Dog Training & Behavioral Consultations in Greater Sacramento & Southern Oregon

How To Socialize An Aggressive Dog?

A dog standing in front of a mountain with trees.

There are many triggers present that can exaggerate dog behavior. Dogs might experience sexual, territorial, possessive, fearful aggression due to a variety of factors. To socialize an aggressive dog, the first step is to analyze what they are aggressive towards, what are their triggers, and whether they show aggression to only a particular human or object.  The next step is to take them to the vet to figure out their exact issue. 

It often happens that even a trained dog also starts showing aggression. This mostly happens if the owner or the caretaker is incapable of managing the dog and his commands are ignored by dogs. Dogs might be aggressive due to some pain or trauma which the vet can easily analyze. If the dog doesn’t cure even after that, it is advised to take professional training to help socialize an aggressive dog. So, if you are looking for dog trainers then you can count on Primal Needs dog behavioral solutions, they provide the best aggressive behavior dog training in Sacramento, California.

Some Of The Common Behaviors Aggressive Dogs Have Shown

Below are some of the common behaviors that an aggressive dog shows:

  • Growling, snarling, or teeth-baring
  • Standing rigid, not willing to move on command 
  • Lunging at humans, other dogs, and external triggers specific to the dog
  • Mouthing or, biting without pressure
  • Aggressive biting that causes bruises and skin tears. 

Ways To Socialize An Aggressive Dog:


This is a no reward method that decreases or ends the response to prolonged exposure to a particular situation. For example, a dog might get triggered by some movements. Creating resistance or the ability to ignore the situation can help the dog in the long run. This method helps in spontaneous recovery. For example, consistent barking after getting triggered by an unharmful object can be ignored by the owner to teach the dog that it will get no attention. 

Conditioning and desensitization:

Positive and negative conditioning can be used to calm aggressive dogs. For example, dogs can get triggered by listening to the doorbell. To teach a dog not to be afraid of such a situation, a voice recording of the bell can be played regularly in front of it. Appropriate conditioning can make the dog stop reacting to the bell. 


This method teaches the dog to replace bad behavior with a more favorable response. This is done by relaxing the dog during the triggers and making its body posture and expressions submissive. 

Positive Reinforcement:

This method allows an optimistic approach for training such dogs. It helps create a positive and healthy relationship between the dog and the owner. For example, disciplining dogs by saying command words like ‘no’ or ‘stay’ can prevent them from reacting negatively to another animal’s presence. 

Negative reinforcement:

Often mistaken as punishment, this method instills discipline in the dog through strict methods. For example, keeping the dog on a leash or holding it tight when it wants to attack something can be examples of negative reinforcement. Though these methods are unpleasant, it protects others and the dog from harm.

Second-order reinforcement:

These are signals that pair rewards like food or petting with good behavior. This includes clicker training which rewards dogs when they are well behaved even during triggers. 


Useful for treating fear aggression, this method increases resistance and delays forgetting. Automatic responses like the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction in humans are taught to overcome anxiety. 

Harsh tools:

For overly aggressive dogs, tools like pinch collars, muzzles, e-collars have to be used. Prong collars, for example, can cause a slight discomfort of the neck showing it that it’s behaving badly. To socialize an aggressive dog, muzzles can be used to train shy dogs. Some dogs are nervous in normal social situations. Putting them on a muzzle before fun activities like playtime can make them associate it with enjoyable social situations. 


Combined with the above-stated methods, medications prescribed by vets can be used to train aggressive dogs. Despite the negative side effects, drugs have been useful to treat fear aggression, compulsive behaviors, reduce anxiousness, and normalize their emotions.

Primal Needs is Aggressive dog trainers in Sacramento who have experience in training a large variety of dogs and are the best dog obedience trainers in Sacramento. They train dogs manners, obedience, and deals with behavioral issues in a dog. They easily adapt to any dog and create a relationship with the dog. The training varies within dogs and their comfort level. Trainers follow balanced dog training methods to teach obedience, manners and cure mental problems of dogs. They ensure that dogs develop a mindset synonymous with their owners so that both can live in harmony and have an enjoyable time. They also help dog owners who want more impulse control on their dogs in a home environment. 

More than training, aggressive dog trainers in Sacramento educate the dog so that owners can have a successful bond with them. They have been successful in stopping behaviors like nipping, leash pulling, and separation anxiety. For young pups, they introduce basic commands like sit, stand, offer crate training, and increase the socialization of the dog. For dogs lacking control, trainers provide muzzle conditioning and build confidence through restraining training.  

Many dogs suffer from fear, OCD, anxiety that might lead to veterinary noncompliance. These trainers teach dogs inside the home environment and the outside world. They do this by teaching leash obedience like loose leash walking, introductions, and increasing socialization. By doing this, they train the dog to live freely without a leash obediently and without distractions. 

What Owners Shouldn’t Do For Aggressive Dogs?

Ignoring aggression is the first mistake any owner or caretaker can do. Aggression is an intrinsic trait that needs to be addressed to save other creatures around. Aggression in a tame dog can be a defense mechanism in which case owners should check their surroundings for danger. Consistent behavior can be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be cured immediately. Punishing dogs is not effective and positive reinforcement should be provided by reward-based training. 

However, there is a difference between tricks and discipline. Often owners make the mistake of excessively giving treats to their aggressive dogs to ‘control’ their behavior. However, this might add fuel to the fire as they might start showing aggression to get treats. It also doesn’t help their mental condition but just shoves away the problem temporarily. Dominance training techniques that use assertion to establish leadership are not that fruitful. For example, violent leashes can’t stop dog behavior problems. Respecting dogs as an individual while teaching them rules is important. Dogs lose respect for owners like these and their aggression might become even more unpredictable. 

Stopping dog aggression is not easy. The basic requirement is that a dog should be under control and follow the owner. Despite many distractions, it should follow the owner’s commands and have basic obedience. It should be psychologically submissive to the owner. This means it should follow commands like sit, ‘stay’ and should have the capability of deferring to a judgment. 

Dogs can be vicious attackers based on the level of aggression they have. This might range from just growling to biting extremists. Owned dogs can bite faces, hands, or any moving body part based on what triggers them. Training dogs from certified professionals is a must to ensure both the human's and the dog’s safety.

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