Treatment Name: Exercise: Daily Aerobic Exercise

Treatment Type: Lifestyle Practices

Rated for: Great Dane

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Will not solve a behavioral problem but can help with stress and reactiveness that worsen aggression

Caitlin Crittenden



Posted Nov. 2, 2017

Aerobic exercise is always great for dogs, and often lessens many behavioral problems and prevents many more. For a dog that already has aggression issues towards other dogs, I would not expect this to solve the behavioral problem because it is just that, a behavioral problem, and not usually a physical problem. It has been learned, inherited, caused by lack of socialization experience, or some combination usually. There is a small amount of dogs for whom it is caused by a medical issue, but exercise will rarely cure that either.
Expect the dog to need training and socialization. With that said exercise can help prevent aggression for certain high drive, reactive prone dogs. Some dogs with lots of mental and physical energy can become very frustrated and stressed when they have no outlet for that energy. For those dogs it is very important to not only stimulate them physically but also mentally every day. This tends to be the cause of many leash reactive dogs who have not been in a fight or had trauma, and especially those dogs who are reactive only on leash but ok off. Many of them are frustrated.
For dogs with already present aggression, exercise is an important component of an aggression treatment plan. Removing excess energy which can lead to frustration and stress will help a behavioral training plan succeed. Added stress and pent up energy can make it harder for a dog to be calm and focused, which are important for helping aggression. Just like with people, exercise releases certain chemicals in the brain that help with a number of emotional and physical symptoms.

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