Showing posts with label Dog Training Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dog Training Tips. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Dog Behaviour – How to Get Your Dog to Let Go of Something (ball, bone, sock, etc.)


So the first concept you need to understand is…

If you enter a situation with an attitude that embodies ire, tension and/or forcefulness most humans are not going to want to comply with what you want, unless of course you threaten them with a weapon – the same is so for a dog. 

If you go in to the situation expecting to have an argument – particularly with a dog, you will in most cases get that argument.
Dogs are more perceptive communicators than most people. A dog does know what you are thinking, what you are feeling – usually before you are aware of your thought. …I prove this every time I work with a client and their dog. Are you skeptical? Well many of my clients are at first, but very quickly after the initial shock of realization, they understand just how perceptive their dog really is.  

The angrier, more frustrated, more irritated you are - as you advance toward the dog the greater likelihood that the dog will move to evade you. Look at it in a way that is relative to yourself - if someone advances towards you in such a manner are you likely to stick around or leave? If you do stick around you are going to prepare yourself for a fight. So either way the situation is not supportive of a respectful outcome.

The more physical force you use to pull the item out of the dog’s mouth the more the dog is likely to:
  • Clamp his/her bite tighter around the object;
  • Attempt to put more of the object in his/her mouth;
  • Put greater force into trying to tug the object away from you.

A perfect example – today while on an off-leash walk (with my Boxer Robbie and my GSD x Husky Sarah), Sarah found a small, sharp avian bone, with some flesh and blood still on it. Likely just dropped by a hawk or owl in mid-flight. Now I did not particularly want Sarah to have that bone as it was broken and sharp – it could cause some injury to her innards if she swallowed It. Most people would:
  • Panic;  
  • Move in to the area (that the dog is occupying) with great agitation;
  • Yell in an agitated (emotional) fashion and otherwise become ‘reactive’. 



Sarah is the type of dog that very few humans could control – she spent part of her first year of life as a stray and then spent three months in a pound (shelter). No one adopted her because she was ‘hyper’, ‘dominating’. This young lady ended up on the ‘kill’ list. Anyway after ending up pulled by the rescue I was fostering for, she made her way through several foster homes and one adoptive family…each time being returned for her unruly behaviour…before I took her in.  Sarah can be the Denis-the-Menace of dogs, her nick name could easily be ‘Wile-E-Coyote’ . This was a dog that would never in a million years surrender anything to anybody. Mind you, I think you have to give her credit…her wiliness allowed her to survive on the streets as a stray youngster. 



Well, when I saw Sarah about to pick up that bone, all I had to do was:
  • Get her attention (I was about 10 feet away from her) so I vocalized ‘uh’ in a calm, solid tone, at which point she looked at me;
  • I held her gaze and indicated to her to ‘leave it’;
  • I then calmly walked up, with a smile in my heart and spirit and picked the bone up;
  • That was it - end-of;
  • Sarah willingly accepted the situation and happily bounced on.
  • If instead I had walked up to her with the thought in my head 'you are a bad dog, you are not going to let that go, etc. I would have created the opposite reaction.


I have earned the right to take over a situation (such as the one described above) with Sarah and my other dogs because I have earned their respect. Last week in almost the same spot on the trail, Robbie my Boxer found a fresh, wild turkey wing-bone, with wing and feathers attached…part of a coyote or wolf’s meal – the meal having been disturbed by something or someone! Robbie is another one of my dog’s who had a difficult past. When I first met Robbie he would have attacked a person who tried to take anything from him. And when I say attack I really mean attack. 


Robbie was aggro-reactive (or if you prefer ‘red-zone’) on a scale of 1 to 10, he was a 15.  


As I approached Robbie and his wild turkey 'prize'  I did not feel or project anger, dominance etc. when he picked up the fresh wild turkey wing/bone. I simply walked up to him with my calm, grounded  presence and quietly but firmly put my hand around the part of the bone which was sticking out of his mouth (with foot long feathers attached) and proceeded to do as follows…




If your dog has an edge of the item sticking out of his/her mouth:

