Category Archives: Dealing with Dog Aggression

What Is The Most Aggressive Breed? Dog Aggression Training | Off Leash K9 Training

 We do dog aggression training regularly in Northern Virginia (our Headquarters), we often times get asked, “What is the most aggressive breed?”

The answer may surprise you!

There are so many dogs that get put to sleep on a regular basis as a result of their aggressive behavior. This is because there are a lot of people that think that these dogs are inherently aggressive. The problem is that studies show that breed has very little to do with aggressive behavior, rather it is generally as a result of  owner-dependent factors. This fact came from a study on some of the breeds most associated with aggression, including the Pit Bull and Rottweiler.

Studies completed by the University of Córdoba took a look at the inherent traits of the dog and the owner-dependent factors and noticed that these owner-dependent factors were generally the culprits to aggression. According to researcher Joaquín Pérez-Guisado, these factors include not bringing the dog to obedience training; being a first-time dog owner; failure to use correction when necessary; over-spoiling or pampering the dog; purchasing the dog as a present for someone else, impulsively, or as a guard dog; or not spending enough time socializing the dog. To put this into further perspective, the study concluded that over 40% of the dominance aggression that dogs display is actually related to a lack of authority of the owner, who likely never took the dog took the time to do obedience training and structure with their dogs.

The breed of a dog has very little to do with the aggression that they display. Researchers studied a nearly even mix of male and female dogs, totaling around 711. Some of these were pure-bred while others were mix-breeds. This large group of subjects showed that there are some dog-related factors that may cause aggression, including being male, specific breeds, or being around 5 or 7 years of age. While these can be factors, it was also shown that human-related factors were much more likely to cause problems.

However, there are things that you can do in order to minimize and even eliminate this aggression. The owner must handle the undesirable behavior appropriately and work hard to re-establish your pack leadership and control. This is why on many dogs, it is imperative to find a trainer who uses the quadrant of operant conditioning, so you can correct the unwanted/negative behaviors before they become out-of-control.

If you have more questions about your dog displaying aggressive or dominant behavior, you contact an Off Leash K9 Training Center about your dog’s behavior.

-Nick White

http://offleashk9training.com/

info@offleashk9training.com

888-413-0896

The Connection Between Thyroid Dysfunction and Aggressive Behavior | Off Leash K9 Training

Dog-thyroid-Gland1

We handle aggression in dogs in Northern Virginia on a daily basis!  Most people do not realize that it can also be medical related.

Thyroid glands regulate the body’s metabolism, any decrease in the thyroid’s work can cause various complications that are similar to other conditions.

Pet owners and dog breeders don’t know how to identify symptoms of initial canine thyroid disease. This can lead to owners and breeders misunderstanding, misdiagnosing, and mistreating any thyroid disorders with their canines. The genetic nature of thyroid disorders causes complications for dog breeds; having a correct diagnosis is very important for coming up with the remedies needed to treat canine thyroid disease.

The main reason for euthanizing dogs isn’t because of the disease, but because of the abnormal behavior that can come from it. Abnormal behavior has many reasons, but also reflects many psychological problems. The connection between behavioral/psychological changes and thyroid dysfunction in humans was first identified in humans in the 19th century.

The association between abnormal behavior and thyroid dysfunction in dogs (and in cats) was recently recognized. Typical symptoms include:

  • Gratuitous aggression towards other animals and/or people
  • Sudden onset of seizures
  • Combination of disorientation, moodiness, and irregular temper
  • Stretches of hyperactivity and hypo-attentiveness
  • Depression, various phobias, anxiety, submissive/passive and compulsive behavior, and irritation

Most animals and humans that had these symptoms have been seen to be in a state of hypnosis and, when finished, were unaware of their behavior.

In fact, a study done by Drs Dodson and Denapoli, they tested 634 dogs, 62% of the aggressive dogs had low thyroids and 77% of seizing dogs had low thyroids.  There is a significant relationship between low thyroid and human aggression in dogs.  So, if you see this as a problem, it would not hurt to have a thyroid panel conducted on your dog.  Once these were identified, 83/95 dogs showed very quick improvement with treatment.

