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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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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The importance of handling your dog - and what do if you hear growling

It is so important to gently handle your dog throughout his or her life. I received a typical call today from a client that is afraid because her dog growls when she puts on his harness.

The challenge with growling is that it is much better than biting, but it does signify a problem that needs to be worked on. If you put your dog in a situation where he growls, and you move away from him, then he is learning that growling is effective and he can do it when he is scared.

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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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