  • Gently but firmly place your hand on the part of the item that is sticking out (depending on the situation you can also use your foot instead of your hand);
  • Don't pull on the item as by doing so you will have just provided the impetuous for an argument in the form of a tug-of-war…remember if you ask for an argument you will get an argument;
  • Instead simply take-ownership of that portion of the item by keeping a firm - (but not tense-tight) hold on it;
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth in a consciously relaxed and deliberate manner. Don’t allow your mouth to compress into a closed, hard line – if you do you are tense;
  • Still yourself physically and be calm in mind - be patient and breathe again;
  • Now slowly, quietly, calmly, move your hand to take over a little more of the object – your hand should end-up where the object meets your dog’s mouth;
  • Now, no pulling - just calm, firm hold;
  • If your dog starts to pull, just retain your hold and still yourself – do not pull back;
  • Hold your ground quietly without a word…
  • Most humans, unless they are trained to be, have very little patience - where as dogs have a lot of patience. If you do this exercise with:
    • Self-disciplined patience and calm:
    • While holding your ground for however many seconds it takes while keeping a calm-non-argumentative hold (with both mind and hand);
    • While deliberately, consciously breathing;
  • Your dog will surrender the object to you.
  • This is simply a test of wills - if you can't exceed your dog’s patience you will lose.
  • And keep-in-mind, while 30 or 60 seconds may feel like forever to you (because we are impatient as a species) it is, in-fact merely seconds.
  • Again - it is a situation where one of you must back down (your dog or yourself). This is a psychological situation as much if not more than a physical situation.
  • When used properly, psychological control with calm, slight physical pressure is so much more powerful than physical force – it is also a more safe approach for all involved – which is why it is a method used by dogs themselves. 

If your dog tries to engage in an argument by tugging - keep your hold and still yourself - to gain his respect you have to show him - what you really want - if you move like he is, if you tug and pull he will not respect you as you are then not directing but instead engaging in his argument. 
What do you really want? For your dog to
  • Stop – well you must stop first…stop tugging, stop moving about;
  • Let go – he won’t let go if you start tugging, he will tug just as you are doing.
Leading by example, leading without hypocrisy demands that you must be that thing first that you want the other being to be.



The point is to let him know in the most quiet but directive of ways (as noted above) that this is the way it is going to be.

This is how a well balanced dog will take over an object from another dog. The method of choice used by such dogs is not intrusive physical force which would result in injury and death. Instead, dogs prefer to use more subtle physically restrained, psychologically powerful means. The Alpha 'thing' is a false concept. In truth dogs prefer leadership – which is not the same as the ‘Alpha’ concept as most people understand the term.



By establishing and adhering to your own self-restraint and self discipline, in body and mind in order to adopt and maintain a quite, non-vocal, calm patience coupled with a firm but non-tense hold - you become a respectful, directive presence. 




This is dog language employes as a well balanced dog would choose to communicate in a non-aggressive manner to another dog in order to claim space or an on object without a fight.

This is a very respectful and psychologically powerful method that requires no physical force, but instead a grounded, self-restrained  presence.



When doing this exercise:

  • Make sure you are completely emotionally neutral;
  • To firm-up the direction you must make sure that your physical presence is completely aligned with your mental focus. 

As an example -  the thought in your mind would go something like this:
  • 'OK, give it up Robbie - inevitably one of us has to surrender and it will not be me';

The attitude with which you say this to yourself must be without ire, without arrogance or frustration - just deliberately grounded, calm.

The method as described above when used to reclaim an object from your dog,  respects the natural way of a dog.

If you take a dog:
  • That has learned to back people off by using dominating and aggro-reactive tactics;
  • And put that dog in a situation where the human handling/directing the dog, employs force-based tactics:
  • You  have nothing new to teach the dog;
  • You will not engender the dog’s respect; 
  • You may try to dominate the dog using force but that will only further destabilize the dog.
If instead you offer treats in exchange for the object, the dog will:

  • Always expect to get a treat for doing something that he should not be doing;
  • Learn that an ‘altered state of normal’ is normal;
  • Never learn to behave respectfully;
  • Never learns to adopt a threshold;
  • Never learns to ask permission to take things;
  • And, what do you do if you are somewhere, you do not have treats, your dog grabs something and if you don’t successfully retrieve that object from your dog he could ingest it and become ill or otherwise injured?
Both of these approaches (force or treats) exemplify:
  • A lack self-control on the human's part;
  • A lack of understanding of the intelligence of a dog and a dog's natural skill to communicate.


In contrast - the method which I have described above to take over the situation is a well adjusted dog's way to handle the situation.

