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Aggression And Leadership

Positioning yourself as leader through (amongst other things) obedience training, will help your dog. Besides basic obedience training, you’ll also need to learn something about dog psychology, all the while keeping in mind that positioning yourself as leader is NOT about domination.

Dogs Like To Play Follow-The-Leader

Dogs are more likely listen to those they perceive as leaders, and the more your dog listens to you, the more you’ll be able to keep him safe - remember, you understand the dangers of the human-made aspects of the world much more clearly than your dog.

Positioning yourself as leader can also help with aggression. When you’re firmly in the position of leader, dogs feel secure and don’t feel the need to challenge through aggression. This doesn’t mean that holding the leadership role is a cure-all for aggression - aggression is a complicated and multi-faceted topic. But certainly a common reason for it arising to begin with is lack of strong leadership resulting in the dog trying to take control of the pack. And so regaining the leadership role can, in some cases, help to eliminate or reduce a dog’s aggression.

Violence Is NOT A Solution

There’s a wealth of information around the topics of leadership and aggression, so I won't go into details here, but I will say this: violence is NOT a solution. Hitting an aggressive dog only compounds the problem, and is unethical. A dog trainer once told me that if you think hitting a dog is the way to go, what you should do is roll up a newspaper and hit yourself in the head with it. That will do more for the dog than using it on him, as it'll serve as a reminder that violence doesn't solve a thing.

I advise that you outline your dog’s aggression issues to your vet, who will then help you to find a trainer and behaviourist to help you help your dog.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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