Tips to Help a Formerly Abused Dog Stop Acting Aggressive Towards Men

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 13, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with 4 year-old Pit Bull Bella, helping her stop acting aggressive to men.

Because Bella also has some dog aggression, she was kept away from Kai, the family’s 3 year-old Rottweiler. I asked for Bella to be loose when I arrived for the session so I could evaluate her human aggression.

Bella was upset while I waited outside the door for her to clam down. Excitement or over stimulation is often a contributing factor to aggressive dog behavior. I waited several minutes for Bella to settle down, but she couldn’t get to a calm state so her guardians put her in the basement where spends a lot of time.

Some dogs are aggressive to people, some act that way to dogs and some to both. Bella fell into the later category so her guardians kept her separated from Kai. Once Bella was away, playful Kai came out and said hello.

I spent the first part of the session going over the reasons dogs act aggressive. In Bella’s case, a negative experience with a male who abused her was the primary issue. But her guardians also had created an environment where it’s quite likely that the dog feels its her job to protect or be possessive of the house and humans.

After sharing a number of dog behavior tips to create a healthy leader follower dynamic, I wanted to share some tips to help Bella start having positive associations with men. I summarized these tips to stopping aggressive behavior towards men in the free dog training video below.

Its going to be important for the guardians to practice these positive dog training exercises frequently to gain some momentum. The more Bella is exposed to men in a pleasant and positive way, the less she will see them as a threat. Stopping dog aggression is all about putting the dog into situations where it is exposed to the thing the don’t like, but in a way that the dog doesn’t feel threatened or a need to react. We call this “sub threshold.”

If the guardians go at Bella’s pace and practice every day or every other, they should notice her aggression decreases progressively. This won’t be an overnight solution. In fact, I suspect we will need a follow up session to work on reducing dog aggression via some BAT training or counterconditioning in a month or so. But first the guardians need to focus on flipping the leader follower dynamic in the home by enforcing rules, adding structure, petting with a purpose and recognizing and rewarding desired actions and behaviors.

To help the guardians remember all the tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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