It is a…

  • Non-aggressive;
  • Non-argumentative, and;
  • Instructional for the dog.
  • This method gains the respect of your dog;
  • It requires calm, deliberate, firm, directive, persistent, determined patience on the humans part. 
    • These are the same qualities a well balanced dog has. 
    • If you want to gain a dog's respect you must adopt and employ the same qualities and techniques.
If you want to earn your dog's respect there is little to no room for human arrogance, frustration or anger.

You should avoid the creation of bad habits which can develop when the wrong approach is used. For example you can have a treat is long as you give this up - use that method on a child and you end up with a manipulative, bad spoiled, ill-adjusted, and overweight kid - it is the same for a dog). 

This is what I teach my clients. This is why I can take an object away from a dog without an adverse reaction from the dog – including dogs who bite people!

Having noted all of this above, some people will still say - offer your dog something else instead - my answer to that is NO. That is a negotiation - and the dog will learn to use it to manipulate, just as a person would. This type of strategy does not teach your dog that is should not take what he does not have your permission to take. And in the process you do learn how to stop the behaviour. Offering something in exchange is an avoidance and works around the issue - in which case it will never actually resolve the issue – you will in the future, continue to have to deal with the issue.

You don't want to negotiate you want to direct, teach and ensure your dog’s safety. 



Holistic Support

Holistic Wellness Services and Holistic Behaviorist Services 

Holistic Wellness and Behaviorist Services

Do you need holistic advice to support your companion animal's health and well being? Become a client. Book your consultation. My professional holistic nutrition, wellness and behavioral services are available to you:
🌿 Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ• 🐈
🌿 Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•

My Holistic Client Services are Available Worldwide:
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USA
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada
πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ UK and other European countires
πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia and other Oceania countires
πŸ‡­πŸ‡° Hong Kong and other Asian countries
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡· Costa Rica and other Central American countries 
πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί European countries
πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ή Trinidad and Tobago and other South America countries
πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ South Africa and other African countries
πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ Sweden and other european countries
πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ͺ United Arab Emirates

Available Holistic Consultations and Sessions:
πŸ“± FaceTime
πŸ“± Facebook video or voice calling
πŸ’» Skype
πŸ“ž Phone
πŸ“§ Email 
🚢🏻‍♀️ In-Person

Menu of Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ•πŸˆ
For more information go here. 
✅  Maintain Health, and;
✅  Address Health Issues and Conditions:
✓ Treatment and Remedy 
 Pre-Surgery holistic support protocols
 Post-Surgery holistic healing protocols
 Pre-Vaccine holistic support protocols 
 Post-Vaccine holistic support protocols
 Natural Insect and Parasite Prevention
 Natural Treatment for Insect, Parasite Infestation, Co-Infection, Disease
✅  Custom Designed Whole Food Diets - raw or gently cooked, and;
✅  Advice and Recommendation: 
✓ Premade Diets - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried 
✓ Supplemental Fresh Foods - raw, gently cooked
✓ Super foods
✓ Treats - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried, gently cooked
✓ Herbs 
✓ Alternative Medicines

Menu of Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•
For more information go here
In-person Sessions - available locally
Voice and Video Sessions - available worldwide 
✓   Obedience Training
✓   Behavior Modification
✓   Psychological Rehabilitation

Affiliations to Companies
✓ None.
✓ I don't sell food or supplements.
✓ I'm not aligned with any companies.
✓ I choose to maintain my objectivity in selecting best-solutions for my individual client's needs.

Contact me
karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 

Monday, 21 November 2011

HOW TO STOP YOUR DOGS FROM FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER

On a Trail Walk with Part of My Own Dog Pack
To stop your dogs from fighting many elements need to be addressed…

Dog fights between dogs living in the same family happen for various reasons. The dogs may have been living together for a while when suddenly one day a fight breaks out. The dog’s people may be caught totally off-guard and have no idea what sparked the fight. Or you may have recently adopted a new dog as a companion for your existing dog. What ever the case, sometimes fights do occur.

It is very important to understand how to intercede and resolve such conflict early on, as failure to do so can result in development of repeated stressful behavior, and can quickly escalate to psychological and/or physical harm…to the dogs and yourself.

Usually, with proper leadership the dogs can learn to co-exist in peace and harmony. As leader to your dogs,  it is your job to coach and mentor your dogs so that they learn how to get along in a socially acceptable manner with each other.

If you have no prior experience with this sort of behavior and suddenly find yourself in the midst of a dog fight it can be a very stressful experience. When we add our stress to the situation – fights can become even more intense. Stress creates stress.

FIRST LET ME SHOW YOU HOW ONE DOG FIGHT CAN TURN INTO A PATTERN OF REPEATED BEHAVIOR…this will help you to understand what you should not do!

The first time the dogs engage in bickering you are caught off-guard. You may find yourself shocked, upset and anxious. You may have split the dogs apart and even put them in separate rooms/spaces.

Caught off-guard, and upset you are in an excited-reactive state. The dogs were in an excited reactive state. As the dogs look to you for direction your unintended reaction (fear, anxiousness, anger) reinforced the dogs state. It tells them my human feels the same way I do so I am justified in feeling that I should be excited, aggressive reactive. You led by example – the wrong example. Not your fault – it is natural for people to do react in this way. But, it is important, moving in to the future to learn to be self-aware and self-disciplined in order to have the ability to shut down the situation as opposed to feeding the situation.

If the dogs were separated by being placed in separate rooms while they were still in fight mode – they will likely engage in another fight in the future. Why, because they left the situation still in fight mode – this has taught them that fight mode is normal and acceptable…you have not presented them with an alternate method of coping with the situation.

If instead the dogs are coached to calm down in each the presence of each other and then allowed to remain together they leave the fight mode understanding that good social behavior is expected and is the norm. They have been presented with an alternate method of coping.

At this point the dogs have acquired psychological trauma to one degree or another and so have you. Dogs are extremely sensitive they read our body language and are one of the few animals that look at the left side of our face to read us. Dogs are also one of the few animals that have a very similar musculature facial structure to humans. When you anticipate a fight, when you are nervous or uncomfortable the split second that thought is in your mind your dogs know, becasue dogs are such acute, sensitive and aware communicators – much more so than the untrained human.

In addition, if your dog happens to have Heightened Sensitivity (HS), your dog will excel at reading your thoughts and your real emotional state even more quickly and adeptly than a dog that is not an HS dog.While HS is an asset when understood, it can lead to more stress and anxiety if proper understanding and direction are not available to the dog(s).

I am going to provide you with a series of links to additional articles a little further below. Read the articles to understand more about how your emotional state effects your dog’s behavior. These concepts are pivotal in understanding how you, the human create unwanted behavior in your dog and conversely how you can learn to create good behavior.


The basis for change must start with you. If you want your dogs to have self control and self discipline you have to start by having self control and self discipline yourself. If you do not apply yourself with 100% dedicated, focused effort and if you are not 100% honest with yourself you will not be successful in achieving a positive outcome. If you cannot change your habits, your dog will have no choice but to continue to behave as he/she is currently doing. Change will not be instantaneous – you have to invest time and honest effort.
If you skimp on reading these articles , if you do not take the time to calmly sit-back and absorb what is being said in the articles, then analyze where you have gaps in your current skill set and start working on improving your understanding and skills.
  • Dogs are excellent communicators – much better than an untrained present-day human;
    • And for the most part dogs do exactly as their human tells them to do;
    • The problem is that most people are not aware or disciplined communicators, and as a result do not understand what they are truly communicating;
    • The implication of this is that it is the human who must be trained;
    • The dog simply needs to be effectively communicated to;
    • Self-awareness and self-control, self-discipline must come from the human first and only then can such control be expected of the dog;
    • Too many people blame their dog, when in-fact it is the human that has created the seed of the behavior, then enables and maintains the overall environment (physical, mental) that perpetuates the situation;
    • Want your dog to be better behaved? You have to learn to be better behaved first – this is an example of the importance of following true and pure logic – dogs love logic much and hypocrisy not at all;
  • Dogs have more patience than most present-day humans;
  • Patience is not just waiting polity for something you want;
  • Patience is also having the great will, determination and persistence to adhere to something you want, need or think you require, think you need.
The implications of the above are many – the most difficult of which for many people is the concept that:
  • It is not your dog that is bad;
  • It is that you misunderstand and misdirect your dog, and;
  • Then blame your dog for your lack of understanding;
  • Leaving your dog no choice but to continue on with its current behavior.
 

Treats do not correct imbedded, intense behavior nor does forceful dominance – employing intelligence which matches a dog’s intelligence corrects behavior. Dogs are much more intelligent than most people realize and until one understands that concept you will struggle to correct unwanted behavior. Read the following articles to get started on the real path to change...


