Essay

When Your Great Dane is Aggressive: What to Do and How to Fix It

It’s common to refer to Great Danes as “gentle giants.” On the other hand, a lot of Great Dane bloodlines are wary of strangers, and some might even have protective tendencies. These dogs were actually formerly widely used as security dogs.

When your Great Dane is young, socialisation can help avoid aggression, fear, and protectiveness. Your dog learns through socialisation that strangers aren’t always “bad guys.”

Great Danes may develop hostile behaviour if this initial stage of socialisation is skipped. Aggression in Great Danes can also result from illnesses, hormonal fluctuations, or trauma. Because they are so big, it’s critical that aggression is addressed right away.

How to Handle an Aggressive Great Dane

As soon as possible following an aggressive episode, you should prioritise making sure everyone is secure. Your objective should not be to provoke a growling dog further, and you should not disregard their growls.

Get rid of the trigger that made the person aggressive. Your dog should be kept apart from the stranger if it started snarling when the stranger entered your house. Even if they weren’t triggers, keep kids and other animals away from the area. A tense Great Dane can quickly lose it due to the loud actions of children.

If you can, keep your dog from biting by wearing a muzzle. If your dog is housebroken, you should take him outside, ideally into a crate. That being said, it might be wise for everyone else to leave the room if forcing your dog in a different direction results in more snarling and other hostile behaviours.

To put it plainly, you should exert every effort to decelerate the situation and stop biting.

Why Are Great Danes Aggressive?

As previously mentioned, socialisation frequently reduces the likelihood of aggressiveness. Nonetheless, there are numerous situations in which socialisation isn’t feasible (like when you adopt your dog later in life) or in which a Great Dane may unexpectedly turn hostile even after being socialised.

For dog owners, sudden hostility can be very confusing, particularly if your Great Dane has never displayed aggression in the past. However, pain or an underlying medical condition is nearly always the source of abrupt violence. When your dog is hurt, they may become aggressive in an effort to defend themselves.

Dogs don’t always exhibit symptoms of disease. Even if all you observe is abrupt hostility, that should be reason enough for you to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Even when they are not painful, hormonal abnormalities like those brought on by the thyroid can also produce hostility. Your dog’s behaviour is determined by hormones. Their behaviours are subject to alter if their hormones do.

Aggression can also be a symptom of neurological diseases. For example, because epilepsy affects the dog’s perception before to, during, and after an episode, it might occasionally result in hostility.

Fear is typically the root cause of aggression that is connected to particular stimuli. Certain Great Danes may exhibit fear when placed in unfamiliar circumstances or in the company of strangers. Dog aggression is mostly brought on by fear, which is why socialisation is so effective at reducing aggression. When a dog is exposed to something enough, their fear of it usually goes away.

When their triggers are absent, dogs who exhibit fear-based aggressiveness are typically completely stable. This may be excellent news if avoiding their triggers is simple. If you only stay away from the triggers, they won’t act aggressively. Desensitisation and training might be required in other situations.

Aggression is another common reaction in disappointed Great Danes. This is frequently more the result of stress building up to an explosive display of aggression. For example, a toddler may initially show no reaction if they are climbing all over your Great Dane. However, after a few minutes, they can lose patience and snap.

Your dog is getting frustrated with the child’s behaviour, but they are not afraid of them.

Excessive frustration might also result from a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Poorly cared for dogs are more likely to be nervous, and nervous dogs are more prone to become frustrated.

How to Fix Great Dane Aggression?

Following everyone’s safety, you can decide how to handle your dog’s hostility. In some circumstances, creating a customised training plan could require consulting a behaviourist or trainer.

Positive reinforcement should be used, as in most training, to honour composed, proper behaviour. The usage of counter-conditioning is common. This usually entails exposing your dog to their trigger and rewarding them with goodies if they remain calm. Your dog gradually adjusts to the trigger and starts to link it to rewards.

If your dog’s aggression is a result of a medical condition, it has to be treated. The dog usually goes back to being their normal, non-aggressive selves once the discomfort has subsided. It’s not a given that a dog who bites in distress will bite again later. Dogs don’t “develop a taste for blood.”

Never punish your dog for growling, remember? Contrary to popular belief, training your dog to suppress its growl actually increases aggression. Dogs express their anxiety or frustration through growling. They are threatening to bite.

If you stop them from communicating, your dog will stop warning you when they are going to bite. Dogs who appear to bite out of nowhere are frequently trained to suppress their growls.