List of 13 Free Steps to Stop a Dog From Acting Aggressive to Guests

By: David Codr

Published Date: February 6, 2020

For this Council Bluffs dog training session we worked with a pair of Dachshunds; Fits (left) and Dobi – sharing tips to stop Fits from acting aggressive when meeting new people.

Knowing that Fits sometimes acts aggressive to people he doesn’t know, I called ahead to set up a different way to meet. Ive used this secret to stopping dog aggression when meeting new people many times. Its easy and usually highly successful for mild cases of dog aggression; especially dogs who are fearfully aggressive like Fits.

The setup for this tip to stop a dog from acting aggressive to strangers has a few steps.

  1. Exercise the dog beforehand. We didnt do so for this greeting, but getting the dog a good 3-5 minutes of exercise, followed by 10 minutes of rest can set a dog up for success.
  2. Make sure the dog cannot see or hear that a person is outside. Distracting them or moving to a part of the home away from the door keeps the dog in a calm state of mind.
  3. Give the person some really high value treats (without the dog knowing or seeing) that have a strong smell and are warm. The smell is the most important factor when it comes to food or treats for dogs and temperature is number two. I prefer using chicken liver or warm chicken for cases like this.
  4. The person leaves a trail of treats, about 1-2 feet apart starting on the step outside the door, then leading to where the person will be sitting.
  5. The person needs to position themselves at least 2o yards from the house and in a location the dog cannot see until they are pretty close to the person.
  6. The person should be seated, positioned so the dog will first see them from the side. The treats leading up to the person should be grouped closer together from right before the spot where the dog will see the person.
  7. The handler needs to not let the dog pull or lunge on the leash and avoid using any calming words “its ok,” “good boy,” etc. This can lead to an accidental command word to get anxious or nervous.
  8. When the dog gets to the person, allow as much sniffing as possible, but the handler should not allow the dog to climb on top of the person. Guiding or luring away with a treat instead of pulling on the leash.
  9. After the dog moves away, the stranger should offer Fits a treat, then move in a slower fluid motion onto their side (getting ready to stand up).*
  10. Then the person should offer another treat and stand partially up (not all the way, maybe kneeling) keeping the dog on their side. It important this is done with the dog seeing the person. You don’t want the dog to be surprised at any movements.*
  11. The person should offer another treat off to their side again, then stand the rest of the way up.*
  12. Once standing up, the handler, stranger and Fits should go for a walk, 4-10 minutes or so to seal the deal. After that, they can come inside and treat Fits for sits, downs and any new tricks the guardians should be teaching their dogs.
  13. The visit should be on the shorter side, 10-20 minutes or so. You don’t want to push too far as at first, this is a stressful situation for the dog.
  • At first, its important to treat Fits before the person starts to rise. But after Fits becomes more comfortable with this exercise to stop a dog from acting aggressive to guests, the treat delivery order needs to be inverted for #’s 9-11. Meaning the person offers the treat after the movement.

Once this flip is made, the dog starts to see the movement (standing up) as an indicator that its about to get a treat. This will help stop the dog from lunging at people who stand up or move.

The guardians can repeat the last few steps if Fits barks or gets upset if people move around inside the home too.

This is an easy way to stop a dog from acting aggressive or nipping people that anyone can do, even if you are not a professional Dachshund dog trainer.

I was so happy to be able to work with these dogs. The guardians had enlisted the help of a well known Council Bluffs based force and punishment based trainer a few months before and told me they didnt touch the dogs once in that session!

I don’t believe any dog needs a punishment based approach or tool and am always grateful when afforded the opportunity to work with dogs who escaped that sort of situation.

To help the guardians remember all the tips we covered in this in home Council Bluffs dog training session, we filmed 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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