My highly sensitive very dear, sweet Boxer x Pit Bull boy Robbie - who wasn’t so sweet when he arrived in my pack, he was a badly misunderstood dog and an abused dog… All dogs are intelligent, sensitive beings, but some dogs have an even more acute sensitivity and intelligence – these dogs are what I call ‘Heightened Sensitivity’ Dogs ... Read More »

Typical Causes of Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Aggression  in Dogs; Typical Signs of Stress in Dogs; Long-Term Stress is a Health Threatening Condition The Use of Conventional Chemical-Based Drugs to Control Stress Other Products that Claim to Solve Stress and Anxiety Diet Can Create and/or Exacerbate Stress or Help ... Read More »

‘Be Consistent’, does this dog training tip sound familiar? Do you think you know what is meant by ‘be consistent’? You might be surprised by the answer… One of the most common directions given to dog owners by dog trainers is ‘be consistent’. But what does ‘be consistent’ and consistency really mean? Is ‘consistent’ defined as: 1) ‘Do the same thing ... Read More »

In my experience changing a dog’s unhealthy habits can be accomplished with more ease than changing a human’s unhealthy habits. Why? Is it because the dog is less intelligent than the human? In my estimation it is not that the dog is less intelligent. A dog is generally more observant and therefore a more insightful communicator than an ‘untrained human’. ... Read More »

Dogs are very insightful communicators - much more so than the average human. Because dogs can sense and discern to a degree that exceeds that of an untrained human, it does not matter what you say as much as what you feel. How you feel at any one given moment instantaneously transmits itself to: Your body in the form of ... Read More »

Being Consciously Aware is Essential I see and hear the term ‘dog psychology’ used everywhere – on dog trainers’ and behaviorists’ websites, on the professional group discussion boards I participate in. The word ‘psychology’ has become a trap, a catch-all, a regurgitation of misconceptions. Thought Streaming on Auto Pilot Most of us move through our typical day surrounded and consequently ... Read More »

Behavior – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is created, enabled, influenced and maintained by a series of  interconnected elements including but not limited to… Inherited traits and Acquired traits that define the individual as a unique being these can be subtle variations or obvious variations between individuals Environmental influences (animate, inanimate) past, present and anticipation of future societal beliefs regarding the canine ... Read More »

To understand the potential negative impacts of a training approach all one has to do is put that approach into human terms. By that I mean what would happen if you adopted the approach with another human? Well let’s take a look at a few examples… If You Choose the Alpha Approach You Will: Trigger a fight with the person ... Read More »


Pack Leadership 101 – for People and their Canines
The Basic Tools of Leadership Psychology 101 Communication 101 Patience 101 Logic 101 Behavior 101 Leadership Is… Being that thing first that you want your dog to be – attentive, aware, calm, grounded, patient, respectful – comfortable, confident and normal. Observe a dog interacting with another dog. Dogs that are psychologically well balanced dogs – not anxious, reactive, fearful etc. ... Read More »

Debunking The Alpha Dog Myth
Let’s Talk About the Term ‘Alpha’ In reference to wolves, L. David Mech, PhD first coined the term ‘Alpha’, while studying packs of unrelated wolves. He has since done his utmost to convince publishers to stop printing his earlier works were he first defined the term Alpha. Alpha was a term developed to describe a dominate individual at the top ... Read More »

Earn Your Dog’s Respect
Most dogs, will instinctively know what they are being asked to do if they are communicated with & shown in the right way at the right time and provided with the right tools to navigate safely and confidently through situations. If the dog’s guardian has not learned how to read their own dog, is not aware of their own emotions, ... Read More »

Don’t Argue With Your Dog
Tugging and pulling, yelling, frustration, anger – it’s all part of engaging in an argument.  If you are trying to provide direction to your dog – who is excited, ... Read More »

Dogs are Opportunistic – Learn to Work With It
For Sarah, my German Shepherd x Siberian Husky, being an opportunist was key to survival in her first year of life which she spent primarily as a stray. Her wiliness and great intelligence ensured that she survived! It also made her a ... Read More »

Affection and Your Dog
We humans bring dogs into our lives for so many reasons…for companionship, because we have a need and the means to help animals whose lives have been compromised by humanity, for our children, to help on a farm, for rescue and disaster recovery, tactical operations, for therapy…the reasons are numerous and almost always well intentioned. But what about the dogs themselves? ... Read More »
 
SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO INTERCEDE?


#1 By taking full responsibility for the situation:
  • Do NOT blame the dog(s);
    • Change must start with the human’s acceptance that the human has  a huge role in the development of behavior in their dogs – good and bad;
      • This is the first step in enabling change – and it is a hefty responsibility as you must first look at your own weaknesses – help for that further below;
      • Many people choose instead to ignore this truth as to accept it means you must be selfless;
        • Dogs excel at being selfless, it is an attribute of the species;
        • Humans more quickly embrace selfishness – we have to work at being selfless, and that is a trait of our species;
        • Most humans have to work hard at learning to have self-control;
        • If you are not quite there yet you may be inadvertently creating the same condition in your dog while blaming him/her for the situation;
  • If you have or when you do take the time to read the articles listed just above you should now, or will understand this important truth;
  • If what I have just written in these bullets has irritated you, made you feel indignant or even angry – then the trigger for your dog’s unhealthy behavior is now obvious.
If all you are going to do is use physical force to attempt to intercede and stop fights you will fail to change your dogs’ behavior for the better. You do not have to be a physically large person to achieve success (teaching your dog’s not to fight). I am only 5′-4″ and about 110 pounds. I work with dogs that are much larger than I am. What you have to do is train yourself first…psychological control of yourself is a powerful asset.


Many people tell me that they put their dog on it’s side and he/she still wants to fight. Well no kidding – you skipped 99% of what you need to do and simply tried to use physical force to roll your dog. You did not coach and mentor your dog and you did not change your own bad habits – you simply employed physical force – you became aggressive and overly physical – you matched your dog’s state. I very rarely ever roll a dog on its side and I work with a lot of dogs. Including dogs that are very-reactive, dogs that have learned to control humans by deploying very aggressive tactics. I also work with a lot of people and most people have no idea what patience really is. Patience is something that many people assume they have, but after working with me they realize that they were actually very impatient.  The solution to the problem of dogs fighting will not be found by simply pinning your dog on its side…

#2 – You need to do is train yourself to be aware of your own emotional state…
As you must lead by example it is very important that you leave all fear, frustration, tension, behind you. Disengage your emotions and engage your working mode. Working mode must be calm, confident, assertive, directive…no emotion, no anticipating and imagining that the dogs will behave badly. Instead you must feel with every fiber of your being the expectation that your dogs will listen to you…that is leadership.

Your dogs will only listen to you if you are truly and deliberately grounded, confident. No panicking, no fusing, no scattered panicked movement…just deliberate, confident, directive calm action in your movement; in your tone of voice; in your thoughts, in your breathing in your mind, your emotions and your body language. Whatever it is that you want your dog to be you must be that thing first. So, if you want calm you must attain that state first yourself – thereby exemplifying the concept of true leadership.

If you relax and believe that the dogs can get along it helps them to get along – surprisingly so! The thoughts you carry in your mind and heart change the minutia of your unconscious body language, It is also very important to learn how to stop the reactive – aggressive behaviour before it escalates.

Never, ever try to stop aggressive behaviour from an angry or tense state of being – you just reinforce the aggression in your dog as you are in the same state as the dog. 

Do not look to dominate your dog, but instead to coach and mentor it.  To coach and mentor you must be calm, patent and confident.

Learn to observe and read your dog – don’t anticipate but you must strategically address when behaviour starts. If you anticipate you will spark the incident. Instead just observe your dog’s body language. If you see that your dog is starting to fixate – disagree before the behaviour escalates.

To disagree – be calm confident, grounded and touch your dog quickly, firmly with the tips of your fingers at his/her waist or neck to get his/her attention and say ‘uh’. Make sure the intensity of the touch and your voice matches the intensity of the dog – but do not match  his/her state…you must be emotionally neutral, you must be grounded. Touch with anger - you will get anger back. Dogs that are in a fixated over-threshold state are much like a person in a rage state – they are focused on the attack, flooded with adrenalin and may turn on and bite another dog or person who gets into their physical space – for this reason it is important to be aware of a) how you place yourself into the situation and b) your own state of mind – emotional neutrality is a situation defuser (grounding, calming, breathing), while being emotional is a situation escalator (exacerbates the rage state).

If you do not stop the reactivity in-time and the dogs engage – do not yell, instead quickly but calmly intercede.  The most effective technique to break up the fight depends on the circumstances and individuals involved. If the dogs have not escalated to full-out over threshold bites interceding properly will avoid further progression and escalation. Dogs that have been allowed to progress to a state where bit inhibition has been lost will require additional assistance to return back to a place of normal.

