Teaching a Giant Breed Dog to Stay Behind an Invisible Line

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 19, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session, we taught 2 year-old English Mastiff Hercules to stay behind an invisible line and shared tips to help his roomie, fearfully aggressive 2 year-old Hagrid.

Because Hagrid had some human aggression issues, his guardians had set up a baby gate to keep the dog away from guests who come and visit. This prevented him from getting to the front door but did not stop him from barking in protest.

I used some dog behavior tricks that seemed to have a somewhat calming affect on him, but not to the extent where I could work with him directly.

Once we shuffled the dogs and I was able to make it into the living room and Hagrid transitioned to downstairs, I got to meet big Hercules. Not only is he big in size, he has quite the personality as well.

Unfortunately, Hercules never learned the concept of respecting a human’s personal space. With his face inches from mine, he was a commanding presence even though he was not at all aggressive. But when he decided to start trying to jump up on me that took things to a whole different level.

I ignored Hercules and fended him off multiple times but it quickly became clear that I needed to show the guardians how they could teach a dog to stay behind a boundary or at least how they could train a dog to respect people‘s personal space.

After sharing and summarizing the escalating consequences that I use to disagree with unwanted dog behavior, I had the guardian go to the fridge and grab some lunch meat so that I could show her how she could teach her dog to give her some personal space while she had a very high value item.

Teaching a dog to learn to keep its distance from a human who is eating food is all about creating a situation where you can put the dog in a position to succeed then help them practice this good behavior.

Although Hercules needed a few corrections, it only took a couple of minutes before he stayed behind the invisible line while his guardian sat on the couch snacking on her lunch meat. You could tell she was relishing having the dog control itself while she lounged on the couch.

I recommended that the guardian create scenarios like this so that they could help both dogs practice staying behind boundaries.

For the rest of this in home dog training session, I shared a few dog behavior secrets to help Hagrid stop feeling so insecure which is probably why he is lashing out and lunging at people to disagree with them.

Because these are giant breed dogs, this can quickly become a very dangerous situation. I’m hopeful that the rules, structure and dog psychology that I shared with the guardians will help Hagrid develop more self-esteem so that he can stop being so fearful he aggressive.

I showed the guardians a small BAT training track that seem to have a positive impact on Hagrid. However this was not the best time to implement this approach as we were nearing the three hour mark. He was clearly stressed and exhausted so I told the guardians I wanted them to call or text me in a few weeks with a progress report. That’s when we will know if we need to set up a one hour follow up session to directly across Hagrid‘s lunging behavior.

To help the guardians remember all the tips and suggestions that I shared with them in this at home dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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