Updated: Jan 14
I met with wonderful couple today who have a dog that resource guards and is aggressive to other dogs. The dog is a rescue, as are most of the behavior cases I see, and she (the dog) has list of issues that could easily cause problems and dangers to other dogs and/or people. The couple adopted the dog knowing her issues, and is committed to helping her learn a better way to cope with dogs and other things in the world she is unsure about.
In our first session, we discussed goals and identified the common triggers for this dog that create problems for her navigating life (such as biting). We also talked about creating a communication system for her, which is really what dog training is all about. If I have behaviors on cue, I can guide my dog's choices in life. Yes, working with reactive/aggressive cases involves controlled exposure, and much more, but the first step is having a communication system both the human and the dog understand. By teaching communication first, limiting exposure to environmental triggers (environmental management and antecedent arrangement) while we begin training, we can create confidence in the dog, build trust between the dog and her owners, develop confidence for the humans in the dog's response to cues and relieve stress for both dog and human.
Today, in our second lesson, I had the pleasure of watching both dog/human begin their journey, build that trust and was blown away by the great work between dog and owner! The skills we are teaching in this clip: Come when called & Impulse Control (leave that alone and look at me). Enjoy this little montage of this wonderful little bulldog learning with her humans!