How to Get Rid of an Aggressive Dog

By Adrienne Farricelli

At times, man's best friend turns out to be not so friendly. Owning an aggressive dog can be a big liability, and getting rid of one is often easier said than done, since there are many issues to consider. Finding someone else to take your dog may be a good solution as long as its new owners understand that they will have to deal with the animal's aggression. Putting your dog to sleep may seem humane but is a pretty drastic solution. There are other solutions to consider before you make a final decision about your dog.

Your first step should be to take your dog to your veterinarian. Your vet may discover that your dog's aggressive behavior is caused by a medical condition, such as severe pain, hypothyroidism or a brain tumor.

Consult with a dog behaviorist. After ruling out any medical, congenital or hereditary conditions, a dog behaviorist can assess the situation and tell you whether your dog's behavior can be changed with behavior modification.

Assess what type of aggression your dog suffers. For example, if your dog is aggressive only towards small children or other animals, it may do perfectly well with a family of only adults or a family without other animals.

Most rescue groups will think twice before accepting an aggressive dog, but some are willing.

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Surrender your dog to a no-kill shelter if you do not want it to be euthanized. Call or visit the rescue groups, animal sanctuaries and shelters in your area to find out if they are willing to rehabilitate or take care of your dog. Some shelters are willing to take dogs with a history of aggression or biting. Be aware that surrendering your dog to a shelter without a no-kill policy will likely result in your dog's being euthanized.

If your dog cannot be trusted around guests, safely crate it.

dog in a cage image by igor kisselev from

Make safety your top priority while you are investigating your options. Keep your dog leashed and muzzled when you are around other people or animals. Keep it safely crated when you have guests in your home.