Learning about dog aggression can help stop it

Published Jan 23, 2013 at 10:41 am (Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 10:41 am)

Recently, area libraries have added certified professional dog trainer Penny Layne to their event calendars for informative, introductory classes on dog aggression. Not only is Layne instructing on how to recognize aggressive behavior, how to deal with it if it should happen and what to do if your dog is attacked, but she will also offer a few tips on working with aggressive dogs.

The course is free, so our hope is that the Jan. 29 class at Mt. Lebanon Public Library and the March 27 class at Bethel Park Public Library are full. Speaking from experience, an aggressive dog can come out of nowhere, leaving few precious seconds to react. And, getting in between two fighting dogs is not only terrifying, it is dangerous, too.

The goal is that area residents will never have to put Layne’s information into practice, but despite best efforts – raising a dog to get along well with adults, children and other animals, having your dog on a leash at all times, unless in a designated off-leash area of a dog park, encountering aggressive and off-leash dogs is a very real possibility. Invisible fences are great ways to keep your dog in your yard and not on a leash, but what about the dog who has slipped his chain or the stray wondering around? An invisible fence will not keep them out.

Thankfully, Layne’s classes will educate and open up a dialogue, as well as create more awareness. Walking your dog should be a relaxing activity for both the owner and the dog itself, and until more people understand the realities and consequences of irresponsible behavior, it can actually be pretty stressful for the owner.

It’s worth noting, too, that aggressive dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds. Some dogs are only aggressive towards humans, others are only aggressive towards other animals, and there are some that are aggressive to both. Countering aggression starts at home, with proper training and socializing. Hopefully, Layne’s classes are the first of many, and if only one resident or dog ends up benefitting, well, that’s enough for us.

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