Studies have seen the sudden change in behavior in dogs and young adults. Dogs that belong to a specific group of breeds (golden retriever, Rottweiler, Akitas, for example) are at risk various health complications such as allergies and any immune system dysfunction. In their case, symptoms include seasonal allergies and itching of their skin. These can be symptoms directly related to thyroid dysfunction.

Puppies and young dogs start out as well-mannered and outgoing before the sudden changes in their personality are seen through nonstop whining, sudden nervousness and phobias, abnormal sweating, and inattention. From there, it can become sudden, unprovoked aggression with other animals and people, or a case of seizures (as explained above). In terms of treatment, a study at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine has shown dogs response to thyroid replacement therapy. Their study showed positive reviews in the first week of treatment and a change in their past behavior.

The human-dog connection in personality and in health has been crucial for a long time and their relation to thyroid disorders and aggression being identified adds to the correlation. The physical and psychological complex is continuously being studied to improve on what can be done to cut down on the condition’s expansion affecting humans and dogs alike. This subject is more broad and complicated than on paper because of the wide variations of the condition; diagnosis and treatment is currently the goal to find.

If you are experiencing issues with your dog or aggression, contact us:

http://offleashk9training.com/

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Why Is My Dog Starting To Become Aggressive? Dog Aggression Training in Northern Virginia

We deal with dog aggression regularly in Northern Virginia.  Your dog may have been such a sweet little puppy. They were behaved and well-mannered. That was until they were not. One very common question for animal behaviorists is why their dog suddenly starts showing aggression. This problem is especially common between the ages of 1 and 2. These dogs are also dogs that never go through the proper training, which makes them more susceptible to this aggressive and undesirable behavior. There are many reasons why your dog will “suddenly” start to show signs of aggression and that is the topic that will be discussed today.

First of all, the importance of training cannot be understated. If you want your dog to behave in an appropriate manner, training is the best way to do that. You should go through a training course with a trained professional who has the tools to ensure that your dog is properly trained.  You can find a certified Off Leash K9 Trainer near you here ( http://offleashk9training.com).  Through obedience training, your dog will learn that you are the alpha dog and the leader of the pack.   They also learn structure, discipline, rules, and good decision making.

Another reason that a dog may suddenly show aggression is because it was allowed to happen at a gradual pace. For instance, maybe your puppy growled at something and or showed another sign of aggression and you encouraged it because you felt your furry friend was just protecting you. However, rather than encouraging this behavior it should be stopped because it shows your dog that aggression is a good thing. You need to correct this bad behavior right away before it assumes its behavior is desirable.

A final (and most common) reason for this aggression could be due to a lack of socialization. Dogs need to socialize with other dogs just as children need to be out with other children. Dogs can learn desirable traits from other dogs, making them very useful training tools. These dogs need to be dogs outside of the household because socialization with others in the pack does not really count. Making playdates with dogs that belong to your friend or taking it to a dog park to play with all of those other dogs can really make a huge different in your dog’s behavior.  Being well socialized with a wide variety of dogs and people are both highly important.

It is never too late to correct your dog’s behavior. It is far more difficult to correct a dog’s aggression as it gets older but it can be done. If you find your dog is starting to show aggression, you should not wait to correct it. You need to contact an Off Leash K9 Training location that has the tools to really help these problems. A regular dog trainer may not be capable of helping you with this aggression issue. The behavior specialist will usually start with some rehabilitation before moving onto some obedience training along with behavior modifications. You need to get help before something bad happens, like a dog shows aggression like biting to another dog or a human. You can help your dog get better with the right help on your side.

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Bad Dog? President Obama’s Dog Bites White House Visitor | Off Leash K9 Training

Dog Bites in Northern Virginia

 

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we do dog reactivity training; however, it appears it’s needed in the White House!

TMZ has recently posted a photo of a nasty cut under a young woman’s eye, allegedly the result of being bitten by the Obama’s family dog, Sunny.

