#1 Trick to Protect Your Aggressive Dog
As a dog obedience trainer, I work with a lot of mundane problems like house training and pulling on leash and other problems that are seemingly easy to fix with a little extra work and effort.
Apart from that, I think we dog trainers see a lot of aggressive dogs.
Let me first say that I don’t believe you can “cure” aggression.
I recently lost a potential client because a competitor promised her that they could cure her dog’s aggression with a shock collar even after it had bitten her child and her mother.
I guess I would rather lose a potential client here and there rather than make promises that I can’t guarantee; much less would I use a shock collar on a dog that is biting children (as this could make the problem and the damage so very much worse).
But I do believe that you can learn to control aggression with a lot of work and training.
And, you can almost completely eradicate the aggressive behaviors and displays (barking, growling, hackling, lunging, biting).
It is just important to remember as you do eliminate the behaviors you must remember that at the core your dog still probably doesn’t like (people, children, other dogs or whatever your dog’s trigger is). It is when you think the dog is “changed” or “fixed” or “cured” that you let your guard down, stop your training and the behavior reemerges with a vengeance.
I Have a Client
So I have a client with a very, very aggressive dog.
The dog has bitten numerous people.
The dog is also not trustworthy with other dogs.
And, I will say this was not “caused” by this particular client. The dog is not babied, aggression is not encouraged, the dog is not mistreated, the dog has been in training since he was a tiny puppy and quite frankly he has always been this way.
Of course the aggression got worse when he got older and more mature.
He is adorable, from a distance.
People don’t believe that he is an aggressive dog, even after being told.
And, he has a very fast fuse and a small bubble.
Meaning he isn’t showing outward aggressive signs until someone is usually close enough to be bitten.
And, he goes from 0 to 1,000,000,000 very quickly, so quickly in fact that his owner was shocked the first couple of times that he bit.
Now it is his goal to make sure that no one gets close enough to be bitten.
So he puts a muzzle on him if he is outside, and yet still sometimes people approach even when they are asked to please not. (He is a very unique and exotic breed).
So we had to come up with another tactic.
Because the dog lives in the city and deserves to go outside the home and get some exercise and have some quality of life.
He uses the muzzle.
He has taught the dog to watch him and give him focus.
He has taught the dog to lay down quickly on command so that he can deal with people.
But it didn’t seem to be enough.
Then I Saw This CRAZY Video…
So I watched a video come across my news feed on social media.
It was of a police officer and his police canine and it seemed like they were members of SWAT.
The part that I loved was that the dog heeled in between his partner’s legs; flawlessly.
I had one of those AH HA moments.
People would be much, much less likely to touch your dog if he was in your crotch.
And, I am pretty sure it wouldn’t matter if you were male or female, that is a societal no fly zone!
If this dog could do it, it could also be a training technique used for other dogs.
Especially dogs with aggression issues!
And, it isn’t terribly difficult to teach.
Teach your dog to target something.
I begin by teaching my dog to target my hand, then I move on to a lid or some other kind of target.
IMPORTANT: This would NOT have been effective if the dog had not first gone through Emotional Re-calibration Training (ERT). What he learned in his ERT training was what gave him the emotional control he needed to actually do this ‘Crotch Heel’ out in public. If your interested in taking your dog through Emotional Re-calibration Training, we have just opened enrollment to our last class of the year, where we will be teaching this training method via an online MASTERCLASS. CLICK-HERE to learn more about this MASTER CLASS.
Now put your dog on a sit to down directly behind you.
It is easier for your dog to get into position if he is slightly behind you and doesn’t have to duck far (some of you will be lucky enough to have smaller dogs that don’t have to duck).
Squat down a little and bow your legs, then have him come through your legs and touch the target.
Work on all kinds of different angles.
Make it fun!
The weave and entering and getting into place should be like a game to your dog.
Getting him to do it randomly (but on command of course) around the house is also a great way to solidify this behavior.
Once he knows where to be, it isn’t hard to lure him with food and teach him to move with you as you walk (remember you may want to get away from the oncoming person or dog).
I also like to teach him dogs to sit or lay down in between my legs too, this gives me more control.
Not to mention this is FUN!
You don’t have to have an aggressive dog to teach this behavior, you could simply want more control and another fun game to play with your dog!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.