I have a 15 months old Rottweiler. He is extremely aggressive and unpredictable. We have a trainer, but even after numerous sessions his aggression is not controllable. As he has bitten everyone in the family, I receive suggestions to give him up, but I don’t want to. Some suggest me to neuter him, some suggest for progesterone injections. He demonstrates fear aggression too. Please help.

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The two most common manifestations of aggressive behaviour (in growing puppy) towards humans are fear biting and dominance-related aggression. Fear biting is most commonly seen in a dog raised without appropriate human contact during the socialisation period of growth (6 to 12 weeks of age). When a dog shows aggression toward members of the pet parent’s family rather than strangers, the animal is probably attempting to establish dominance over those family members. So, if the pack leader (your dog) decides that a member of the pack (you or a family member) is getting out of line, he may bite that person to show them ‘who’s the boss’. If your dog is properly trained to sit, stay and come, he’ll be less likely to be aggressive with people because his first concern will be to obey your commands. A dog who is under control and knows you are the leader of his ‘pack’ will behave and won’t bite anyone. The more he gets outside and encounters lots of other people and unfamiliar things, the less likely he will be to act aggressively around people. So, provide your dog with a chance to socialise with people and other dogs. Although it is bit late, with the help of a qualified obedience instructor or dog behaviourist, it’s possible to correct this problem. This process will also require you and your family to make changes in the way you interact with your dog as well. Don’t abruptly reach for your dog or his collar or pull his legs. First have the dog sit and stay. Then leash him. Don’t disturb him when he is resting, sleeping, or lying in front of a door or on sofa or bed. Likewise, don’t let your dog sleep on bed, especially if he reacts aggressively when disturbed there. If your dog barks, growls, or ignores you, try to shift his attention to an exercise or a task he knows well. If this doesn’t help, walk away from him, or sequester him in another room. Banishment and withdrawal of attention are the most potent forms of correction. Neutering may help to some extent but not completely.

Question by – Rohit Kapur, Pune