Teaching a Laurel Canyon Wheaton its Better to Look at Guests than Bark at Them

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 22, 2019

For this Los Angeles dog training session, we helped 1 year old Wheaten Terrier Cagney stop reacting to people she doesn’t know.

Knowing that Cagney was sometimes reactive to houseguests, I called ahead and set up a meeting outside where she could feel more comfortable and I could use a few dog behaviorist tricks to create a positive association.

Anyone who watches or reads our stuff knows we hate prong collars as its a pain-causing device. Fortunately her guardians were already concerned about using the device, so I was able to swap out a Martingale for it. I promised to link my 5 rules for a structured walk video in this write up so they can stop her from pulling without using a discomfort causing tool.

We headed inside so I could discuss her stranger danger aggression when meeting new people inside her home. Stopping a dog from acting aggressive is all about determining why the dog is reacting in the first place. I made sure to tell the guardians to not discipline or correct her for growling and increase distance between her and whatever she is beefing at instead.

In Cagney’s case, this looks like a combination of genetics (herding breed) combined with confusion as to who are the leaders and followers in the home. I spent quite a bit of time going over ways to create a healthy leader follower dynamic before doing any exercises to help stop the dog from acting aggressive to strangers.

After sharing dog behavior secrets to help the dog develop more respect for the humans as leaders, we were ready to stop the dog from barking at people who visit her home. One of the tricks I use to stop aggressive dog behavior is something I call “Click for looks” where we reward the dog for looking at things it disagrees with or is fearful of. You can learn how to do this in the free positive dog training video below.

This is an easy exercise to help stop aggressive dog behavior, but in order to be effective the dog can’t be reacting and the humans need to practice a lot, in progressively more challenging scenarios.

It was great to see Cagey learning that looking at me earned her a treat. If her guardians practice this a few times a week for a month or so, they should see a substantial difference and reduction of her aggressive heavier towards people.

To help the humans remember all the tips we covered in this in home Laurel Canyon dog training session, we recorded 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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