Teaching a Dog to Focus to Stop Him From Starting Dog Fights

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 28, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped 5 year-old Boxer Roscoe learn to focus to stop his dog aggression towards 7 year-old Lab / Boxer / Dalmatian Xena who also gets anxious around new people.

Xena stayed as far away from me as she could to start out the session. When she did venture out of the hallway she was very stiff, hunched over and moved with a slow or staggered motion. I used some dog behavior tips to help her start to build up positive associations with my presence; tossing treats in front of her so she had to take a step or two in my direction to get the treats.

As we progressed, Xena got less tense, but was far from comfortable. I made sure to mention that petting her in this state would actually reinforce her fears. Instead the guardians can lay their hands on her to reassure her without reinforcing the anxiety.

Both dogs would be well served to learn some new tricks of commands as this is a great way to boost a dog’s self esteem, increase confidence and develop respect for the humans as authority figures. It will also give the family new ways to redirect the dog’s attention.

Both Roscoe and Xena stare at one another which is often the precursor to a fight. In the dog world, staring at another dog can be interpreted as a challenge. So stopping or redirecting a dog’s attention can be a great way to stop dog fights before they start.

I showed the guardians how to teach a dog to focus using some operant conditioning as you can see in the free dog training video below.

Training a dog to focus on command this way is a great way to stop the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) as well as stop the staring at the other dog. The guardians have become pretty aware of the staring, so this drill will blend in nicely.

I shared a number of other dog behavior tips such as petting with a purpose, passive training, enforcing rules and some creative ways to exercise the dogs. There are many contributing factors to these dog behavior problems, so all the tips I shared in this in home dog training session will combine to help both dogs, albeit in different ways.

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

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This post was written by: David Codr

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