As you recall from Episode 1 & 2, ‘Timber’ had shown us that he wasn’t a very confident dog and had started acting out around dogs, and from time to time even around strange people. His aggressive episodes had his owners Bob and Christa Hunt worried. They met with Sit Means Sit dog trainers Fred Hassen and Ashton Fitz-Gerald to discuss Timber’s aggressive behavior and to see what could be done about it.
In Episode 2, we began to teach Timber the ‘Art of Attention’. It can be very slow and difficult to teach a dog anything without the ability to get the dog’s attention first. So far so good from the looks of things. Next it’s time to move on to building the distraction and teaching Timber that he still has to pay attention even around dogs and people.
Episode 3 of our dog training video series featuring ‘Timber’ the Chesapeake Bay Retriever shows how we can begin to integrate distractions such as another dog into the training scenario. This is an important phase of teaching your dog to pay attention. Maintaining that attention around distractions. This is in the name of teaching the dog how to generalize his behavior. Once the dog understands how to pay attention in any environment around any distraction, it becomes much easier to maintain control over your dog, even a big strong dog like Timber.
Attention is at the root of control in the Sit Means Sit training system. Once the dog is capable of paying attention in a broad sense with minimal confusion, you are ready to move onto the next phase of mitigating an issue such as aggression. In order to successfully control and mitigate dog aggressino, people aggression or fear aggression, attention is at the root. Through strong attention, you can gain control. Through control you can then begin to establish a neutral outlook towards the aggression trigger. Once the dog is actively ignoring the aggression trigger, then you can begin to associate something of value with the triggers. This could be food, toys, games or anything else that your dog perceives as valuable. Creating a new association from a neutral attitude is much faster than attempting to create a new association from an attitude of aggression or fear.
Watch the dog training video below to see what happens when Timber encounters new dogs. You may even get a chance to see how Sit Means Sit dog trainers can deal with aggressive outbreaks. You will notice that keeping calm during training is imperative. Maintaining a calm demeanor allows you to provide an example for your dog, and help to neutralize his behavior. In the case of a fear-aggressive dog this helps to control the energy in the situation by preventing the energy transfer that often happens from owner to dog. So often dog owners inadvertently enhance or trigger their dog’s aggressive outburst because of their nervousness about how the dog will react. As you may remember from Episode 1, Christa was suitably nervous about Timber’s behavior. Be sure to stay tuned for Episode 4 where we get the owners to start controlling Timber’s aggression.