The 18-year-old visitor is a family friend of the Obama’s and was being given a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when she encountered Sunny. The girl went to give the the 4-year-old Portuguese water dog a hug,  when, for some reason still unknown, Sunny bit her on the cheek, just under her eye. This is another good reminder of why you shouldn’t hug or try to kiss unknown dogs!

TMZ says that the President’s family doctor looked at the gash that had been made and stitched up the cut. It is nothing serious, but it will leave a scar once the stitches are removed. The girl later posted a picture of her injury on social media.

The White House did not comment on the matter. President Obama has less than a week left in office before the transition of power to President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20.

Sunny, along with Bo, aged 8, have been with the family throughout their time staying at the White House. They are both notable in their pictures for their curly, non-shedding black fur and long tongues, and have been credited for making the breed popular.

If you are having issues like this with your dog, contact an Off Leash K9 Trainer in your area!

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Can My Aggressive Dog Be Fixed? Dog Aggression Training in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Dog Aggression Trainers
Everyday at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we work with aggression in dogs (food aggression, dog aggression, people aggression, etc).

Rehabilitation of any nature, whether it be man or dog has a complicated history. Yes, most dogs and people that tend to show signs of extreme aggression can be rehabilitated. But also no, there are some people and dogs who show signs and behavior that prove that rehabilitation is just simply not possible. The only way to find out for sure if an aggressive dog can be rehabilitated is to try training and attempt to do so.

It’s impossible for us to tell you based off of a phone conversation or really even an eval (generally) where they will be at after training.

To start, try out training and behavior modification lessons along with structured obedience training.  Such training, especially for aggressive dogs is usually only possible or successful through the strict guidance of a canine behavior specialist, a type of dog trainer who is used to behaviors usually exhibited by aggressive dogs. Definitely do not make the mistake of hiring a trainer from a big name pet store, simple training from them will not ever be able to fully change aggressive behavior. Changing aggressive behavior is a two-fold process, one that includes both training and behavior modification and they both include complete dedication by the owner to the rehabilitation of the aggressive dog.

The second part of changing aggressive behavior in dogs in behavior modification and that exists in a variety of steps, different for each dog. This could include but are not limited to, perhaps giving the dog more exercise. Sometimes the aggressive behavior in dogs is due to an uncomfortable living space where an owner is simply neglectful or the dog is under-socialized. Other tools of behavior modification include re-teaching or teaching the dog of their status in the family. Ways to do this include keeping the dog off the furniture, only feeding the dog after the family eats, door manners, obedience training, structure, and consistency.  By doing these things, you cement into the dog that their position in the family falls beneath that of the alpha, the owner.

These are only a few tricks and tools that can be employed by a canine behavior specialist at Off Leash K9 Training to attempt to remodel the behavior of an aggressive dog. But even these tricks and training are far from being fail-safe methods of rehabilitation. Each and every case of aggressive dog behavior is different from the last and each one will require a different amount of training and behavior modification pattern.  However, they all in common a major commitment from the owner.

The other facet that comes to the rehabilitation of an aggressive dog, in the hopes of returning it to being a peaceful and loving member of the family is coming to understand that the rehabilitation of an aggressive dog is not an overnight process. Each process will vary, sometimes the owners will see progression towards more loving behavior in a matter of a few days and sometimes, the rehabilitation process will take a few weeks or even a few months. Regardless of the time, not giving up on the rehabilitation hopes of your aggressive dog is the only hope you and your dog have.

If you have an aggressive dog (people aggression, dog aggression, food aggression, etc) and you want to help make him/her better, contact Off Leash K9 Training today!

http://www.offleashk9training.com or 888-413-0896 or info@offleashk9training.com

-Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

My Dog Is Aggressive Towards Other Dogs! Dog Aggression Training in Northern Virginia

dog aggressive dog northern virginia

Dog aggression is something that we literally deal with on a daily basis at our facility in Northern Virginia. If you go to our YouTube channel, you can see countless dog aggression before and after videos.

Just like with our blog on people aggression, we do not base your dog’s severity based off of the number of incidents, but we based it off of the severity of the incidents.

