Helping a Dog Learn to Stop Acting Aggressive to Other Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: February 28, 2023

stop dogs from acting aggressive

For this West LA dog training session we shared tips to stop dogs from acting aggressive to other dogs to help 3 year-old Belgian Malinois mix Dolly.

Since Dolly is sometimes reactive to people that she doesn’t know, I laid a treat trail from her door to where I was waiting a couple of houses away. This setup worked brilliantly; Dolly was eating treats out of my hand within seconds of meeting her.

I recommended that the Guardian practice this treat trail daily for a few days and then arrange to have a friend that Dolly knows wait for her at the end of the treat trail. This will further enhance it as a positive experience. Once Dolly gets used to this activity, her guardian can use it to introduce her to new people in a positive way. A practice run or two before meeting the person at the end of the treat trail is highly advisable.

After heading inside Dolly’s home, we spent the first part of the session covering a number of dog behavior fundamentals; how and when to use marker words, a hand targeting exercise to reposition the dog, the importance of celebrating desired behaviors, creative exercise tips as well as some brain games to provide mental stimulation.

We also discussed dog consent, body language and cut off signals. Being able to read your dog is a dramatically overlooked skill for dog owners in my opinion. But anytime you’re dealing with a dog that can act aggressive around other dogs, it’s really important to know what to look for. That way, you can get your dog out of a potentially bad situation before it feels the need to bark and lunge at another dog.

Tips to stop dogs from acting aggressive to other dogs

Next we leashed up Dolly so that we could head outside and work on her dog reactivity. This was not the ideal scenario as we had already spent a couple of hours working on general dog behavior tips and exercises.

As LA’s resident dog behavior expert, I have found that it is important to set your dog up for success when it acts aggressive around other dogs or people. In a perfect world, the Guardian would take Dolly out for a 10 to 15 minute walk, conduct a five minute game of fetch or do some scent games – followed by 15 minutes of rest before practicing these secrets to stop aggressive behavior in dogs.

If your dog acts aggressive when it sees other dogs, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

Stopping dog aggression is all about helping the dog feel comfortable and confident around whatever it is they are normally reactive too. This is why punishing or correcting a reactive dog is the opposite of what you need to do if your goal is to stop dog aggression.

In the Dolly’s case, she is likely barking to make the other dogs go away. I was a little disappointed in the video that we shot on the technique because Dolly was likely overly tired and the neighborhood wasn’t the ideal place to practice this secret to stopping dog aggression. But since time was limited, I wanted to make sure to put together a video to give the humans tools to fix the dog aggression problem.

I suggested the guardian recruit a friend who has a dog and then practice in an environment that is not quite so busy or associated with her territory. If they can practice these techniques to stop dog aggression in 15 or 20 minute practice sessions that happen a few times a week, the guardian should see a notable difference in Dolly. But the most important factor is that the distance is far enough away that Dolly does not feel the need to bark. If she does, the Guardian needs to immediately increase the distance between Dolly and the other dog. This is why conducting this type of dog behavior modification in a park or large open area is best.

To help the guardian remember all of the dog behavior tips we shared in this in-home West LA dog training session, we filmed a summary roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr