The biggest fear of all dog owners, their dog has turned into an aggressive dog.
Some of the most typical reasons aggression's in dogs occur is through a trigger, may it be a strange dog, a bike, a loud child or simply by yelling at the dog. Dog owners with aggressive dogs start to ask themselves what did they do wrong in the training or when did the symptoms first occur.
Possible reasons for a sudden aggression:
1. A puppy who was allowed to do everything with minimal rules. The times he growled and showed his teeth as a puppy was a laughing matter and he looked so cute while doing so. A year later it has turned into a problem because no one addressed the issue while he was a puppy.
2. A health issue. Sometimes pain or an illness can cause the aggression.
3. A dog who comes from the shelter. We don't really know what the dog has been through in the past, the shelter workers try to only tell about his positive attributes so that he will find a home as soon as possible. For an example, there has been many stories about shelter dogs brought home who suddenly turned aggressive and bit the new owners or their children.
4. Not getting enough exercise. A dog that has been cooped up inside an apartment, only getting out a few times a day for short walks, can be very prone to get aggression's. The dogs cannot sometimes control themselves when they are getting over excited.
5. The dog breed (remember, not in all cases!). If you have a Pitbull he will usually be more of a risk than a mini Poodle. Not only because of the type of breed, but because of the size and strength of these types of breeds. We shouldn't forget that they are still being bred today for dog fighting, but mostly it is important how he is socialized and trained as a puppy/young dog.
6. The experiences the dog has had. If well socialized as a puppy, without bad experiences, you will usually have a great dog in the end. If your dog has a bad experience as an older dog, it can also affect his behavior.
7. Food aggression. Food aggression is a typical kind of aggression in dogs which is only a natural behavior they have from their ancestors, the wolves. If you have ever watched a video of wolves eating, there is a clear ritual, the alpha wolves (in most groups these are the parent wolves) eat first and they like to protect their prey in a certain way which reminds very much of dogs with food aggression's. They growl, show their teeth and put their both front paws in between their food. We just don't want our dogs to protect their food. Again, it's important how you treated the feeding time with your dog as a puppy, did he have to wait until you told him "go ahead", did you sometimes take the bowl away or put your hand in the bowl? All these things are crucial while training your dog not to be aggressive around food.
8. Learned behavior. In most cases the dogs who show aggression, may it be fear related or any other reason, only do it because it's a learned behavior and because it's completely carved in his memory it's so hard to get rid of it. Did you just let it happen time after time not addressing the problem?
9. Your reactions to the aggressive behavior. How did you react when your dog showed aggression for the first time? Did you pet him because it looked like he was scared and you wanted to show him you are protecting him? Did you scream at him? Did you get nervous and frightened? This is so important to reflect on because your dog is usually showing the same feelings you are. If you are nervous, your dog can feel it even through the leash and he will automatically become nervous as well. Also if you pet him while doing an unwanted behavior, you are rewarding him and he will expect the next time another reward when he shows aggression's. If you scream at your dog, your dog will feel your frustration and the anger in your voice that he sometimes starts to ignore you completely and decides to do whatever he feels like or he will get even more riled up.
What can you do if your dog has suddenly turned aggressive:
1. Make an appointment at the vet and make a complete check up. In many cases the dog might have internal pain which might be causing the aggressive behavior.
2. Call up a few reputable dog schools and explain about your situation. Find a good dog school where you can do private sessions with dog trainers especially educated and trained in dog aggression.
3. Find a way to avoid the aggression triggers the best you can. For an example, if your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, cross the street if you see a dog coming towards you.
4. After avoiding for a while and when it's working well you can start with the next step. Now you can slowly introduce the triggers again, but very slowly. Best would be to use a helping person for this step.
Start at a very long distance and go very slowly closer to the trigger. While doing so, reward him for good behavior. You will see when you have gone too far, step back and try again (immediately or the next day) to get closer to the trigger. Never punish your dog for a setback. If he starts showing aggressive behavior just ignore it, don't pet him or talk to him if it happens, just step back, and know that you went too close to the trigger. Do these exercises all the while rewarding with a toy (best is to use a fun squeaky toy to get your dogs attention) or yummy treats (use something your dog cannot resist, like cheese or hot dogs).
Do the exercises as often as possible for a longer period of time. Some dogs need longer than the others. Finally when you reach your trigger, it would be good to use a muzzle in the first time, just as a precaution.
