Giant challenges: managing aggression in the Great Dane

Dog owner's question

"Hi! My Great Dane sometimes seems aggressive, especially with other dogs. How can I deal with this problem?"

Answer from the vet

"Dear Enquirer!

Despite their large size, Great Danes are generally very friendly and calm. However, as with all breeds, there may be individuals who exhibit aggressive behaviour.

The management of aggression depends on many factors, including your dog's personality, his environment and the cause of the aggression.

First, try to learn more about the causes of aggression.

Aggression is a form of communication in dogs and often refers to fear, pain, hypersensitivity or defending territory. A dog may be stressed or upset in certain situations and react with aggression.

A dog's aggression may be a reaction to something happening in its environment or to something it fears.

It is therefore important to understand what triggers this behaviour.

Observe the situations in which the aggression occurs.

It may be that your dog's defensive instincts are over-activated in certain situations, such as when it encounters other dogs. This behaviour may also be caused by your dog's previous experiences, lack of socialisation or dominance.

One way to deal with the problem is to teach your dog the appropriate behaviour.

Training based on positive reinforcement can help with this.

For example, if your dog reacts aggressively when he sees another dog, try to distract him and reward him if he manages to stay calm!

Consistent training over time can help your dog learn that calm and non-aggressive behaviour will be rewarded.

>>  Dogs and stress: How do we know when our dog is nervous or stressed?

Finally, it may be important to seek expert help.

A behavior expert or dog psychologist can help you understand the root of the problem and determine the best treatment plan for your dog. They can also advise you on appropriate training methods and help you decide how to respond to your dog's aggressive behaviour.

If your dog's aggression becomes excessive or threatens the safety of people or other animals, be sure to seek professional help!

Aggression is a serious problem and should not be ignored.

Please remember that dogs, like people, are individuals and each individual has its own unique personality, needs and challenges.

Patience, consistency and a loving approach to dealing with your dog's aggression problem is important.

I wish you the best of luck with your Great Dane! Thank you for your question!"