Using BAT to Help an Under Socialized Dog Stop Acting Aggressive to New People and Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 6, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we used Behavior Adjustment Training to help 7 year-old Australian Shepherd Rooster stop acting aggressively to unknown people and dogs.

Knowing that Rooster was reactive to anyone he didn’t know, I arranged to meet him outside his home. As a dog behavior expert I have learned that meeting a dog outside can be very helpful for many reasons. The wide open space helps a dog feel less confined or pent in which can help a dog relax. Additionally the sights, sounds and smells of being outside offer a nice distraction and can help prevent the dog from focusing or reacting in unwanted ways.

I set the dog up for success by leaving a train of high value training treats from Rooster’s front door to where I was waiting for him 100 feet away. I waited sitting down positioned so that Rooster was on my side as front facing can be confrontational to dogs.

As Rooster’s guardian walked over, I advised him to stop each time that the dog moved in front of him. He waited at that spot until the dog came back to him before taking another few steps in my direction. Sometimes you have to lure or reward the dog to get them to come back, but in Rooster’s case, we just needed to wait.

By taking our time and using lots of high value reinforcers, we were able to achieve a nice greeting without any growling, barking, lunging or nipping. I was able to feed him treats from my hand. When I went to touch him, he turned his head to offer a cut off signal so I stopped reaching. Knowing how to read and dog and listening when they communicate can be immensely helpful when rehabilitating a dog who has shown aggressive behavior towards humans.

The problem with making friends with Rooster so fast is we needed another person for him to be reactive to so I could show the guardian how to use Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) to help a dog stop acting aggressive to humans or dogs.

Fortunately one of Rooster’s neighbors agreed to help us out a little later in the session. You can see how to use BAT to help a dog stop acting aggressive to people in the free dog training video below.

The great thing about BAT is it allows the dog to learn a new, non-aggressive behavior on their own. This is more of a teach a dog to fish approach that is both easy and effective.

I want to see the guardian practicing having Rooster near people with a long lead as displayed in the above video, but letting the dog lead the way – unless it starts to get aggressive. By watching body language and helping guide the dog away when it starts to get tense, stare, lick lips or puts tension on the leash, the guardian will help the dog practice moving away from things it doesn’t like instead of acting aggressive towards them.

I dont see Rooster as an aggressive dog. I think he is under exercised and under socialized and has learned that acting out moves people away. By using Behavior Adjustment Training, his guardian can build up his confidence and help him practice a new, more desired behavior.

To help the guardian remember all the positive dog training tips we covered in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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