5. Always stay calm, never scream at him instead talk in a lower region voice in a calm way and show him you are the leader with your confidence.
6. You will need very much patience and training for it to work but don't give up or get frustrated if it doesn't work immediately, you will be rewarded in the end.
** All based on my own knowledge and experiences in training dogs. **
In this list I'm going to introduce a few cat breeds that are in my opinion some of the most beautiful cats there exists.
The European Wildcat
Let's start right at the beginning. The European Wildcat (Felis Silvestris), the ancestor of most of our domesticated cats today. These cats can be found in Europe and Asia and the estimated population in the wild is around 500.000. They weigh between 4-13 kg. They are nocturnal and hunt mostly small rodents, birds, small dogs and small deer. They are heard to be quite vicious, not scared of humans and can be seen going through trash cans.
Maine Coon "The Gentle Giant"
Maine Coons originate from the US and is one of the largest cat breed excising weighing between 6-8 kg. They have a gentle nature, are very playful and intelligent cats. The Maine Coon is a natural breed of cat, similar to their ancestors.
The Turkish Angora is one of the oldest, most natural cat breeds.
It is believed that the Turkish Angora was the first cat breed in the color white and with long fur.
Originating from the Ankara Region in Turkey, it is sometimes called just "Angora" or "Ankara cat".
The Bengal cat was created through crossing the leopard cat with domesticated cats. They were first bred in 1889 but the breed fully developed in the 1980s. In 2019 there are more than 1000 breeders of the Bengal cat breeders all over the world.
They weigh between 4-6 kg and their personalities are playful and energetic. It's also one of the only domesticated cat breeds that love to play in the water.
The Siberian cat is a breed originating from Russia that has been bred since 1987. The Siberian cats are part of the natural breeds of cats, so called forest-cats, like the Maine Coons and the Norwegian forest cat.
The Siberian cats are great hunters, they also love to jump and climb.
If well socialized at a young age, they can become very close and affectionate to their owners.
The Savannah cat is an exotic domestic cat. To create this breed, they crossed a wild Serval with a domestic cat. They are part of the hybrid breeds.
It is one of the most expensive cats in the world, costing between 1000-15.000 Euros.
They can become around 1,2 m long and have a shoulder height of 45 cm, weighing between 8 to 10 kg, hereby the largest cat breed in the world.
In 1986 they crossed for the first time a Serval with a Siamese cat.
The Savannah cats are known to be very loyal to their owners, following them around the house, you can even teach them to walk on a lead and play fetch. They are also a cat breed that can jump the highest, around 2,5 m. The Savannah cat is a great swimmer as well.
Most of the times if socialized properly they are very welcoming of guests, even dogs and other cats, and they like to charm with their playful nature.
You just brought your little kitten home, and you are thinking, she is the cutest kitty in the whole world. She chases your legs and bites playfully your hands and you want her to stay young and small forever.
Or maybe you just adopted an older cat from the shelter and look forward to letting her spend her last years in your home.
5 most important things you need to purchase for your first cat
A water bowl with fresh water every day and a few food bowls. Make sure the bowls are not too deep, because the cat will usually take the food out and eat it in front of her (making a mess) when the food bowl has too high sides. Get low bowls that are almost like plates. You will need a placemat as well. If you are getting more than one cat, they all need their own bowls and food spots.
2. Dry food and/or wet food.
Do you want to offer your cat both or just one or the other? My cats always had dry food available and wetfood they got in the evenings. If your cat does not drink much, it would be better to give some wetfood.
3. A toilet.
Do you want a cat toilet with a cover or an open toilet? It depends on where you want to place it. If you want to place your toilet in the kitchen or bathroom where you want to smell as less as possible toilet smells then take one with a cover. An open toilet is cheaper and better for a young kitten so you should always start with a small open toilet with low sides so she can easily get in. Big cat breeds need bigger toilets. And if you are adopting more than one cat you will need two to three toilets.
4. Kitty litter.
You should always start with a non-clumping kind litter if you are getting a kitten, because it can happen that your kitten might eat some of the clumps. When she is old enough you can switch to the clumping kind. I prefer litter that clumps because it saves so much time while cleaning the toilet. I would say the best is to try a few different kinds of litters and see which one suits you the best and your cat.
