Is your dog overly protective of your home and family? Does your dog lunge at folks who come to your door? Are you afraid that your dog may not just bark, but might even bite? This can be a very costly bad habit. Personal injury claims due to dog bites can range from $26,000 to more than $500,000 in Pennsylvania.
Your dog may be one of the “protective breeds.” These types have been bred for centuries for protection work. Protective breeds include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, and Pit Bulls. Even dogs that are not considered “protective breeds,” however, can be unduly aggressive.
So how do you make sure your dog does not attack visitors to your home or folks who approach you when you are out walking your pet? How does the average dog owner accomplish this with a dog that has aggressive tendencies?
Expert Pennsylvania dog trainer Christina Barnshaw of Canine Creature Comforts explains there are two absolute “musts” if you have a dog that is overly “protective.”
First, you must give your dog extensive socialization from puppyhood through adolescence (2 years). She recommends beginning socialization at an early age — 7 to 16 weeks. If your pup has not yet been fully vaccinated (which occurs around 15-16 weeks old), then socialize him by inviting friends, family, and other well mannered, vaccinated dogs into your home to meet the newcomer.
Nylabone (whose chew toys are the bliss of many puppies' play times), recommends exposing your new puppy to a variety of people, such as different genders, ages, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes so they become accustomed to different types of folks. Similarly, Nylabone recommends some great socialization games that are perfect for puppies. Playing ‘pass the puppy' and ‘puppy recalls' will get your pup off to a fantastic start.
Barnshaw says, “The second most important thing is to train your dog. Your dog needs to defer to you when you tell them, ‘This person is NOT a threat.'” Expert training will teach you how best to train your dog. Some tips from our expert trainer:
- Have your dog under control (crated or leashed) when guests arrive
- Teach your dog to “stay” and make sure your pup reliably stays on command
- Tell your guests to ignore your dog until she is calm
- Desensitize your dog to the sound of knocks on the door or the doorbell, and practice these tips under mock simulations
- Be sure to enlist the help of a professional trainer who can help you effectively train your dog
The rewards are well worth the effort as you will raise a dog that does not terrorize your mail carrier, neighbors, or visitors. Better yet, you won't have to worry about being on the receiving end of a dog bite lawsuit. Instead, you will have a pup that you are proud to have greet friends and family at the door.
Are you the victim of a dog bite injury? We can help! We wrote the book on Pennsylvania dog bite cases — literally! Call us today for a free consultation, 215-576-5150.
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