Teaching a Santa Monica French Bulldog to Focus on His Guardian Instead of Acting Aggressive to Other dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 10, 2018

For this Santa Monica dog training session, we shared tips to stop 4 year-old French Bulldog Butter from acting aggressive to other dogs.

I was originally called in to address Butter’s interactions with his guardian’s partner, but shortly after this session they split up. So if you hear me referencing another Frenchie in the free dog training videos below, that’s why.

I started out by discussing the importance or rules and structure, especially when you have a determined breed. It’s not necessary to specialize as a French Bulldog trainer to add rules and structure; you just need to be consistent.

I shared a number of dog behavior secrets to use when Butter is at home. Enforcing rules consistently is a great way to flip the leader follower dynamic as the dog sees the human acting in a leader like fashion each time they enforce a rule. I also shared my petting with a purpose method and the benefits of rewarding desired actions via passive training.

These small, but frequently repeated actions have a sort of cumulative property on the dog. Each interaction is minor, but when they are repeated over and over, they add up to a powerful wave that washed over the dog in a way it can’t push back against. The power of positive dog training.

A great way to stop dog aggression is to get a dog out of the situation before things escalate into a dog fight. Most dogs start climbing the aggression ladder by staring at the other dog or person. If that doesn’t make the other dog back away or leave, they offer other communications including; ears rotating forward, hair on their back standing up, stiff body posture, heavy breathing or holding of breath, dilated pupils, bearing teeth, tongue flicks, yawns and others.

In Butter’s case, the stare was the initiator of further aggression unless the other dog stopped staring or moved away. The ex boyfriend’s Frenchie would stare at Butter who often would look away. But when he didn’t, he would start offering a low growl, then get stiff, then start moving towards the other dog if left unabated.

To help reduce the dog aggression, I wanted to show the guardian how to redirect Butter’s attention with a Focus exercise. You can learn how to teach a dog to focus by watching the free dog training video below.

Training the dog to focus on his guardian on command is a powerful way of helping stop dog aggression before it can start to escalate. If the guardian gives the Focus command when Butter starts to stare, she should be able to stop things from progressing further. The first step to helping dogs stop acting aggressive is to get them out of the situation as soon as possible.

Combined with flipping the leader follower dynamic, my hope is that the guardian can help the dog see that she is in charge and will take care of keeping things safe. I think some of this issue comes from the dog thinking it needs to protect the human. If there is a reduction of dog aggression in the weeks following the session, that should serve as motivation for the guardian to continue with the changes we made in this dog psychology session.

But if Butter continues acting aggressively to other dogs, we may need to set up a follow up session to do some BAT training and help Butter learn and practice non aggressive dog behavior.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior tips I shared with her in this in home Santa Monica dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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