*Before and After Video: After training portion begins at 3:05.
Training dog aggressive dogs not to act aggressively is not an easy task. Dogs that choose to act aggressively typically do so, out of fear. In the dog world they have two options when they feel threatened…
If a dog chooses to run away, they’ll start believing that is what kept them safe. If a dog chooses to fight, they’ll believe that their aggressive actions are what will keep them safe.
The secret is to teach dogs that they are safe, and to do that takes a lot work. We start with basic communication skills, that train them to stay in a sit or down position no matter what. They’re not allowed to charge forward or runaway from a perceived threat. We then begin an exhaustive process of having safe, well-trained dogs, approach the frightened dog’s “comfort zone.”
We all have an imaginary bubble that surrounds us, and if someone enters that bubble we may begin to feel uncomfortable. If you’re ever met a “close talker”, you know exactly what we mean. Dogs are no different in this regard. A confident dog will feel safe even if another dog walks right up to them and begins sniffing them. A fear aggressive dog becomes reactive when another dog enters their comfort zone. The trick is to decrease the distance that they can be around another dog before they become reactive.
At the beginning of training, some fear aggressive dogs will become reactive even when another dog is 100 yards away or more. Our goal is to reduce this area to the point where these dogs can walk past another dog without triggering an aggressive response.
By first creating a reliable sit stay (and down stay), we can teach fearful dogs that they’re not allowed to leave their sit stay to either run away or become aggressive. This will disrupt their self-fulfilling prophecy that they must either run away or fight in order to survive.
When they can encounter safe confident dogs repeatedly without incident, they start to become more confident; therefore, non-reactive.
We can train fearful dogs how to relax in the face of adversity, but in the end, it is the training we do with the owners that make sure this behavior is changed for good. Owners who successfully complete the group and private lessons included in our Board and Train Program before they take their dog home, learn how to control their dog in any circumstance. How to keep their attention around difficult distractions, and how to make sure they can continue to keep their dog safe, and worry free.
This isn’t an easy process, but it’s a partnership that we have successfully created with hundreds of owners and dogs. We are teachers by trade, and trainers by passion. Let us help you give your dog confidence, and the ability to be happy in any environment.