Aggression is so often misunderstood when it comes to dogs and dog training. Many lump all barking and lunging behavior into the same boat and that is aggression. I’ve dealt with fear aggression countless times in my work at animal shelters and have helped many people as well as dogs understand it better, learn to manage it and work through it.
Fear aggression is very different than dominance based aggression. It is very clear when you know what to look for. When Kat first booked this session with me, she told me that Bear was very aggressive and she was afraid that he will attack someone. I set up the session at the request of a mutual friend, Dr. Lisa.
I knew almost immediately that this was fear aggression because I know the signs; Mainly barking and retracting. You can see it in the video, if I stand still, the dog lunges – barks and then retreats. If I move calmly forward, he will get confused and almost always back up. It’s important to understand that a fearful dog when cornered, WILL BITE! Sometimes worse than a dominant dog. A fearful dog is fighting for his life.
Bear is not as far gone as most of the dog’s I’ve worked with in shelters, but it does make for one incredible lesson. This will be in two parts, because if you’re dealing with this or working with a client who’s dealing with this you will wan to GO SLOW! Flooding the dog and trying to “Show the dog who is in charge” will NOT solve the problem. In fact it could make it even worse. Part 2 will. wrap up everything that is contained in this video and offer the explanations you will need to put the pieces together.
In this lesson you’ll see exactly what should be done in order to “break this barrier” in the dog’s mind. It must be fair, the dog must work through it with your help and it must make sense. Failure is NOT an OPTION. Confidence will help the dog work through this better than anything – including force! The dog must learn what he needs to learn to comprehend that he or she is not in danger.
This lesson is about understanding what is going on and the basic steps to working with fear aggression. It will NOT be solved in one session, but the mechanism can be put into place. This is the first step of many that will help Bear learn to trust Kat and through that trust learn to see the world through a clearer lens.