful when they are on the leash.

If they are in an agitated state and not feeling comfortable about where you are taking them, then they may take it as a signal to attack and this could result in serious injury if it is a more powerful breed.

It is highly recommended that you do not let your dog off the leash until it calms down.

21. Speak to them

Dogs respond well to training if you speak to them in a calm, friendly manner.

They will begin to feel more confident when they know that you’re on their side and that you are not going to hurt them at all.

There is no need for you to be aggressive or make threats towards your dog either because this will just cause them to become even angrier and more aggressive themselves.

22. Control their environment

If you want your dog to respond well to training, then you need to control what they are exposed to as much as you can.

If they’re exposed to any type of aggression that taunts them, they will become more aggressive and it can take a lot more than just a single incident for them to put up with this kind of behavior for long periods.

If you’re not there to stop it, then they might resort to biting your other pets or yourself which could be a really dangerous situation.

23. Use their name as a cue for good behavior

A dog should know that any type of aggression is not allowed in its presence as well as whether or not it is safe to follow you.

Dogs respond better if you speak to them and use their names as cues for good behaviour.

When you speak to them in friendly tones, it will help to calm them down and they’ll be more likely to listen to you the next time that they become upset at something or someone.

24. Use a clicker method

A clicker method is one of the most effective ways to train your dog how to respond positively in almost any situation.

The clicker goes as a reward for them and it lets them know that they’ve done the right thing.

If you want your dog to follow your commands, then you need to be firm in the tone of your voice even if you are using their name as well.

25. Use a spray bottle filled with water

A spray bottle can be a great way to stop your dog from biting or attacking anyone else, but especially if you’re at home.

A spray bottle filled with water can be used to keep them at bay if they get too aggressive and you will need to be sure that you have their attention before you begin to use this kind of tactic.

If you’ve never sprayed your dog with a water bottle before, then it is recommended that you try it while they’re not looking so that they don’t become upset or aggressive in return.

26. Use a leash or physical barrier

If you just can’t get through to your dog using their name or any other kind of calm and friendly interaction, then you might want to use something as a barrier or as a way to control your dog.

A leash is one way that you can use this for training purposes and the only kind of leash that you need to be sure of is the one that will not leave any marks on your dog’s skin.

27. Hire a professional if you need the help

If your dog is too aggressive and you don’t know what to do, then you should consider hiring a professional dog trainer to come and work with your pet.

Many trainers have experience working with dogs that have gone through the steps listed above, so they will know just what to do when it is time to help train your dog.

Training is an ongoing process that will take some time, but it can be very beneficial in the long run.

28. Don’t expect overnight changes in behavior

Nobody likes it when they see their dog’s new habit of being aggressive towards other animals or humans.

However, you need to keep things in perspective and remember that it is going to take time before you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior.

It may take several months of working with him before you see the results that you want.

29. Don’t give up!

There are numerous stories throughout history about dogs that have been violent towards humans and animals, but they eventually get over it.

Whether they live with a family member or are adopted out to a loving home, these dogs go on to flourish for years after their scary life was turned around by someone who took them in and gave them what they needed in order to heal and become a better dog in the long run.

You shouldn’t ever give up on your dog if you can help it.

Your dog needs your guidance and love during this time, so it is worth a shot to see if there is any way that you can get through to him one way or another.

Final Thoughts

When trying to get an aggressive dog to like you better, make sure that you take things slow and start by being nice to them.

They will be able to understand that you are trying to get them to do things in a certain way, while also having the added benefit of feeling more comfortable around you as a result.

If you want your dog to stop being aggressive towards other dogs, then you need to give them as much attention as they need to feel happy and loved.

This means that you need to be consistent in all of your actions and keep them positive in order for them to work.

Resources

American Kennel Club

ASPCA

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