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2 weeks ago

Canine Counselling by Mark

Recently I've been dealing with more aggression cases.

The attached picture explains some common misconceptions that can actually INCREASE aggressive behaviour in dogs rather than decrease them.

If you have dog that you think is moving towards the aggressive end of the spectrum, or you have a dog that you want to prevent from becoming aggressive, the attached checklist and explanations are an excellent starting point.

If at any time you feel it is getting to much for you to handle, please get in touch and we can look at turning things around to reduce potential aggression and teach you and your dog better ways of coping with situations where it doesn't end in escalation.I threw this short list together based on the recent string of cases that I have been working over the last few months where these factors were involved. These are all very common contributing factors that can set dogs up for failure or result in an aggressive response.

So what can pet owners do instead?!

1. Don’t take a puppy who is fearful or shy around other dogs to the dog park. It’s kind of like taking a shy librarian to a biker bar. An alternative would be to pair the dog with suitable, social playmates that can gently bring out play (preferably under the guidance of a professional and preferably one-on-one).

2. Don’t chase a dog who just stole something. Doing so can inadvertently “add value” to the item, and cause the dog to use aggression to “keep the highly coveted object.” Swiping the object out of the dog’s mouth and punishing them can make them more defensive. Instead, manage the items so the dog can’t practice stealing them; teach the dog to bring those items to you for tasty treats (retrieve) in the event they get a hold of them; and teach the dog to voluntarily leave the items alone in the first place. If they get a hold of something dangerous (pill bottle, kitchen knife, your Uncle’s pot brownies), then it’s understandable to dive in and risk getting bitten. But if you do preventative training, you significantly reduce the potential for a bite.

3. Tight leashes are awfully restrictive. They can add frustration, remove flight options, and create confrontational body postures. While I’m not a fan of on-leash greetings, they will happen in life, so keeping the leash loose (and the greetings really short) will help to prevent problems from occurring.

4. The last time the waiter tried to take my plate away when there were a few fries still left on it, I almost took his hand off. Taking a dog’s food or toys away while they are enjoying them is quite similar. Instead, dropping higher value treats nearby on occasion will work in the same fashion as the waiter popping the hot fudge sundae right next to my plate of fries.

5. Guess who gets bitten the most? That’s right - kids! Kids can do awfully weird things to dogs sometimes, so it is vital we supervise them and teach them how to properly interact with dogs. FamilyPaws.com, LivingWithKidsAndDogs.com, and The FamilyDog.com all are chock full of information on how to keep kids safe!

DISCLAIMER: If your dog is already displaying aggressive behaviors in these contexts, seek out the guidance of a professional who is experienced in aggression cases using positive reinforcement, desensitization and counterconditioning, or differential reinforcement. (Those are the keywords you can use to look for the right pro!)
#aggressionindogs #dogtraining #dogsandkids #dogsafety #veterinarian
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My puppy has at least 3 different names, depending on the situation...

Tonto: (his actual name) for when I want him to do something. Tonto, sit. Tonto, go to bed. etc.

Buddy: for when I'm just talking to my dog. C'mon, everyone talks to their dog, right? 😆 Hey, buddy, ready to go to the park?

PITA: for when he is being a Pain In The A... PITA, who made this mess in the living room?!? Oi, PITA, stop shredding the toilet paper!

How many names does your dog have?
What are some of your favourite nicknames for your fur-kid? 😃

Picture of Tonto/buddy/PITA appearing innocent after shaking Teddy to death...
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OK, time for a Wednesday Whinge...

Want to know my biggest issue with dog parks (and trust me, I have plenty)? It may surprise you that it isn't the fact that there are tons of dogs there that lack training (or manners). You don't have to have a perfectly trained dog to go to the dog park. And technically, you need to do some training at the park to teach your dog what you want from them at the park. So I can tolerate poorly trained dogs at the dog park.

Nope, my biggest issue with dog parks is owners that don't care about their dogs when they are there. 😡🤬

They feel like they can get to the park, let Fido off lead, then spend the time on their phone, or chatting with friends, or anything other than monitoring their dog.

You MUST monitor your dog at the dog park to
- know when you have to pick up 💩
- make sure your dog isn't being bullied
- make sure your dog isn't being a bully
- know when your dog needs a break or is ready to go home
Bullying happens much more frequently than most people think. I see it far too often. 😔

So please, be a chaperone for your dog at the park, not just a chauffeur to the dog park.

And if you see someone ignoring their dog, don't be afraid to go knock the phone out of their hands and tell them to pay attention! Just kidding, but I do make a point of telling people when they conveniently didn't see their dog leaving a 💩 , and you should also.

So when at the dog park, monitor your dog and be a responsible pet guardian. 😁👍
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