Teaching a Dog to Focus to Develop Control to Reduce His Dog Aggression

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 18, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped a handsome 2 year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback / Shepherd Mix named Neegen who destroys household items, is reactive to other dogs, pulls on the leash and has difficulty focusing amongst distractions.

I could immediately tell that Neegen was not getting as much exercise as he needed. He was very happy and has a nice playful personality, but did jump up, invade space and steal a few things to chew on.

Your average dog needs 45 min of exercise each day. When I discussed the situation with his guardians I learned that he was getting far less than that. This is certainly related to his jumping up, stealing, chewing items, etc.

I made several exercise recommendations such as getting a dog back pack, having him chase the laser, teaching him to fetch and hiring the dog walker we trained, Laurie at 7th inning stretch 4k9s. Laurie does an amazing job, walks dogs in Neegen’s neighborhood and this is one dog who desperately needs more exercise.

I also showed them how to teach Neegen to drop and leave it which are skills needed to train a dog to fetch; an activity that would really help Neegen. Many people never consider exercising a dog before taking them for a walk, but that would really help Neegen.

If the guardians start an exercise journal and start noting the times and lengths of walks, number of fetches, laps chasing the laser, etc for each day, then assign a letter grade, they will eventually find the right combination of exercise to put Neegen in a position to succeed in other areas and his overall behavior.

To help redirect Neegen away from things he may react to, I showed his guardians how to train a dog to focus. You can learn how to do this for your own dog by watching this free positive dog training video on the focus exercise.

Id like all the humans in both homes to practice the focus exercise with Neegen at least once a day (more is better) so they can get him up to a 15 – 20 second focus within a week. Once this is the case, they will have a good way to redirect his attention before he acts aggressively to dogs; but it will be important they give him the focus command BEFORE he gets all worked up. Once that is the case, the best course of action will be to move him further away from whatever he is reacting to. That is, unless they are the walking dead, lol.

Teaching Neegen control via the stay, to drop items on command, leave items on the floor and rewarding desired behaviors will all help Neegen. But almost equally important will be enforcing rules consistently, rewarding desired behaviors, petting with a purpose and increasing his daily exercise. For some of my clients, adding in rules and structure takes care of the issue. But in other cases, the dog may need additional help.

Dog on dog aggression can be a challenging dog behavior problem. I asked Neegen’s guardians to let me know how he is behaving in a few weeks to gage his progress and if he needs to sign up for our Aggressive Dog Behavior classes.

To help all the humans in the family remember all the positive dog training lessons we introduced in this at home dog behavior training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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