By Jodi Hartley

 

Nearly 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All dogs have the potential to bite and act aggressively no matter their breed or size. Some bites stem from a dog defending himself against a true threat, but many dogs bite because they haven’t been socialized to the world around them. Under-socialized dogs bite out of fear of the unknown.

 

Dogs who bite often suffer severe or even fatal consequences. In some areas, dogs who bite will be quarantined away from family and behavior tests are done to determine if the dog is a threat to the community. In other areas, the dog won’t even have a chance to be assessed and will be put down immediately. Sometimes owners feel they are at the end of their rope with an aggressive dog and either have the dog put down or take it to a shelter, where it will most likely be put down.

 

Even a dog who hasn’t bitten anyone can act aggressively and have a negative effect on his owner’s life. When a dog starts acting aggressive – lunging, barking, snapping –owners often stop walking their dog or inviting people to their home because of how the dog acts. They hesitate to travel because the dog doesn’t do well around strangers, no one wants to watch the dog and boarding facilities may not accept aggressive dogs. Vet visits and grooming can become a nightmare.

 

Introducing your puppy early on to new positive experiences and continuing positive socialization throughout his life is key to preventing aggression. To raise a confident, secure and relaxed dog, your puppy should be introduced to lots of new people, dogs, other pets, places and things. It’s very important for these introductions to be done in a safe, positive manner so that your puppy has a good experience with them.

 

Enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class lead by a certified dog trainer is the best way to get your puppy on the road to being a happy, confident dog. These classes provide socialization in a controlled setting with the trainer there for guidance, and dogs learn best while they are young. Puppy classes also teach basic obedience commands and help owners with other puppy training issues such as housetraining. Club Canine offers a Puppy Prep Class for puppies from 10 weeks to 5 months old.

 

If your dog is over 5 months old and displaying aggressive behaviors, you can still get help through Club Canine’s Training and Behavior Modification services. For more information about Club Canine’s Training and Behavior Modification classes and services, visit www.myclubcanine.com or call (828) 396-2597.

 

Article References:

 

Dog Star Daily: The Importance of Early Socialization.

http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/importance-early-socialization

 

ASPCA: Socializing Your Puppy.

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/socializing-your-puppy

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Dog Bites.

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/