How To Socialize An Aggressive Dog

The best time to socialize your dog is when they are around the age of 3-16 weeks. Due to unavoidable reasons, you might not be able to socialize your dog at the right age. This should not make you troubled because there are still chances of your aggressive dog getting along with other people and pets.  

You can socialize your aggressive dog by first identifying what triggers his aggression, putting safety measures in place, and changing your behavior. Check on his basic needs like exercises, nutrition and also teach him basic commands while giving him lots of treats.

Why Is My Dog Aggressive?

An Aggressive Dog

The first step when planning to socialize your aggressive dog is by identifying the cause of the aggression.

Aggression is not caused by lack of socialization only, but unsocialized dogs are at a higher risk of becoming aggressive. Other things that can contribute to aggression include:

Breed Type

The breed type will greatly influence the aggressiveness of a dog. Different dog breeds were initially bred to serve different purposes. Depending on its intended purpose a dog can be friendly without much socialization while others must be socialized


The genes of your dog’s parent can make him aggressive regardless of the breed type. Also if the mother of your dog went through hard times during pregnancy, it can greatly affect him.

Bad Experiences in The Past

If your dog had gone through a bad experience like abuse which is common in rescue home dogs, he will get aggressive because of trauma. A small bad experience can affect your dog for the whole of his life.

A combination of either of the above factors with a lack of socialization can lead to having the most aggressive dog.

 Factors That Contribute To A Puppy Being Unsocialized

 A puppy had a contagious disease

Puppies that are infected with contagious diseases like parvo pup disease are highly isolated. This disease is deadly and can spread through contact with the pup’s feces or through inhaling it. This makes the puppies be secluded making socialization hard.

Shelter Puppies

Puppies that live in the shelters are not fully socialized because there are many puppies and dogs in the rescue centers making it impossible to attend to them fully.

Pet Store Puppies

These puppies are not socialized and are worse than the rescue center puppies. They are mostly purchased from puppy mills that specialize in breeding puppies for commercial purposes. They are mostly profit-oriented and have less or no time to socialize the puppies.

Ignorance of The Owners or Misleading Advice

Some puppy owners do not have enough knowledge of raising a puppy. They will think that all a dog needs are food and shelter which is not the case. Other owners might have followed misleading advice like puppies should be socialized after they have received all of their vaccination jabs.

How To Socialize An Aggressive Dog

Identify What Triggers His Aggression

The first step to socializing an aggressive dog is to outline the things that trigger your dog’s aggression.  You should note somewhere all the instances that led to your dog showing the aggression traits.

Get Safety Measures In Place

Depending on the reasons that trigger your dog’s aggression, set safety measures by ensuring your dog and the triggering cause are safe in the training period. These measures do not offer lasting solutions but temporary ones.

Use Baby Gates: this helps when you want to separate your dog from the person he is being aggressive to. It might be any family member or a pet within the homestead. It can also be used to prevent him from reaching your guests.

Use window Blinds:  some dogs get aggressive when they see people or things passing by the window. Put the blinds down when you are not around to prevent him from being aggressive.

Invest in spray shield: these aredog deterrent sprays that help to keep the other dogs away while you are on walks. You only spray it when you see other dogs that are not on leash approaching your dog. Though the spray keeps other dogs away, it is not harmful to their health.

Muzzle Train: use a muzzle when you know you are around something or someone that triggers your dog’s aggression.

Crate Train:  you can put the dog in a crate when you want him to be safe when what triggers his aggression is around or want to leave him for some time.

Change Your Behavior

You might wonder how changing your behavior is related to your dog’s aggression but it is. You should change your behavior by keeping your dog away from things that trigger his aggression like:

  • Do not walk him at the times when there are many dogs on the road, wait until they are few or none.
  • Do not touch his food if he has food aggression, keep his food in his kennel to prevent other pets from touching it.
  • Take a diversion or cross the road if there is something that can trigger your dog’s aggression on the way.

Give your dog lots of exercise, proper diet, and communication.

Ensure that you feed your dog with a balanced diet . Give him daily exercises to keep him fit and ensure that you and your family members use the same language to communicate with your dog.

Teach Him Basic Commands

Teach basic commands like come, sit, stand, stop, leave it, and watch me. These commands will help you to distract or stop your dog when he is aggressive to other people or pets.

Give Him Treats

Give your dog a treat every time he notices something that previously triggered his aggression but keeps calm. Treats either commercial or homemade should be fed in moderation to prevent a dog from becoming a fussy eater or obese.


Socializing an adult aggressive dog is harder than socializing a puppy. Nevertheless, you should not give up on socializing him because it is never too late to try. Concluding that your dog is aggressive without taking an action will not solve the problem.