Tips to Stop Dog Aggression in West LA

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 29, 2023

stop dog aggression

For this West LA dog training session we worked with a pair of Labs; Lucy and Moe, sharing tips to stop dog aggression.

We started the session off by going over a number of dog behavior fundamentals; marker words, dog body language, dog consent and cut off signals, the importance of rewarding desired behaviors and teaching dog manners.

We also did a little positive dog training; teaching Lucy to come when called, tips to make it easy to put the harness and a tip to stop Lucy from humping her roommate.

An Easy Way to Stop Dog Aggression

The main issue the guardians wanted to help with was Lucy’s reactive behavior to other dogs on walks. Some people call this dog aggression. While that can be the case, in my experience, far more dogs are simply acting out of frear or anxiety and thier behavior is an attempt to make something go away. While it sounds aggressive, that isnt always he case. That’s why we usually call it reactivity.

Since this behavior is not consistent for all dogs, I suggested they keep basic notes of any dogs she reacts to. We may discover a common trait like coat color, breed, energy level, etc.  The data can help us narrow down specific triggers to avoid on walks now and desensiize Lucy to later. Knowing why your dog is acting aggressive or reactive is an important part in stopping dog on dog aggression.

We headed out for a walk so that I could show the guardians how they can help stop dog aggression when Lucy gets reactive. The secret to stopping dog aggression is all about helping the dog feel comfortable, secure and confident when it’s around other dogs. There is a always a distance that allows your dog feel relaxed while around other dogs. For some dogs, that is a long long ways away. For calmer or less threatening dogs, you can get closer. It doesnt matter how far away you have to move, the important thing is to find the right distance (where you dog is aware bt not reactive) as that is your starting point.

When a dog barks and lunges, it’s an indication that it feels unsafe or uncomfortable. It usualy means you got too close and or did not pick up on yoru dog’s body language. or cut off signals. Since the human did not stop the situation, the dog felt it was an unable to handle it so it reacts. But if we watch for signs and control the environement around our dog so it doesnt feel insecure, we can help them practice not being aggressive to other dogs.

I found an area in the neighborhood where there was enough open space and some visual blockers.  We enlisted the help of a neighbor who was out walking their dogs so I could go over this secret to stopping dog aggression. I wanted to make it easy for the guardians to remember all the behaviro tips I was about to share so I handed them my camera so that I could detail this technique to stop dog aggression.

If you have a dog that gets aggressive or barks at other dogs, the free positive dog training video below can help you with your dog.

By managing the distance to ensure that Lucy did not feel threatened or uncomfortable around the other dogs, I was able to start changing her emotional state of mind. By giving her a reward each time she looks at the other dog, I’m essentially helping her practice not reacting to other dogs, good things happening while other dogs are nearby.

In a perfect world, I would stop dog aggression by creating scenarios where I can control all of the elements and give the dog my full and undivided attention. If I enlist the help of a friend who has a dog my dog doesn’t know, it’s much easier to coordinate their movements and actions when necessary.

When the guardians practice this technique, I recommended that they do so as a pair and leave Mo at home. This way if they see other dogs out and about, one of them can walk over without a dog to explain the situation. It’s quite possible that the people that they speak to may have a dog who is also reactive. Or if they approach someone with Lucy, she will most likely react – exactly what we want to avoid when training a dog to not be aggressive to other dogs.

After we filmed the above video, we continued our walk and I was able to help the guardians practice the same technique with other dogs. It will be important for them to practice with some regularity, two or three times a week in 15 minutes practice (3, 1-3 minutes of practice, a 3-5 min break and repeat 2-4 times) sessions that include several breaks.

Changing a dogs behavior requires time and frequent practice that is positive. Provided the guardians can manage the distance appropriately, they should notice that Lucy is now looking at other dogs easily and looking away from them while remaining relaxed. They may be able to help her get over her dog aggressive behavor for good or possibly just help her learn to tolerate being around other dogs without lunging, but not playiing with them. Thats ok too.

I asked the guardians to follow up with me if they run into any problems or have questions. Dog behavior modification is not a linear process so they will likely be ups and downs. The main thing is to practice frequently, keep it positive an end on a high note.

To help the guardians remember all of the positive dog training tips I went over in today’s in-home West LA dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr