To avoid being bitten, always ask a dog to come into your space before you reach your hand out. This way you will know if the dog is interested in engaging with you. If he looks or turns his head away, or growls, he is telling you no thanks.
The only way to control car aggression 100% is to never take your dog in the car. For many, that is unthinkable as we enjoy having our dogs with us. So if your dog reacts in the car, first, teach your dog to relax in your home and other environments including your car with no distractions. Again, this is hugely helpful for the dog with poor impulse control.
Based on their maturity and tolerance, dogs respond to other dogs behaviors in different ways. Let’s be honest, many of you reading this have disagreed with another person, lost your temper, and became angry in response to someones actions.
Consider: Una, a beautiful long haired German Shepherd, loves to play with dogs and has shown friendly behaviors to all the dogs she has ever met. Until last week. As she was running on the beach with a Sheltie she just met, and all was well until she saw a tennis ball go flying over head. Already on the run, Una bolted after the ball, but was immediately body slammed by a Retriever mix who was in hot pursuit of his beloved tennis ball. Upon crashing into each other, Una snarled at the Retriever mix as a reprimand for causing her a bit of pain, Una is six years old. He did not respond to her reprimand, yet remained running at her hip, Una beat him to the ball and snatched it up.
Unfortunately a popular reality TV show has captured people’s attention and is talking about dogs as pack animals and again perpetuating the idea of using “calm-assertive energy” (read: fear and intimidation) to resolve issues with problem dogs. Like most “reality” TV shows
by Donald J. Hanson, BFRAP, CDBC, CPDT-KA
It was in the September of 2000 that the first version of this article appeared in Paw Prints, the Green Acres Kennel Shop newsletter. I have updated the article ten years later because sadly there are still too many people, some of them animal professionals, and some who try to play the part on TV, promulgating the dominance myth.
In this Blog I will teach you how to prevent your dog from biting a person by helping you understand when your dog is feeling stressed and needs more space from an unfamiliar person. Dogs will offer requests for distance, called distance cues until they learn that their requests go ignored by the human. If they are still afraid, they will simply bite as their fear overrides their ability to think.
In my last blog, I mentioned that changing your dogs behavior begins with good management which prevents him from practicing the unwanted behavior.
I will now explain how to change your dog’s response when meeting a stranger, using the processes of counter-conditioning and desensitization. Counter-conditioning means changing the negative association the dog has formed about people, and replacing it with a positive, happy association using something the dog loves. Desensitization means exposing the dog to the “stimulus” (in this case, a person) at a distance, far enough away that it does not provoke a fear response from your dog, and gradually reducing the distance to the person until the dog is relaxed with the person nearby. Subsequent training can continue as your dog remains calm, and is able to accept treats or play with toys.
For shy or fearful dogs, having a human move into their space is very scary, and it takes away their personal choice. In the Treat and Retreat game, we reverse this situation. Instead of adding social pressure to the dogs, we remove that pressure. This adds to the dogs feeling of control while also giving the dog another opportunity to make a choice. Removal of social pressure should always be part of the Treat and Retreat game, as a way to check how the dog is doing and help keep them under threshold. If a dog goes over threshold, they learn that snapping works, period.
Clients often say their dog bit without warning, however if you understood dogs body language, you would have seen signs that your dog was worried prior to the bite. Signs of Stress: Head lowered Tail tucked Lip licking Panting and Pacing barking Excessive salivation Ears pulled to the side or way back Hiding behind the …