Helping a Rescue Dog Learn Other Dogs Aren’t the Enemy

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 1, 2019

Toshi - Helping a Rescue Dog Learn Other Dogs Aren't the Enemy

For this Los Angeles dog training session, we help Toshi, a 5 year-old Formosan Mountain dog who is anxious and sometimes reactive to dogs he sees on walks.

I met Toshi outside as his guardians mentioned that he was anxious when people visited. Being outside offers nice distractions which can help in this sort of a situation. On the walk I spotted a few things that are contributing factors to Toshi’s anxiety. One of them was what happened when Toshi jumped up on one of his guardians.

Toshi Claims his Human - Helping a Rescue Dog Learn Other Dogs Aren't the Enemy

Anything a dog is doing when you pet them is what you are rewarding or reinforcing. This includes unbalanced states of mind like stress, anxiety, fear, excitement, etc. Additionally, if a dog jumps up on a person who just arrived, it can be the dog’s way of claiming the person.

So when Toshi jumped up other guardian excitedly while anxious, multiple things were going on that the humans were unaware of. The guardian started to chastise himself in a joking fashion, but I made sure to point out that this was one of the most common dog behavior mistakes humans make.

I spent a good portion of this in home LA dog training session focusing on Toshi’s anxiety to sounds and new things. There are many things that people do that unintentionally stress out or cause anxiety in dogs. After sharing number of tips that should help, I turned my attention to the issue Toshi’s guardians most wanted to address, acting aggressive to other dogs.

Stopping dog aggression is a serious task as no one wants an aggressive dog. Helping a dog feel comfortable and develop positive associations with things they are fearful of or reactive to is a dog behavior tip I have used for years.

By creating a situation where the dog can be close to another dog without reacting, then provide it with something pleasant, we can help Toshi start to feel good about other dogs. In many cases this can stop a dog from acting aggressively.

I also shared a focus exercise which is a great way to redirect a dog’s attention away from things they act aggressively towards. The key is to find a distance the dog is comfortable with so its not reacting. If its reacting, its practicing that behavior so this is crucial.

To help the humans remember all the Dog Psychology and dog behavior tips I shared with them, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr