The phone rings and I answer it. After a few minutes the story starts to pan out the same way as so many others I hear. It goes something like this…
“Our puppy was so well socialised, she went to pre-puppy class, then puppy class, then basic obedience, then advanced dog training and now she does agility. At about 1 year old she started showing signs of aggression towards other dogs who come close to us on the walk and now she barks aggressively as soon as she sees them”.
The part that is so often the same is that the puppy is well loved, cared for, was socialised when young, graduated top of the puppy class and always loved other dogs. Then usually over a period of time they have slowly become more growly, towards other dogs.
So what’s happened?
Why does a dog that is socialised as a puppy become aggressive towards other dogs and what can you do to stop it?
Dogs can growl at other dogs for any number of reasons. We could call it fear-aggression or dominance. It could be over their food, they could be protecting you or your property, the list is endless. But in many ways it’s similar to children. They too can argue and become confrontational over so many things. However regardless of what the issue is, as a parent you are able to step in and show them calmly how to behave.
The important point here is that the more your children trust and respect you the easier it is to put a stop to their old behavior and replace it with a new one. With dogs it is no different in that you as the pack leader need to step in and show them how to behave. You need to put an end to the growling and replace it with calm energy and a new behavior. Now, here is the important part that many people miss… The more your dogs trust and respect you and your decisions, the easier it is to train them.
The problem that so many dog owners and parents have
When children or dogs do not respect you or your decisions then the chances are they will take little notice of you. The reason so many dogs run into trouble growling at other dogs is that they believe they are the pack leaders and so they make all the decisions. What you think comes a very distant second in their mind.
You see, dogs are pack animals by nature, and yours will instantly assume it’s the pack leader in your home, unless challenged and convinced that they’re not.
Just like children (when young), our dogs need us to be in charge. This helps them to make good decisions about what is acceptable behavior and showing them how to behave. It also takes the stress away from youngsters as they don’t have to make any important decisions any more.
Puppy classes are about running around socialising at an early age and they’re a fantastic way of learning to enjoy other dogs’ company, but it’s not enough to ensure that your dog stays the social animal that we all want them to be. You must become the dog’s DECISION MAKER, the Leader of the Pack, and show them the way.
Learn the 5 Golden Rules
Simply by becoming the Pack Leader and implementing the 5 Golden Rules, your dog will immediately recognise you are now the leader. They will leave the protection of the den to you, stop trying to overly protect you on the walk, and without all the pressure of thinking they’re in charge, your dog will calm down considerably.
Becoming the pack leader is the clearest way to keep your dog safe as they grow up. Puppy classes are a good start but being the pack leader is the long term secret to a happy, social dog. That way you can continue to stop unwanted behaviors and show them the correct way to behave.
For a complete solution to getting your puppy to calm down and listen to you when it matters most, check out my Puppy Coach training program.
If you would like a fresh calm approach to raising children and training dogs, then check out my book “What The Dogs Taught Me About Being A Parent” I think that you will find it a fascinating read 🙂 Read more about my book here.
.I strongly encourage every dog owner, all over the world, to learn the Five Golden Rules.
All the best,