If your dog has been in “a lot of dog fights” or “attacked a lot of other dogs” (as we hear on a daily basis), we always ask about the SEVERITY. Severity of the “attack” is all that really matters, in our opinion.

If your dog has been in “a lot of fights” or “attacked a lot of dogs,” I would ask:
-Did at least two of the dogs have to go to the vet due to damage?
-Did the vet bills of 1 or more dogs total over $1000.00 in damage done by your dog?

If your answer is “no” to both, I would generally say that you do not have a “dog aggressive” dog. Your dog may be a dick, but I wouldn’t say that he or she is necessarily aggressive. What people do not realize is that is VERY easy for your dog to do damage (punctures) to another person or a dog; therefore, if they are “getting into fights,” but they are NOT doing damage, this is generally by the CHOICE of your dog. They could have easily done damage if that was their intention. So, your dog is showing great restraint and bite inhibition.

Also, it may not necessarily have been YOUR dog’s fault. Maybe another dog challenged him, postured up on him (etc) and you just didn’t notice this, and your dog reacted.

So, I would say that your dog is generally safe with other dogs, he just may not get a long with all dogs he meets. Here’s a big secret that many people do not realize, “YOUR DOG MAY NOT LOVE OR GET ALONG WITH EVERY DOG THEY MEET!”

Let me say that again, “Your dog will probably not like every dog it meets.” Shocking, right? Why is that true? You socialized them a lot when they were young, you do on-going socialization with them, etc. Let me put it to you differently, were you raised well, did you have a lot of friends growing up aka were you well socialized growing up? If you answered, “Yes,” then should it be safe to assume that YOU like every single person you meet? Ah hah! There you have it! It’s really that simple.

So, to get back to the main point, your dog’s dog aggression. From a training perspective, if your dog has not: 1) put two dogs in the vet or 2) given vet bills over $1000.00, we would say that your dog is definitely workable and can be taught to be better behaved and proper interaction.

If your dog HAS met two of these standards, I would generally say that your dog would not be safe around other dogs, regardless of training. We can still give you CONTROL over your dog with other dogs in their presence. Meaning, we can generally take your highly reactive dog who is going out of his way to attack another, and give you a dog that will stay in a heel, sit, down, place (etc) while another dog walks by without reacting. With that said, I still wouldn’t ever TRUST them with another dog, you just have control over them with other dogs around.

So, this is a good measuring tool to see if your dog’s dog aggression is fixable or just manageable. I would also strong encourage reading my blog, “Dog Aggressive Dog Training.”

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-Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

My Dog Bit Someone Unexpectedly! Dog Bite in Northern Virginia

As the highest rated dog trainers in Northern Virginia, we deal with a wide variety of people and dogs on a daily basis. We are known for our high-level of obedience training; however, one common issue we also deal with is aggression in dogs (towards people and other dogs).

When dealing with aggression, the owners are almost always in a frenzy, stressed, and find themselves and their dogs hiding away from people and society. One thing that we commonly hear in aggression cases (mainly with people) is, “There was no warning sign, he just jumped up and bit the guy.”

What they are saying is, “There were a lot of warning signs, but none “I” noticed.” Once we really start breaking down the incident (how, what, where), then we can generally easily formulate a “why.”

Say for instance, a scenario that we may hear is, “I had a friend come over, out of nowhere, he jumped up and bit him.”

*Note, I say “him” because my experience shows me that generally dog bites tend to happen more on men than women*

I almost never find a dog bite to be “that” cut and dry. All dogs have what we refer to as a “bite threshold;” meaning, under what circumstances does it take for me to react with a bite. If you think about it, many people have this same “fight or argue threshold.” You do, I do, and every one of your friends and family have this. Think about this for a minute to help you better understand what I mean.

Do you have a friend who gets upset far quicker than you? Do you have a friend or family member that the smallest thing can set them off and they are ready to fight or punch someone? Do you have a friend or family member who can take A LOT of abuse (physical or mental) and they still keep their composure and remain calm?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you now see that EVERYONE has a different amount of “pressure” before they react in a certain situation, some it takes very little and some it takes an enormous amount. Also, you see that people react DIFFERENTLY once this threshold is met. Welcome to your “threshold.”

