TIP #1: COMMON TRIGGERS OF DOG-DOG AGGRESSION
When it comes to dogs who don't do well with other dogs there are some common triggers that account for the bulk of cases. These are:
• Dogs that come on too strong. They appear hyper-motivated and have coarse social skills.
• Dogs that are sensitive to the proximity of other dogs. They may present with frank fearlessness or more subtly, as asocial animals that get snappy if a dog gets too close or makes social overtures.
• Dog-dog resource guarding.
• Harassment, i.e. bullying or "hazing" of other dogs.
• Play skills deficits - dogs that play but lack some of the features of normal play, causing frequent tipovers of their play into fighting.
• Strong genetic predisposition to compulsively fight.
- excerpted from Fight!, by Jean Donaldson
TIP #2: LOWER YOUR STANDARDS
If your dog seems bored or distracted, you may be asking too much too soon. Lower your standards so you can mark and treat more often. Getting something right and being rewarded is fun for your dog and keeps him interested in the training.
"Training often fails because people expect way too much of the animal and way too little of themselves."
- Bob Bailey
This cutie is Hannah, a 4-month old Shih Tzu. Today we taught her how to Sit and Down on cue, which is not easy for a dog already close to the ground!
TIP #1: REFORMING A PULLER
Have you ever been injured by your dog yanking on their leash? It is very frustrating for dog owners when their dogs drag them. Many dogs have their social outings severely restricted, simply because their owners have difficulty controlling them on-leash.
Here are some tips to follow that will reform a puller into a more pleasant walking companion.
• Have a clear, realistic mental image of the leash-walking behavior you strive to train.
• Prevent your dog from being reinforced for pulling on the leash by stopping, backing up, or walking the other direction when your dog pulls.
• Provide generous and varied reinforcement for approximations of the leash- walking behavior you want, in order to shape your end result.
- The Whole Dog Journal
TIP #2: DON'T YELL
Never yell at your dog or scold her using her name. Yelling and scolding isn't effective dog training anyway, but using her name is even less so. If she thinks hearing her name means she's done something wrong or that you're angry with her, she won't come to you or otherwise listen to you.
"Lack of behavior is not the goal in training. Enjoyment is. Is your dog enjoying life?"
- Robin Bennett
TIP #1: SET UP FOR SUCCESS
It is up to you to set up your newly adopted dog to succeed in every situation. Don't expect him to be welcoming and happy with 8 people over for a dinner party the day of adoption. Don't expect him to know where to eliminate, or what not to chew on. Consider confining him for the first few weeks until you get to know him better.
If you keep your expectations low, you will inevitably be setting your rescue up to succeed much more than if you expect too much.
- Victoria Stillwell
TIP #2: RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT
If your dog pulls and you don’t get a chance to mark and treat, apply red light/ green light. As soon as your dog pulls and the leash goes tight, stop. Wait for the leash to loosen even just a little bit and then walk forward. Be prepared to stop again if your dog pulls again and the leash tightens. Your dog needs to learn that a tight leash is a red light that stops the walk. A loose leash is a green light that means more walking.
"The secret [to animal training]: To be in control of ourselves rather than the animal, to work within the given environment rather than fighting it, motivating rather than forcing, showing the way rather than fumbling about - achieving results with the least (sometimes even imperceptible) amount of intrusion into the animal’s normal behavior."
- Roger Abrantes
TIP #1: KNOW YOUR DOGS' TRIGGERS
We know that aggression is usually caused by stress, and it's often relatively easy to identify the immediate trigger for your dogs' mutual aggression. It's generally whatever happened just before the appearance of the hard stare, posturing, growls, and sometimes the actual fight.
When you have identified your dogs' triggers, you can manage their environment to reduce trigger incidents and minimize outright conflict. This is critically important to a successful modification program. The more often the dogs fight, the more tension there is between them; the more practiced they become at the undesirable behaviors, the better they get at fighting and the harder it will be to make it go away. And this is to say nothing of the increased likelihood that sooner or later someone - dog or human - will be badly injured.
- The Whole Dog Journal
TIP #2: TURNS CAN BE TRICKY
When first teaching your dog to make a turn in the heel position, make sure you mark and treat through the turn.
This is my new buddy, Bandit, and this picture does not do him justice. He is a 1-year old English Mastiff with a puppy's heart and energy, but in a 225 pound body. No, that was not a typo! This big guy is going to be fun!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI