Dog Aggression at The Way of the Dog

The Way of the Dog Ltd specialises in dealing with cases of dog aggression, identifying motivating factors, and seeking sensible and ethical solutions towards modifying and managing aggressive behaviour. Shaun Hesmondhalgh has been working with aggressive dogs professionally since 1988 and is a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner.

What is Dog Aggression?

Dog Aggression is often misunderstood and wrongly interpreted leading to further confusion and increased frustration for owners when endeavouring to handle a dog that exhibits aggressive behaviour. Understanding dog aggression can be very confusing and complex for dog owners, owning an aggressive dog can be extremely stressful and significantly challenging.

“Aggression is behaviour like any other behaviour although often with greater emotional load for humans.” (Donaldson, 2004). Normal levels of aggression is required for a species to survive; however, it is determining what is normal that is sometimes the exasperating factor for all concerned. Although we can rationalise aggression as being normal behaviour in some contexts it can still be extremely uncomfortable for the owner.

Dog Aggression is defined in many different ways and sometimes given labels that provide no information of value when attempting to manage, modify, or eradicate the behaviour. Access to information, especially from the internet, is easily available and many have accepted without question the work of those that label aggressive behaviour with terms such as ‘fear aggression’, ‘defensive aggression’, ‘idiopathic aggression’ or ‘dominance aggression’ (to name but a few).

These terms can be extremely misleading and rarely explain the true motivation behind the individual dog’s aggression. The motivation behind a dog’s aggression can change as a situation unfolds and it can rapidly move from one impulse to another without notice. It is therefore important to note that definitions of aggression offered from some quarters may possess both strengths and weaknesses (O’Heare, 2007) regarding rationale, and as a result can sometimes be inappropriate and misleading.

I have an aggressive dog. Where can I get help?

When dealing with dogs demonstrating aggressive behaviour it is vitally important that assistance is obtained from qualified professionals who possess both academic knowledge and practical experience in working with aggression cases.

Advice offered by family, friends, other dog owners, enthusiasts or amateur trainers, whilst well meant, could lead to the exasperation of the aggression due to incorrect interpretations or poor advice being provided regarding modification of the aggression. More importantly it may very well compromise personal or public safety, and/or, lead to the unnecessary destruction of your dog.

The dog behaviour and training sector remains unregulated and views regarding approaches towards training and behaviour modification continue to be polarised. Unfortunately, this can lead to much confusion for dog owners seeking help and support.

At The Way of the Dog Ltd we take a non-judgemental approach to the problem, we are supportive, we are thoughtful, and we take an individual approach towards modification and management. Most of all we ensure that the problem is not exasperated. Contact The Way of the Dog Ltd now for a confidential and no obligation initial consultation.

Want to know more about TWOTD?

At The Way of the Dog, we believe that all members of the dog industry should be open and honest about their qualifications, experience and knowledge to provide current and prospective clients with the information needed to make an informed decision on who they want to handle their dog.

Find out more about The Way of the Dog, Shaun and his approach to dog behaviour and training by visiting the pages below.

Our Philosophy

How does TWOTD differ to other trainers & behaviourists?

About Shaun - In Brief

An introduction from TWOTD’s founder

About Shaun - In Depth

Shaun’s experience and qualifications

Dog History

Shaun’s personal dog owning history

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