Canine Aggression: Approach & Management
What to do when presented with a case of canine aggression and why?
There are numerous myths surrounding canine aggression. Many veterinarians do not feel confident providing advice to owners about an aggressive dog. Without appropriate advice, owners may seek help from the internet or other sources that may be unreliable or not evidence based. As a result, animal welfare can be severely compromised, and human and animal safety can be at risk.
In this course, you will learn why dogs exhibit aggression, both in the veterinary clinic and in other situations, so that you can provide immediate advice as well as develop a long-term management program.
Medication will be discussed briefly during this course. However, this course is not designed to give specific medication advice for particular cases. If unsure regarding medication selection for a patient, the veterinary practitioner should refer to textbooks or refer to a specialist.
After successful completion of this course, you will:
- Recognise aggression signals that precede a dog bite
- Identify the role of canine aggression signals
- Describe fear learning and the role it plays in the development of aggression
- Discuss why anxiety has a role in the development of aggression
- Explain why punishment is contra-indicated for treating aggression
- Give examples of individual animal factors, environmental factors and previous experiences that can play a role in the development of aggression
- Compare when aggression is normal and appropriate with when aggression is maladaptive, and so feel confident identifying situations when medication is indicated
- Choose one of three basic treatment options for a dog exhibiting aggression in the veterinary clinic, with respect to the dog’s immediate need for veterinary care
- Discuss why the behaviour management plan for an aggressive dog should include environmental management and behaviour modification, as well as monitoring
- Explain disenfranchised grief and why owners may experience it
- Why canine aggression occurs
- Diagnosing & managing aggression in dogs
Tutor: Sally Nixon, BVSc MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour)