Teaching a Santa Monica Husky’s Parents How to Stop Dog on Dog Aggression

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 29, 2023

stop dog on dog aggression

For this Santa Monica dog training session we worked with Cholula, a 3 year-old Husky Staffy mix; sharing tips on how to stop dog on dog aggression.

We began by going over a number of dog behavior fundamentals. One of my goals as Santa Monica’s dog behavior expert is to help people better understand their dogs as well as hlep them fix their problems. Knowing the “why” of behavior can be highly illuminating when you understand what your dog is trying to accomplish.

Many of my LA dog behavior clients accidentally cause or reinforce the exact behavior they hire me to fix. One of the reasons my cleints get such great results is I am teaching them what all the things they need to know about their dog and how their behavior can impact the dog. If the humans dont stop doing the things that contribute to their dog’s unwanted behavior, no fix is ever going to be fully successful.

We went over what marker words and sounds are and how to load them to they are effective. We discussed the importance of celebrating desired behaviors and how to redirect their dog from unwanted actions. Next I ran them through a dog consent exercise and how to read dog body language before we discussed some creative ways to exercise a dog such as scent games like Cookie in the Corner before wrapping up with the benefits and importance of of mental stimulation.

Ensuring that a dog understands what you want, feels secure and has its mental and physical needs met are fundamentals that are important anytime you are trying to fix a dog behavior problem.

After running through all the fundamentals, we were ready to address the main dog behavior problem the guardians wanted help with; how to stop Cholula’s dog aggression.

As a Dog Behaviorist, I have learned that most dogs who act in what many people think of as aggression are actually fearful, anxious or nervous and acting out to try to make the scary thing go away (increase distance). By reacting (barking, bearing teeth, growling, lunging, nipping), the dog is albe to get the scary thing to move away. I always tell my cleints you should interpret a growling dog as saying “I feel uncomfortable,” or “I disagree.”

Unfortunately many people see these displays as acts of aggression and are quick to disagree with or punish their dog (and make them sit (never ask a reactive dog to sit) when it acts that way.

If you are feeling fearful, anxious or nervous, how would you feel if your trusted person told you to be quiet? Correcting or chastizing a reactive dog is one of the worst things you can do, because it may work. With lots of practice, you will condition your dog to not act out. Instead they will not offer a warning and instead go straight to a bite. That is dangerous and also contributes to a stressful and insecure feeling for your dog.

But if you recognize your dog feels uncomfortable and move your dog away from the scary thing, you are managing the situation so your dog doesnt have to. This is called maintence and its a very wise thing to do if you can recognize your dog feels incomfortable.

So avoiding or moving away from scary things helps your dog esstentially practice not reacting to the scary thing, it doesnt fix the root cause of the behavior.

How to Stop Dog on Dog Aggression

To stop a dog from acting aggressive, you need to change the dog’s emotional response of the scary thing. This works for all kinds of dog reactivity; fear, stress, anxiety, territoriality and can even stop dog on dog aggression when done properly.

While this method to treat dog on dog aggression isnt hard to do, its important you practice successfully. One of the more common mistakes people make is something I like to call practicing untill failure; practicing until your dog reacts. This greatly reduces all the good work you did up till that point, so its something you really want to avoid. This is one of the sercrets of stopping dog on dog aggression.

We headed out for a walk to see if I could recruit a few dogs so I could show the guardians an easy way to stop dog on dog aggresson. If your dog has a dog aggression or reactivity problem, you should watch the free positive dog training video below.

By creating a situation where Cholula was able to see another dog, but at a distance far enough for her to feel safe, we were able to help her practice not acting aggressive to the other dogs. This is something some peole struggle with as it looks too easy to be an effective dog rehabilitation exercise. But it is. Provided you dont get too close and practice until failure.

Basically what yu want to do is stack multiple positive experiences around other dogs together while avoiding any situation that causes your dog to react (as that is practice too). As your dog starts to feel more comfortable around other dogs (because you are managing the distance and providing rewards when they act how you want), you can start to decrease the distance between your dog and the other dog. Basically you are training a dog to not act aggressive.

Now there is more to it that just being around other dogs. Becoming an expert at reading your dogs body language is important so you know when to get closer and when you need to move away. This will also help you better read the other dog which is important when you start getting really close. This is the key aspect in teaching a dog to not act aggressive to other dogs.

Id like to see the guardians practicing 2-3 times a week in short, 20-30 minute practice sessions that are comprised of 2-3, 4-6 minute practice sessions followed by a break to let your dog relax. This may seem like a low exercise activity, but emotions are strong drivers of your dog’s body. Giving your dog a chance to take a sniff break, get some belly rubs or cuddles in between the work can help envigorate your dog and make your practice more effective. This makes it an easy way to stop dog aggression, but you have to be vigilant.

When we got back home, Cholula was noticeably lower energy so we let her relax. But I wanted to make sure the guardians got everything out of this in home Santa Monica dog training session. I set up my camera so I could record a roadmap to success sumamry video with all the dog behavior tips I shared with them.

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This post was written by: David Codr