I work with many clients that inappropriately intercede by putting their dog on his/her side. This is a technique that I rarely ever use - it is not an appropriate intervention in the majority of cases and should only be used when truly necessary by those people that have complete self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control of themselves first. Placing a dog on his/her side should never be done to 'punish' or to 'dominate' a dog. If you work from a place of punishment and domination you simply further your dog's psychological distress - you are not providing leadership.

Both dogs need to leave the situation:
One – not having dominated the situation;
Two – calm and behaving in a socially acceptable manner;
The dogs will start to understand that:

One – reactive behaviour is not acceptable;
Two – that the outcome will always be the same – calm, social interaction will be accepted, any other behaviour will be addressed and corrected.

If the fights have reached a point were the dogs have lost their bit-inhibition it is often necessary to start at ground zero - establishing structure for the dogs individually prior to having the dogs back in the presence of each other. Once you have worked on he dogs individually you can start to re-introduce them by choosing the calmest times for interaction.

If you have stopped walking your dogs together you also need to start walking the dogs together again. If you are calm, confident and not tense they will accept being walked together and working together. You have to normalize their being together again.


Just remember no tension on the leash, no anticipating fights – your dogs will relax. If one does start to get reactive just touch and direct  ‘uh’ or  ‘shh’ immediately. Have a stronger will, more determination, patience and persistence than the dogs have.

Timing is important and so is consistency. Be a conscious observer – stay connected with your dog. Provide support and guidance to build your dog’s confidence and prevent escalation to high states of excitement / reactivity.


Remember, dogs get into fights when they:
  • Are insecure – most aggression has its root cause in insecurity;
  • Get over-excited, flooded, overstimulated;
  • When a dog does not have to ‘ask’ permission before proceeding (i.e. dog bolts out the door, pushes past you down the stairs, grabs food the second the food drops to the floor etc.)
  • In the absence of  true leadership an unbalanced dog may seek to correct another unbalanced dog
Learn how to be an effective communicator and set a supportive structure in place for all situations in daily life and your dogs will stop fighting. Dogs are incredibly perceptive communicators and some even more so than others.

Remember, dog that are getting into fights need mature wise guidance. Treats will not correct the situation nor will punishment or domination.

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service

Holistic Wellness and Behaviorist Services

Do you need holistic advice to support your companion animal's health and well being? Become a client. Book your consultation. My professional holistic nutrition, wellness and behavioral services are available to you:
🌿 Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ• 🐈
🌿 Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•

My Holistic Client Services are Available Worldwide:
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USA
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada
πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ UK and other European countires
πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia and other Oceania countires
πŸ‡­πŸ‡° Hong Kong and other Asian countries
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡· Costa Rica and other Central American countries 
πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί European countries
πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ή Trinidad and Tobago and other South America countries
πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦ South Africa and other African countries
πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺ Sweden and other european countries
πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ͺ United Arab Emirates

Available Holistic Consultations and Sessions:
πŸ“± FaceTime
πŸ“± Facebook video or voice calling
πŸ’» Skype
πŸ“ž Phone
πŸ“§ Email 
🚢🏻‍♀️ In-Person

Menu of Holistic Wellness Services for Dogs and Cats πŸ•πŸˆ
For more information go here. 
✅  Maintain Health, and;
✅  Address Health Issues and Conditions:
✓ Treatment and Remedy 
 Pre-Surgery holistic support protocols
 Post-Surgery holistic healing protocols
 Pre-Vaccine holistic support protocols 
 Post-Vaccine holistic support protocols
 Natural Insect and Parasite Prevention
 Natural Treatment for Insect, Parasite Infestation, Co-Infection, Disease
✅  Custom Designed Whole Food Diets - raw or gently cooked, and;
✅  Advice and Recommendation: 
✓ Premade Diets - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried 
✓ Supplemental Fresh Foods - raw, gently cooked
✓ Super foods
✓ Treats - raw, dehydrated, freeze dried, gently cooked
✓ Herbs 
✓ Alternative Medicines

Menu of Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs πŸ•
For more information go here
In-person Sessions - available locally
Voice and Video Sessions - available worldwide 
✓   Obedience Training
✓   Behavior Modification
✓   Psychological Rehabilitation

Affiliations to Companies
✓ None.
✓ I don't sell food or supplements.
✓ I'm not aligned with any companies.
✓ I choose to maintain my objectivity in selecting best-solutions for my individual client's needs.

Contact me
karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld