Dog training bootcamps – be careful

Another potential client contacted me a while back to “fix” her dog that she dropped off at a “boot camp” for two weeks.

I have heard this scenario many times over the years. Her dog was aggressive and a trainer told her  that “she needed to show it who is boss” and she believed him. She dropped her dog off in the care of this “dog trainer” that assured her that her problems would be solved when she picked her dog up.

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How do you know when to give medication to aggressive or anxious dogs?

On Saturday I saw a client for the first time. My client hired me to assess her 4-year old Yorkshire Terrier named Sam. My client has had Sam for 4.5 months and she recently started giving him Reconcile, a Prozac for dogs to address his dog-to-dog aggression issues. 

I sat with my client in her living room and petted Sam while my client provided me more details about what she has tried in the past and details about Sam’s reactivity level.

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Dogs can jump out of windows - Start with your puppy to prevent separation anxiety and other problems

There are a few preventative measures you can do with your dog to lessen the likelihood of problems later on. Unfortunately, even if you have the best intentions and do all the exercises properly, there are no guarantees of eliminating the problem later on. Regular maintenance is also a good idea.

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Your dog barks out of the window? That could lead to aggression.

Barrier Frustration can occur if a dog is behind a window, fence, or on leash and is not allowed to interact with the environment. After a while, she may get frustrated and aggressive. One indicator of Barrier Frustration having a part in aggression is if a dog barks behind barriers and is calm around dogs when off-leash, but is very aggressive behind a barrier or on-leash. Dogs, of course, can also show aggression no matter how much they are being contained as well.

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Dog afraid of petting? Hand shyness exercise.

One of the more frequent issues with shy dogs is to be afraid of getting petted by strangers. When dogs are getting petted the person is close to them, they are looking at them, they are looming over them and then they touch them. These are all potential triggers for anxiety or aggression. If your dog is shy, you should help her get comfortable with people to avoid escalation of anxiety which could potentially lead to aggression.

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To Sit or Not to Sit - Helping a dog with dog-dog aggression

I work with dog-dog aggression a lot. I get lots of practice in the congested city of Chicago, and I use techniques that work. As with any training topic, there are many competing strategies out there, but I urge you to think about the psychology of anxiety and aggression.

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