Ask The Swag Gal (August 26, 2009)

Welcome to another installment of “Ask The Swag Gal”. Today I’m going to take a question that’s a little different than what we’ve talked about in the past. That’s right, this Swag Gal knows a lot about things other than fashion, romance and pop culture!

Swaggernaut Alex M, from British Columbia, Canada asked:

How can I tame my aggressive dog to being the innocent dog he really is? I really dont want him to be put down…

Dealing with your dog can be tricky, especially if they are not trained well from the very beginning. The earlier on you teach them good behavior, and the more consistent you are, the better behaved they will be as they grow older.

Based on my experience, plus some pearls of wisdom from Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, here are some great ways for you yourself to kick your dogs little tail into shape!

1. Refuse attention when aggressive behavior is displayed. Do not react positively and do not give in. This will only show them that their behavior is tolerated. (Parents may recognize this behavioral strategy from their experience raising children, right?!)

2. Refrain from aggressive play with your dog. Acting in a way you are trying to avoid is not going to help you. In fact, it will give them ideas on how to act. They are good learners! Stick to nice, gentle, friendly play. Avoid: tug-of-war, wrestling, any rough play.

3. Socialize your dog. While you are out with them (obviously on a leash) let them be around other people. While in public around others, say things like “Settle down” and “Good boy” in a calm, natural voice. Do it more frequently as time goes by, and try to socialize around different people, old and young, men, women and children. This will help them feel safe in public and with strangers.

4. Have quiet time. Set aside a certain time of day where you are nice and relaxed. This will force your dog to come down from their aggressive, hyperactive play and wind down. Besides, nothing is cuter than a calm, sleepy pup!

Of course, if your dog is more of a “maniac”, you may have no choice, but to pay a professional dog trainer to take care of it. Don’t settle, though without trying out these tactics first!

And please, whatever you choose to do, please avoid the temptation to sing “Who let the dogs out?” when talking about man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

Good luck Alex! And to the rest of you, I’ll be seeing you this Friday!