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.
To change your dogs unwanted habit, you first need to know what your dog loves! Determine a reward that your dog enjoys and is willing to work for. Keep in mind that the same reward may not work for all your dogs. While verbal praise works well for some dogs, it will not work for most dogs.
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.
Does your hound constantly have her nose to the ground? Is your retriever pup a bit too mouthy? Is your Pyrenees, Chow or Catahoula mix acting a bit growly with strangers? Does your terrier like to grab and shake toys? How about your adorable herder? Ever nipped at anyones heels?
This is the fifth of a five part segment, to help dog owners with insecure dogs that act aggressively to strangers. A practical guide to helping owners with dogs who rush and bark at people through windows, fences, at the front door and on leash.
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.
There are many ways to get behavior from an animal, for example you can hold your dog down when he jumps up on you, this may work for you, but the negative is that your dog may start barking more when guest arrive. Some dogs will become really wiggly and jumpy with strangers as a way of showing appeasement to the guest to ward off that scary punishment of being held down. This can also make your recall much more
Dog training is a process of shaping behaviors that are wanted by the human. With that in mind, why do so many of us reward unwanted behaviors? I have met many dogs who are still offering bad behaviors even at 2 or 3 years of age.