Teaching a Boxer to Look Away Instead of Reacting to Other Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 31, 2019

For this Omaha in home dog training session we got to work with a pair of Boxers; sharing tips to boost 4 year-old Nara’s confidence while petting her. We also shared tips on how to stop her from reacting to dogs she sees so she doesn’t display redirected aggression towards her roomie, 4 year-old Herbie.

While discussing Nara’s reactive behavior towards other dogs, I noticed that she would dip her head down each time anyone went to pet her. The body mechanic of a confident dog is a noise parallel to the ground or higher. Typically lowering the nose indicates lower self esteem, confidence, etc. I used this as an opportunity to show the guardians how to pet in a way that boost’s a dog’s confidence.

Any good dog behavior expert will tell you that many dogs who act aggressive towards other dogs are doing so due to stress; often amplified by insecurity. Boosting a dog’s confidence is an important part of rehabilitating a dog with aggressive behaviors. I shared a number of other tips that will help boost Nara’s confidence in this in home dog training session like petting with a purpose, enforcing rules consistently and rewarding desired behaviors the dog offers on its own.

Since dogs learn in part through association, creating a positive experience can help stop dog aggression. I pulled out a clicker and showed the guardians how to condition and motivate Nara to look away from other dogs instead of staring and reacting to them. Anyone can do this, even if they aren’t a professional Boxer dog trainer.

Stopping a dog from reacting is the first step in stopping aggressive dog behavior. Once a dog is reacting (barking, lunging, etc), you aren’t going to be able to reach or help them. That’s why its so important to determine the right distance; close enough to catch the dog’s attention, but far enough away so its not reacting. If the guardians practice rewarding Nara for looking away from other dogs, they can help her practice being around dogs without reacting. Once this step is achieved, they will be able to start collapsing the distance. This way Nara practices not reacting and being calm and comfortable. Do this enough and many dogs stop reacting all together.

Im hopeful that Nara’s aggressive dog behavior will diminish and eventually stop altogether. If the is still acting aggressive in a month, we may need to set up a follow up session to build on the progress and introduce other techniques to eliminate aggressive dog behavior.

To help the humans remember all the positive dog training tips we discussed in this session, we recorded a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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