Now that you understand the point I am trying to make (if you did not initially), dogs have this same threshold for reacting and HOW they react, just like with people.

So, you see the chart I illustrated below? This is to give you an example of how a dog doesn’t normally “just bite” someone. Generally, when we actually break down the event, the dog’s background or temperament, and the sequence of events that led up the bite, we can see what actually occurred.

Again, to jump back to the initial call or email that, “I had a friend come over, out of nowhere, he jumped up a bit my friend.”

After discussing their dog with them, we are able to see what “actually happened.” So, here is an example conversation below:

“Well, Rex can sometimes be shy/sketchy around new people. He also has growled at us on rare occasion if we push him off the couch or try to take his ball. He has also growled at the vet when they clip his toenails or mess with his paws. However, Rex has never bit anyone! I cannot believe he would do this!”

Then, I begin to break down the series of events that took place which led up to the friend being bit.

“Rex was laying on the couch, had his ball between his paws, and was just laying their playing with this ball and Mark (stranger) walked in, sat down on couch beside of Rex, and started petting him. Then, he went to move Rex’s paw so he could throw the ball for him and that’s when Rex just bit him out of nowhere.”

Do you all see what just happened? It was a bunch of minor events that normally gets a reaction out of Rex; however, all of these events came together in one scenario in order to create “the perfect storm.”

He didn’t like when the stranger came in (gave him anxiety), then he sat down next to him on the couch (which owner acknowledged he can be territorial), then he moved his feet WHILE Rex had a ball (again, both things the owner knew Rex doesn’t like).

Again, this is a very generic scenario; however, this is generally what dog bites break down to. For the severity of the reaction and the bite, I would recommend reading my blog on “How Fixable Is Your Dog’s People Aggression?”

So, it is YOUR responsibility as a responsible pet owner to find out what (if any) your dogs triggers are, get them addressed, and ensure that they never come together to create “the perfect storm.”

If you need help, contact us at:

www.offleashk9training.com
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-Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

Northern Virginia Dog Bite

How To Fix My Dog’s Toy Aggression – Northern Virginia

Toy Aggression is a behavioral issue we deal with a lot at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia.

First, we will start with prevention, to ensure you never have this problem with your dog.

Anytime we do our puppy training classes at our Northern Virignia facility, I always tell the owners to get their puppies used to them taking away their toys, giving them back, etc. So, as your puppy is playing with a new toy, bone, Kong, etc, I will just walk over to them, take it away from them, praise them, and then give it back. This gets your puppy at a young age conditioned and used to you taking things from them, I talk about this in my Pack Leadership Blog, as well. Essentially what you are doing is desensitizing them to people taking stuff from them while they are small and manageable, that way they think nothing of it when they are older and larger.

Also, what I’m a huge advocate of that most people do not do is I always recommend keeping all toys put up. Meaning, if you come over to my house, you will not see one dog toy on the floor. I only get out a toy (tug or a ball) when I’m working with my dog and he is doing well on obedience, then I use the toy as a reward. This does two things: 1) It helps build his drive for the object and 2) It teaches him that all of the toys are MINE and he only gets them when I give him access to them. I talk about building drive in your dog in my blog “Should I Play Tug With My Dog?”

Dogs who are toy aggressive see these toys as THEIRS and “you” are trying to take away THEIR toy. This is a very bad state-of-mind for your dog to be in. That shows that they do not respect you as the owner of these objects nor do they respect you as the pack leader.

Lastly, get your dog some obedience training so they have a solid “out” command or “leave it” command and you have control over your dog’s movement. Now, you can eliminate the issue by telling them to “out,” calling them away from it, and picking the toy up.

So, in summary: start desensitization work with your dog to get them used to you taking things away, find an obedience trainer to gain solid control over your dog, teach the dog that the toys are YOURS and not theirs by limiting their access to them, and start incorporating all of the pack leadership things discussed in the blog above.

My Dog Has Toy Aggression, Now What?

