Managing dog aggression so that it doesn’t occur is your first step in controlling it. The best way to manage it, is simply by avoiding the circumstances where the aggression is likely to occur. However there may be situations where you will want to take preventive measures in case anything happens.
Here we have collected a number of dog aggression management tools that you might find useful. Disclaimer: We are proud to be an affiliate of Amazon. That means we earn a small commission from the products listed here from Amazon should you decide to buy any of them at no expense to you. This helps us keep our site up and maintained so we can continue to help people help their dogs. We never recommend anything that we don’t believe will be of value to you.
Do not use any remote collars, containment systems or fences that deliver shock and vibrations as this can make aggression worse.
Dog Aggression Management Tools
While they don’t prevent bites, head-halters can provide you with a lot of control. The dog should be desensitized to wearing one. They are useful tools for dealing with aggressive dogs. The Gentle Leader is probably the most popular and recommended head halter by certified behaviorists and veterinarians. There is a fitting guide on the Gentle Leader site that should be heeded, as the fit is very important (see how to fit a gentle leader like a pro). Halti and Snoot Loops (see them on Amazon) are other popular brands – although they all vary slightly in their design. They are like a horse halter that straps around the nose and neck.
With all head-halters, muzzles, and harnesses, using shaping through clicker training can be really helpful to encourage the dog to willingly put their head or legs in and desensitize them to wearing it. Head-halters are not appropriate for every dog or every situation.
Muzzles can prevent biting. There are a number of different muzzles that can be purchased and what you choose may depend on the durability as well as the right fit. A muzzle should be used for a safety device only and should not be worn for long period of time. It should not replace avoiding the situations that cause your dog to behave aggressively.
But if you are in a situation where you can’t control exposure, safety should be your number one aim. Muzzles tend to alarm other people and that can work both against you and for you. It may cause people to shun you, but it may also help to keep people away. You will want to find a brand that fits your dog’s muzzle. Keep in mind that dogs can still cause damage even with muzzles on.
- Metal (dogs can destroy wood and plastic easily)
- Fixed to the wall.
- High enough that the dog can’t jump it
Many people use baby gates, but caution should be exercised since many gates can be jumped over or destroyed. Your dog may not be accustomed to jumping gates, but if motivated enough, they may try it.
This also allows the dog to be able to see you so they don’t feel as socially isolated. On the other hand, if you are separating dogs that are aggressive towards each other, it’s probably best that they can’t see each other, so using some kind of material to block sight (such as a blanket) may help.
Window clings or film are sheets of plastic that let in light, but provide privacy. Some are simply applied by using water and a flat plastic surface to smooth out the bubbles, which make them easy to apply and remove. This can be useful for those dogs who bark a lot and/or tend to be hyper vigilant with whatever may be going on outside, from people walking by to the wind blowing around debris.
Word of caution however, restricting the ability to see outside may be also restricting some important stimulation for those dogs. Those dogs who are left home alone during the work day and do not get that worked up by what may be outside may benefit be seeing outside.
You need to use your best judgment. The important consideration is to what degree your dog is able to relax. Some dogs can never relax knowing there may be something outside. For those dogs who find it challenging to relax, or who tend to bark incessantly at everything that goes by or when the wind blows, it may be of some help. Search online to find them in your area.
Drag lines are essential lightweight leashes with no handle that can be dragged around by your pet. It allows them to range free, but gives you the opportunity of picking up the leash. This is handy for dogs that are aggressive towards their owners as it helps you to guide your dog away if need be without getting your hands close to their mouth. You can find draglines in a variety of places, but you can also purchase a lightweight cat leash and cut the handle. You don’t want a handle getting snagged on your furniture.
Petsafe Sprayshield Animal Deterrent Spray (find on Amazon)
Used to be called Direct Stop, but is now called Spray Shield Animal Deterrent Spray. Hopefully you will never have to use this, but sometimes you will want to keep an off leash dog from approaching yours if your dog is aggressive, or interrupt a pending dog fight. It does not cause pain, but dogs don’t like the smell. You can get this from a variety of suppliers, including Amazon.com
Sounds worse than they are, but this can be slid in the gap behind the teeth to pry open a dog’s jaws that may be holding on very tightly without breaking the dog’s teeth. Generally they are used with breeds whose bite style is to bite and hold opposed to multiple biting. Those breeds that are not likely to hold, may turn and bite you if you use a break stick. Hopefully, you will never need to use one of these.
These can be harmful if not used correctly, but this tool will allow you to catch a dog without getting your hands too close to their mouth.
If you are breaking up a dogfight, then you probably won’t have time to put these on, but someone might. You can purchase different sleeves and gloves to protect your hands when dealing with biting and scratching at Amazon.
Shirts for dogs or people
One of the challenges dog owners face is keeping people and their dogs away from their own when they are working with them. This shirt uses a universal stop sign that people instantly understand placed where most people are focusing – on the dog. The symbol has been kid tested so we know that adults will get it more quickly as well. If people know to avoid your dog or keep their dog away from yours it may help avoid stressing your dog.
In addition we also have a number of other designs that may be useful to you.
These series of leashes can help warn people in advance about your dog’s nature. Although it does depend on people understanding what the colour mea, and/or reading them, you may find it still helpful as one more warning system. Again, if people know to avoid your dog or keep their dog away from yours it may help avoid stressing your dog.
You might also be interested in:
- Our 4 favourite dog books for aggression
- Therapeutic aids for treating dog anxiety and aggression
- Our favourite dog training books and videos
- Dog training tools and equipment
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