• Teresa Stanczak

    December 23, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Are you doing a drill like the one seen in this video of a “greeting drill” which is done in our aggression support group class:


    If you notice in the video we use resistance to help the dog and to make it easy for us to tell what the dog is doing without having to have the dog in eyesight at all times. You can try having the dog in a sit and walking out to the end of the leash (with resisitance) to shake hands and talk to the person. This will give the dog more distance, and distance generally raises the threshold for aggression. Ideally you want to work with her in a stepwise manner to reduce potential for her being uncomfortable to escalate to aggression. Does she respond aggressively from a distance of 6ft or greater when a person looks at her, talks to her etc? This is the place to start to desensitize and countercondition.

    Aggression never completely goes away. It is always a management issue. The goal is to successfully decrease the amount of management needed. That being said, every dog is different on how much management they will ultimately need. It involves many things, like genetics, socialization (environment), past negative experience, and experience in being successful by showing aggression at getting rid of the threat.

    You could train with the remote collar, by completing Phase 3 training before doing work with the remote and aggression rehab. This can increase the motivation to comply with obedience, but will not make the dog more comfortable with strangers. This still relies on counterconditioning and desensitizing. The remote will eventually be necessary to work on a solid “place” command (if your goal is that the dog is not crated for visitors) unless they are really good at handling a lightline. For strangers walking up to the dog and wanting to pet it, you want the dog to be reliable not to lunge but it IS the owner’s responsibility to the dog to not allow people to run up to the dog and expect to the dog to accept petting. A common drill we teach owners in aggression rehab is how to keep the dog in a sit behind them, so they can block people from running up and petting the dog.

    You can also work on an “easy” command as well. A muzzle of course is prerequisite for all aggression rehab. Safety first 🙂