Your first course of action would be to find a qualified dog trainer in your area. As I tell people on a daily basis, “You cannot fix any issue in a dog that doesn’t listen.” To me, obedience and control over your dog is paramount for fixing almost any behavioral issue in your dog. As I’ve said before in another blog, “I have never seen an amazingly obedient dog with major behavioral issues and I have never seen a dog with major behavioral issues that was amazing in obedience.” Generally, all of these things go hand-in-hand. Obedience is a natural confidence builder for a dog, as well as a natural pack leadership bolsterer for you.

Now that you have control over your dog and you are working on the pack leadership issues that you have, now we can concentrate on correcting the behavior.

(Start Side Bar Topic) Here’s where it gets controversial, in my opinion, most dogs with aggression issues have to have a correction for the behavior! We work with 65 dogs per week, many of which went to some “positive reinforcement, clicker and treat, give him hot dogs until he’s full and falls over” trainer. Once they paid money, wasted a few weeks of time, and received no results, THEN they called us.

I think that dogs, much like humans, have to have a balanced approach of training. There has to be positive and praise when a desired behavior is achieved, and there has to be a correction for an unwanted behavior such as your dog trying to bite you or someone else. You cannot raise highly intelligent kids solely based off of positive reinforcement and ice cream, so why people think you can dogs is beyond me. As I say, the most confident and obedient dogs in the world are military, police, and ring (Mondio, ScH, French Ring) dogs, right? Not ONE of them solely use positive reinforcement. End of debate. (End Side Bar Topic)

So, while working with your toy aggressive or toy possessive dog, there has to be a correction for the unwanted behavior and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior. This will help teach your dog what is acceptable and unacceptable. Find a qualified trainer to work with your dog on these issues, do not try to fix this on your own.

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Got Bit While Breaking Up A Dog Fight

dogattack

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we hear stories of owners getting bit while breaking up a dog fight on a daily basis.

Once this happens, the owner usually calls us for two reasons:
1) Because their dog got into a fight with another dog and they want to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.
2) Their dog has never bitten them before, and now they are afraid that this will become a problem. They are completely shocked that their loving and friendly dog has caused them to get stitches.

First, your dog being dog aggressive could be a legitimate concern and training could definitely help with that, you can read our blog post training fixing your dog aggressive dog.

Second, chances are that you never have to worry about your dog biting you or someone else again, assuming that this was an isolated incident and the only time he/she has ever done this was while engaged in a dog fight. So, do not let that be a fear of yours.

As I always say at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, “If you have broken up a dog fight and you did NOT get bit, I am far more surprised than if you broke up a dog fight and you DID get bit.”

What I’m saying is that if you break up a dog fight; improperly, by yourself, and without knowledge of “how” to break one up, there is a very good chance you will get bit.

Keep in mind, your dog (or the other dog), has no malice intent towards you; however, it’s the “heat of the moment” type-of-situation. Your dog is engaged in a high intensity fight, and all they do is “react” to something grabbing them from a different direction.

Here’s the analogy I use on a daily basis with at my private dog training sessions in Northern Virginia, in order to help make this thought process easy to understand. I was a US Marine, everyone know’s Marines for: being awesome, drinking, and fighting, right? 🙂

So, imagine you are in the middle of a bar and you get into a knock down, drag out, very heated fight. In the middle of this, someone comes up and grabs you on your arm or back, most people’s instant reflex is to swing around, elbow back, throw a punch that way, etc. Welcome to the world of “Why You Got Bit While Breaking Up A Dog Fight.”

Now, this could have been your best friend, your brother, or your father reaching in to grab you and get you out of there; however, you were in the heat of the moment and just reacted. Your dog simply did the same exact thing, they just reacted without thought.

How Should You Break Up A Dog Fight Properly?

In order to properly break up a dog fight, you really should have two people. If your dog and another dog gets engaged into a dog fight, generally, both owners are present. So, you may have to be calm to instruct the owner of the other dog to do this drill, as well.

First, you both reach in and grab your dog by their hind legs! This is important, do not grab their collar, do not grab their chest, and do not grab their mouth, all of these will probably result in you getting bit. So, grab their hind legs and lift them up as if you are holding your dog in a wheelbarrow position (front legs on the ground, hind legs around your waist to chest level). Each owner does this with their dogs and start pulling apart.