5. A scratching tree.
If you are getting a big breed cat, like a Maine Coon, then you should think about a scratching tree that has very thick sisal posts and it should be quite large in comparison to the other trees for smaller breed cats. But if you are getting a kitten, a small tree should suffice until she is getting bigger. If you are adopting an older cat you will need to make sure she can walk to each level of the tree and will not need to jump to get on any of the levels.
3 Things you need to consider before bringing your cat home
1. Is she going to become an outside cat, with a cat door from which she can go freely in and out of the house? At which age could I let her out?
It is important to see if your area is safe for a cat. Is there a freeway close by, do you live in the city center, in the suburbs or do you live on the country side?
I do not recommend letting your cat out if you live in the center of a city. There are many cars and so many dangers for a cat. If you live in the suburbs or on the country side I would definitely say that you should let your cat out. A freeway close by should not be a reason not letting her out at all. There are always big risks involving letting your cat be an outside cat. Dogs, cars, people. There has also been stories of hunters shooting cats. What about that old lady who is your neighbor and feeds all the cats in the neighborhood and your cat decides her food and company is better than yours?
I am not saying do not let your cat outside, I think it is the most natural thing in the world, but you have to be aware of the risks. One day she might never come home again.
You should always first castrate and chip your cat before you let her outside and wait until she is around 8 months old until you let her outside.
2. How old should your kitten be before you bring her home?
Some people get kittens from farms and they are usually around 5 weeks old. These young cats that are taken away from their mothers and siblings never learn something called bite inhibition which they only can learn from their siblings. In most cases they become socially awkward and aggressive towards other cats. Never adopt such a young kitten. You should always wait until she is at least 12 weeks old or better even 14 weeks. They learn so much from their mother and siblings in these 3 months which is the most important learning time for the rest of their lives. That is why it is so important where you adopt your cat. She should have learned being around both women and men, children, other cats and possibly also other animals. Try to not adopt the most timid kitten, because usually she will keep this personality trait for all her life.
3. Do you want to have one kitten and then later get another one or should you get two cats at once?
It is always the best way to get two siblings. Usually a pair that works the best is a (castrated) male and a female cat. If you are thinking about getting one kitten and then later another one, lets say after a couple of years, you might get problems with these two cats. In most cases the first cat feels threatened, protecting her territory and she will never accept the new cat. In some cases you might have a perfect match, usually with a excising male and the new cat being a female. Male cats are in most cases more welcoming to their territory than female cats. If you know you eventually want to have two cats, just go ahead and adopt two siblings, and you will have two cats that are best friends, who never fight and just spend most of their days cuddling with each other.
Rio is our lovely dog. We got him from a family on the country side and he had the sweetest mom named Lily, a Labrador/ Golden Retriever Mix who had just gotten 13 puppies with their neighbors dog, a Collie/ Australian Shepherd Mix. We had actually thought first we would get a female dog and had two really cute ones that they told us were still available. But I still did not feel like it was going to become my dog. Then this dirty and wet puppy crawled out of the pond, bigger than all the other siblings, and I fell in love right in this moment. I had to have him. We picked him up with 8 weeks and it was the scariest and happiest ride home. I had him on my lap and could not believe I finally had my own dog. This was now almost four years ago.
He is now a happy adult dog enjoying his days. He loves cuddles and belly rubs, swimming, playing fetch and socializing with other dogs.
Kiara is our cat. We picked her up with around 14 weeks from this lady with really many cats. The other siblings were fluffy and had long fur. She was kind of the ugly ducking in the bunch. But not for us. She had beautiful blue eyes and a very special fur pattern with many colors from white to beige to dark brown. The cat lady told us that she would have probably stayed here forever if we would not have taken her in.
Today she turns 5 years of age and she is a cat who loves the outdoors and spends half her days outside on adventures. Kiara is kind of a funny cat; she likes to catch mice, but she rarely kills them, she just brings them alive into the house and we end up needing to find and catch the mouse and bring it outside again.
She loved to cuddle with our house bunny Roxy, who unfortunately died a couple of years ago. Nowadays she sleeps and cuddles with our dog.
Hazel and Dandelion
Hazel and Dandelion are our two German Giant Rabbits (Deutsche Riesen). They are still young, just over a year old now and they live in an outside hutch. They are typical bunnies, they love to eat, relax and run around.