There isn't any magic bullet to cure an aggressive dog. No secret elixir will transform a scaredy dog into a confident one. There isn't a pill you can give your dog to magically erase his fear.
However, recent advances in the study of canine biochemistry, medicine, and pharmacology has made it a whole lot easier for your aggressive, scared, or anxious dog to learn new habits.
Behavior modification along with medication can change a dog's life. Last weekend, I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Karen Overall, a veterinary behaviorist from the University of Pennsylvania.
Both veterinarians and trainers attended the lecture. It was especially gratifying to see so many veterinarians in the crowd. Many veterinarians don't know about the ways that drugs can help improve the quality of life of affected dogs because the subject of behavior is an elective at most veterinary schools.
The most effective way to modify the behavior of dogs with serious behavior problems can often be by combining drug therapy with behavior modification. An effective veterinarian-dog trainer team can make a significant difference in the prognosis of your dog.
If your dog is anxious, fearful, or aggressive, talk with your veterinarian or your trainer about teaming up to create a combined medical and training plan to help your dog live a fuller, more enjoyable life.
This is so great to hear. My thoughts on dog behavior and training has really changed after discovering your blog and your excellent insight and tips.
I actually saw a woman at the dog park yesterday alpha roll her dog and overheard her say she was trying to ‘stay on top of their training’ and ‘correct growling’. I think I bit my tongue until it bled. I’m no trainer myself, so I’m not about to get into a behavioral science argument with a stranger (though I wanted to!).
Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart says
We are living proof. I tried and tried for years to help Lilly with her fears through training, but we did NOT make many measurable gains until I took her to see a behaviorist and got the right combo of meds. Team Lilly includes our PhD behaviorist, our veterinarian, and our trainer … and us of course.
It has made a tremendous difference.
Laurie Luck says
Thanks for your comment, Daya. It’s amazing the things you see once you know how to read canine body language. In a previous post, I sort of lamented that fact, actually. I see a lot more now – sometimes I see more than I really want to.
Laurie Luck says
Roxanne, it really is amazing the difference a good team can make isn’t it? Good luck with you and your Lilly. I have a Lily, too – my little black Labrador. She’s a bit reactive, but we’re working on it… One day at a time. 🙂