What Is Aggressive Dog Training Like?

And here’s how the training works 🐶

aggressive dog training

If your dog can be a little aggressive sometimes, it doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy — but it still can be stressful, since aggression is behavior that’s considered destructive, hostile or could injure you or another animal.

And if you’re looking into aggressive dog training for your pup, there are some things you can do to make sure your dog gets the best help possible.

We spoke to Joan Hunter Mayer, a certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Inquisitive Canine, to find out everything you need to know.

Can you train aggressive dogs?

Good news! You can train aggressive dogs — and any dog.

“You can teach an animal anything they are physically and mentally able to perform,” Hunter Mayer told The Dodo. “You can certainly train dogs to perform alternate behaviors, along with changing their emotional state, but dogs are sentient beings and there are no guarantees.”

And just to be clear, exhibiting behaviors that include aggression doesn’t make your pup a “bad dog” by any means.

“Under the perfect circumstances, even the friendliest, calmest, most social dog could still behave aggressively,” Hunter Mayer said.

If your dog’s aggressive (or reactive) it’s recommended to reach out to a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

How does aggressive dog training work?

According to Hunter Mayer, a trainer or behaviorist should first analyze your pup to try to figure out what’s triggering his aggression in the first place.

Hunter Mayer recommends the professional you choose addresses the issue using Fear Free tactics, like:

  • Counterconditioning — using rewards (usually treats) to get your dog to actually have good associations with something
  • Desensitization — gradually getting your dog used to something, usually in stages
  • Positive reinforcement — rewarding your dog for a desired behavior to hopefully make that behavior happen more often

And when it comes to aggressive dog training, like with any training, make sure you’re going at your dog’s pace.

“You will also want to use training techniques that motivate the dog, help keep them engaged and allow the dog to learn to trust whoever is working with them,” Hunter Mayer said. “It’s also significant that the dog is given a choice whether he or she wants to engage in the training or not.”

So your pup may benefit from aggressive dog training — just make sure you’re never forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

How much does aggressive dog training cost?

The cost of aggressive dog training can vary depending on a few factors.

“Some trainers might charge more for dogs who display aggressive behaviors,” Hunter Mayer said. “It also might take much longer to train, since you’re undoing a history of learned behaviors and emotions while teaching new skills and changing the dog’s inner feelings and reactions.”

According to this blog, professional help can range from $100 to $6,000 based on whether you’re looking for a behavioral consultant, private classes or boot camp.

But if your pup can be a bit aggressive sometimes, the right training can help him tap into other behaviors that are less stressful for you both.