Last week we showed you our psycho pup video. The week before that we displayed this video of our three dogs, one of which was a recent rescue and had aggressive issues, now sharing one food dish and having manners. Now we’re going to give you some tips on how to break that aggression in your pups and dogs, so you can experience peace in your home too!
A GOOD TRAINER CAN HELP
A dog owner recently contacted me about her 9 month old Havanese/Toy Poodle. “Although I’ve had 12 group training classes at Pet Smart,,” she explained, “my puppy still has behavioral issues like jumping, mouthing, biting and won’t come to me.”
I wasn’t surprised. For one thing, the trainer at Pet Smart was very young and new. For another thing the puppies and dogs were given a treat for every little thing they did. And lastly, there was no discipline.
REWARD VS DISCIPLINE
Let me first say, as a dog trainer, I’ve made mistakes too—plenty—but I’ve learned from those mistakes. Secondly, I use treats sparingly and have better results with positive reinforcements. And thirdly, I use discipline that doesn’t harm the dog, but makes them pay closer attention and obey.
It’s the same when training my children. I didn’t give them a piece of candy or a treat every time they did a good job or something I wanted them to. However, I did praise them and show them affection. And, equally so, when they were disobedient and displayed unwanted behavior, I let them know I disapproved of their behavior and they were disciplined.
People have taken discipline the wrong way. We went from a time when spanking our children and pets led to abuse for some, so now these days we’ve become so fearful and slack that we allow our kids and pets to get away with everything. There has to be a happy balance. And no, I’m not saying to spank your pets.
VERBAL DISCIPLINE and PHYSICAL CORRECTION WORK
I’ve found that verbal discipline is somewhat effective in correcting negative or unwanted behavior. I’ve also discovered when you add a physical correction to that verbal correction, puppies and dogs learn much quicker. When training and working with pups and dogs in the beginning, I either use a choke collar or a prong collar. People fear these types of collars, but if used appropriately they are very effective and will train your pup and dog, not hurt them.
In my private and group sessions I teach dog owners how to properly and effectively use them to break unwanted behaviors as well as help them to become more obedient.
The lady I mentioned in my opening paragraph came to my home for a private session. After seeing me work with her pup for a half hour, she paid me for four private sessions in advance and signed her puppy up for our spring group training classes.
8 TIPS TO BREAK AGGRESSION
- Make sure your pup/dog is getting enough exercise—they need an hour walk and 20 minutes of rigorous play time with you
- Never use your hands to play with your dog, always use a toy
- Tell them “Aaht Aaht NO BITE” whenever they mouth, nip or bite and pull your hands away
- Keep them on a lead so you can make a correction the instant they become aggressive
- All play and attention stops when they become aggressive
- Teach them instead to “Kiss” by offering a flat hand
- Use a choke collar when training—only tighten up on it when they are acting out and release quickly after giving a short correction
- The safest thing to do is to work one on one with a dog trainer who can observe the situation and give you a better idea of exactly how to correct the bad behavior and get your dog under control and bring more peace to your home.
Lisa Freeman is an AKC Evaluator, Dog Trainer and Certified Pet Therapist. She specializes in obedience, aggression/bully dogs as well as fearful dogs, and behavior modification. Currently she is offering both private and group classes. For more information on her upcoming classes, prices and availability, please click here.