Helping a Los Angeles Dog Stop Acting Aggressive to Men

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 31, 2017

For this Los Angeles dog training session we helped 5 year-old Terrier / Pointer mix Logan stop his habit of acting unpredictably aggressive to men.

As a Los Angeles dog behavior expert, I knew that taking the time to make sure Logan was relaxed and had a positive association with my greeting was crucial so that I would be able to work with him on his dog aggression issue. You can see many of the positive dog training techniques I used to successfully meet Logan in the video below.

The guardian can recreate this approach with anyone she feels may trigger a response from Logan. Making sure the dog and handler are both relaxed and comfortable during a greeting can go a long ways towards ensuring its a success. Sitting down, turning sideways, moving slowly, keeping a few feet of distance or holding still can all help a dog feel more at ease.

Knowing what communication cues to look for can help Logan’s guardian spot any anxiety or warning signs early enough to stop them from escalating so I spent a few minutes going over some common dog warning signs.

One big warning sign of I failed to note in the above video was the licking of lips. This is a classic dog communication sign of stress or anxiety. Anytime you see a dog repeatedly licking its nose or flicking its tongue, its a safe bet the dog is on edge.

Recognizing these warning signs can alert the guardians and give them time to apply a change to help the dog feel more at ease. When in doubt, the best approach is to increase distance between the dog and anything its uncomfortable with. If the human manages the situation properly enough times, the dog will start to count on them to keep it safe instead of resorting to any aggressive behavior.

While discussing Logan’s inconsistent dog aggression and his daily life, I learned that he didn’t really have many rules to govern his behavior. Additionally his guardian petted his so much he likely got the impression he needed to protect her. Protective aggression like this almost always comes from over love combined with little to no structure and discipline.

Dogs are all about what they see with their own eyes. Without having many rules in place, Logan didn’t see his guardian “acting” like a leader from his perspective. After explaining the importance of rules, I showed his guardians how to enforce them in a way that he would recognize and respect.

I also showed them a number of dog training secrets to help Logan’s guardians start to change the leader follower dynamic in his home. Adding structure to petting him and rewarding him when he displayed desired actions or behaviors can be simple yet effective ways to help the dog start to identify as a follower. This transition is a crucial part of the dog’s behavior modification. Until the dog sees and respects the guardian as a leader, its going to be hard to stop his aggressive behavior.

I also shared a few techniques that the guardian can use to redirect Logan’s attention before he feels the need to act out aggressively. One of these is what I call a Focus exercise. I spent 20 minutes explaining and demonstrating the technique before I coached the guardians through it themselves. If they need to refresh their memory on it, they can use this link to a focus training video from another session.

By this point in the session I had established a great report with Logan and was finally able to pet him and give some belly rubs. Id been looking forward to this as Logan shares a close resemblance to one of my own dogs named California.

Near the end of the session I got down on the floor with one of his guardians to show her how to teach Logan to catch. I developed a simple catch game that can help a dog meet and interact with people with a little distance. Positive interactions like that will develop nice positive associations in the dog’s mind and be a great way to meet a new person.

The more the guardians enforce rules and provide structure along with love and properly timed attention, the more Logan will feel they have his back; allowing him to go off duty and relax instead of thinking he needs to protect them.

We finished things up by shooting a Roadmap to Success video filled with a summary of the tips I shared in this in home dog training session.

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