Copyright 2013. Slee Canine Training & Security. All rights reserved.
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1. Aggressive Dogs on Walks
When walking your dog, well, firstly, the dog should be on a short leash, no longer than a 4-6 foot, and the dog should be heeled at your side. If you have trained your dog to heel, that should be no problem. There are times for having a dog on a long lead or line, but during walks is not one of those times.
When walking past people's houses you will encounter dogs that walk or charge out toward you and your dog(s). They are simply investigating, for purposes of possible social behavior and/or guarding their domain. That is normal and acceptable behavior, so long as the dog does not get aggressive. Barking is not aggressive behavior. A growl is a precursor to aggressive behavior. It is preferable for owners to train their dogs to stay within the confines of their property, but many owners do not do this, and it is a task which takes some time and patience to fully instill. There are also stray dogs running around oftentimes, either having no owner or having an irresponsible owner who doesn't keep the dog at home. And sometimes, a dog gets loose, and being a sociable creature, runs around and fraternizes with other dogs and people.
Anyway, the best course for the person walking their dog is to keep your dog walking and ignore the other dog(s). Most of the time, that will dissipate any aggression that the other dog has or may have. As long as you present no threat to him, he will usually leave you alone. When a dog comes charging out towards me, I will wait until he is within about 10 feet or a little less, and stomp my foot and hollar. That usually does it. Then I soothe him as we walk on past. I usually say good boy to him or things like that. He was doing his duty of guarding his domain, yet he didn't bite or attack needlessly, so he gets praise.
Many people confuse dutiful actions with aggression, and instead of ignoring the problem, they compound it by either showing fear, or being aggressive in turn, rather than authoritative. There is one dog in town who used to come charging out everytime I'd walk past, nipping at one of my dogs as he did. My dogs responded by maybe looking at him or just ignoring him. He was just being aggressively playful. The owners worked with him and he's fine now. Sometimes a dog's actions are simply like comparing sparring with an actual fight, and people think it's aggressiveness leading to viciousness. If not checked it can lead to that, but one clear sign of an overly aggressive dog is when your dog responds by becoming aggressive. If not, then there's probably not a real problem.
Show no fear nor aggression, hollar if need be, and walk on past, looking over your shoulder to make sure the dog isn't coming up from behind, and watch your dog for a sign that he is responding to an aggressive dog or not.
Originally posted 7/11/2013
2. UNWARRANTED? BITES
I suspect that a lot of cases of people being bitten by dogs, especially their own dogs, are the victim's fault, due to failure to show proper etiquette, as illustrated in this video of a police dog nailing a reporter: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=PHLnjiISsOo&NR=1. The reporter unwittingly engaged in behavior that, to the dog, was intimidating, threatening and rude, reacting accordingly. Petting someone's dog, especially a guard dog, getting too close to the master, or moving in a way that the dog interprets as hostile is equivalent to, let's say, a man making advances towards another man's wife, normally not welcome at all.
During the course of training my Husky for watch/guard duty, I washed some old clothes in plain water, no soap, then buried them in the ground for a few days, so as to make sure there were no familiar smells on them. I wore them and a ski mask, playing the part of an intruder, and nearly got attacked by my own dog. He stood down only when I spoke to him and took the ski mask off. That is a rather extreme example, as most people likely don't train their dog that extensively. But there are some other, more common examples of why people get bit when, in their reasoning, there is no reason for it.
Sparring, play fighting, arguing or rough housing often causes friends/neighbors to get bit. Waking a dog up by shaking him can result in a bite. You forget something so you quickly turn around to retrieve it. Coming home from work after a very bad day, just getting cut off in traffic, anything that causes you to be angry on the inside. Teasing a dog or harassing him. Having petted another dog that perhaps you're dog doesn't like, the scent of which will be very apparent to your dog. There are many reasons. And you could rightly say that you didn't do anything at all to cause the dog to bite you, which, directly, you did not. However, indirectly or inadvertently you did fail to take into consideration the nature of a dog. In these types of cases, ignorance may be an excuse, but does not change the results.
Originally posted 02/09/2013
1. AGGRESSIVE DOGS ON WALKS
2. UNWARRANTED? BITES
SLEE DOG TRAINING
TODD A. SLEE
210 N. CHURCH ST.
ROANN, IN 46974