How to Stop a Santa Monica French Bulldog’s Anxiety Around Children

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 5, 2017

For this Santa Monica dog training session we worked with 2 year-old French Bulldog Moose who is aggressive to some dogs on walks, jumps up on houseguests and is anxious around children.

Once Moose settled down, I headed inside to sit down with his guardians to discuss his dog behavior problems. In the course of that discussion, I learned that Moose didn’t have any real rules in place and his day to day life was lacking in structure.

I spent an hour going over ways to add structure to Moose’s daily life as well as ways for his guardians to act like leaders in the dog’s eyes. Dogs are all about what they see us do, so sometimes they think our relaxed nature at home indicates that we need the dog to assume a leadership role.

Next I showed the guardians how to add a little structure to petting him as well as ways to communicate which behaviors were desired. By spotlighting desired actions and behaviors, and petting / rewarding the dog when it engages in them, we can help the dog learn to behave how we want it to.

Because Moose has a tendency to shadow and sometimes nip guests when they move around, I showed the guardians how to use some of the things we went over to disagree with his jumping and hearing behavior.

As a dog behavior expert, I have found its important to disagree with a dog right away if its doing something you don’t like. If you fail to do so, many dogs take that as tacit approval.

By disagreeing with good timing, and making changes to the daily routine so the dog see and identifies the humans as having the leader thing covered, many of Moose’s impulses to act this way should subside in time.

There is another technique that I used to stop Moose from reacting. Its a technique the best dog behaviorist and dog trainers use to solve many dog problems; counterconditioning.

While using this approach, I was able to move around the room without Moose following me or reacting at all, even when I sprinted about.

We used the same approach to deal with Moose’s anxiety around children to break him from the habit of rushing and jumping up on the neighbor’s young son when they were both in the shared courtyard.

The guardian, child and parent were all impressed with Moose’s behavior while we shot the above video. Its going to take time and practice, but based on how well Moose responded, Im confident he can learn to be calm around children without feeling the need to monitor, show and correct them.

Before ending the session, I showed the guardians how to use a special collar called a Martingale with a twist of the leash to stop him pulling and give the handler more control if Moose gets dog aggressive on walks.

To make sure the humans can remember the things we went over in this in home dog training session, we shot a Roadmap to Success video that you can check out below.

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