Second, as soon as the dogs release their hold, now you start slowly turning in circles while still holding your dog’s hind legs off of the ground. What this does is it prevents them from redirecting and biting you. Since their legs are off the ground and you are turning, you are forcing them to continuously move their front paws side-to-side in order to prevent from falling on their face.

Do this as you each move your dogs further and further apart. Do not release them, or chances are they will go right back into fight mode. You should continue this wheelbarrow and circular motion while moving the dogs apart until you each have full control over the dogs, or until you are able to put one of the dogs in a safe spot (kennel, car, different room, etc).

Now, it is possible that you could be the only person present and nobody is around. You could be a kennel worker, it was a lone dog that came out after yours, etc.

How To Break Up A Dog Fight Alone:

Loop a leash around the first dog’s hind quarters (stomach area), make a loop with the leash; meaning, thread the end that attaches to the dogs collar through the handle of the leash creating a loop. Put thread this around the dog’s stomach and start pulling him back with it. Pull him back until you can attach the connector (that is in your hand) to something to secure the dog in place (kennel, fence, etc). Now, that first dog is essentially anchored to whatever you attached him to.

Then, go behind the second dog and do the drill described above when two owners are present.

Doing this drill, may take a few more seconds; however, it will help ensure that you do not get bit which is well worth it.

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Dealing With Leash Aggression in Dogs – Northern Virginia

We deal with leash aggression in dogs weekly at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia.

An important study to first reference is one which was recently done on 2000 dogs at Mendel University in the Czech Republic. In 2000 dogs of varying breed, age, and size; researchers noted that dogs who were ON a leash were twice as likely to become aggressive with dogs as dogs who were off leash were.

Now, we must decipher the burning question, “WHY?

-The on leash dogs were restricted by the confines of the leash, which inhibited their ability to circle around the other dog, get a “feel for them,” and give them a proper greeting in order to determine if they were friendly or not. When the dog is not able to determine this, they often times gave a defensive posture since they could not establish the other dog’s intentions.

-Flight or fight. When a dog isn’t sure how to react in a certain situation (just like with people), flight or fight kicks in. By being on a leash, you are restricting your dog’s ability to flight, so he immediately kicks in fight mode with an aggressive response.

It’s also important to note that the 2000 dogs were FOUR times as likely to be aggressive on a leash when a male was walking them as opposed to a female walking them. Many would assume the opposite because many would see the male as more the pack leader and in-charge, but they believe the reasoning is far more simplistic than that.

Women are often more friendly and inviting to passerby’s and their dogs. Meaning, often times when will smile, say hello, and exchange pleasantries with the oncoming person and their dog. They believe the dog picks up on this nice, calm, friendly demeanor from the owner, so they too feel more relaxed and at-ease with the situation. Whereas men are more macho, not as socially friendly, and not as warm greeting with strangers as women; therefore, when someone is approaching, the men often times will just not pay attention to the oncoming person and their dog, avoid eye contact, no smiling (etc) and the dogs can interpret this “avoidance” as a problem and go on the defensive with the oncoming dog.

What Can You Do To Help With Your Dog’s Leash Aggression?

Obedience Training: This is essential, having control over your dog, pack leadership, confidence building, and correction for negative behavior. All of these are things that will undoubtedly help with your dog’s leash aggression.

-Be aware of your surroundings. When you see a stranger and their dog approaching, be friendly, polite, warm, and welcoming. This can help you translate your warm and relaxed demeanor onto your dog.

-Do not tense up on the leash when you see another dog. This tension travels down the leash straight to your dog and tells them, “I need to be on edge for something coming up.”

Pack Leadership. Letting your dog know that you are in control of the situation and them controlling the situation is not necessary nor needed.

-Try to give your dog proper space for interaction with the other dog so they do not feel confined and do a proper introduction.

-Watch the other dog’s body language. You may be able to avoid a bad situation just by YOU being observant and see if the other dog appears to have good or bad intentions.

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