#1 Trick to Protect Your Aggressive Dog

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dog aggressionAs a dog obedience trainer, I work with a lot of mundane problems like house training and pulling on leash and other problems that are seemingly easy to fix with a little extra work and effort.

Apart from that, I think we dog trainers see a lot of aggressive dogs.

Let me first say that I don’t believe you can “cure” aggression.

I recently lost a potential client because a competitor promised her that they could cure her dog’s aggression with a shock collar even after it had bitten her child and her mother.

I guess I would rather lose a potential client here and there rather than make promises that I can’t guarantee; much less would I use a shock collar on a dog that is biting children (as this could make the problem and the damage so very much worse).

But I do believe that you can learn to control aggression with a lot of work and training.

And, you can almost completely eradicate the aggressive behaviors and displays (barking, growling, hackling, lunging, biting).

It is just important to remember as you do eliminate the behaviors you must remember that at the core your dog still probably doesn’t like (people, children, other dogs or whatever your dog’s trigger is).  It is when you think the dog is “changed” or “fixed” or “cured” that you let your guard down, stop your training and the behavior reemerges with a vengeance.

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I Have a Client

So I have a client with a very, very aggressive dog.

The dog has bitten numerous people.

The dog is also not trustworthy with other dogs.

And, I will say this was not “caused” by this particular client.  The dog is not babied, aggression is not encouraged, the dog is not mistreated, the dog has been in training since he was a tiny puppy and quite frankly he has always been this way.

Of course the aggression got worse when he got older and more mature.

The Problem…

He is adorable, from a distance.

People don’t believe that he is an aggressive dog, even after being told.

And, he has a very fast fuse and a small bubble.

Meaning he isn’t showing outward aggressive signs until someone is usually close enough to be bitten.

And, he goes from 0 to 1,000,000,000 very quickly, so quickly in fact that his owner was shocked the first couple of times that he bit.

Now it is his goal to make sure that no one gets close enough to be bitten.

So he puts a muzzle on him if he is outside, and yet still sometimes people approach even when they are asked to please not. (He is a very unique and exotic breed).

So we had to come up with another tactic.

Because the dog lives in the city and deserves to go outside the home and get some exercise and have some quality of life.

He uses the muzzle.

He has taught the dog to watch him and give him focus.

He has taught the dog to lay down quickly on command so that he can deal with people.

But it didn’t seem to be enough.dog aggression

Then I Saw This CRAZY  Video…

So I watched a video come across my news feed on social media.

It was of a police officer and his police canine and it seemed like they were members of SWAT.

The part that I loved was that the dog heeled in between his partner’s legs; flawlessly.

I had one of those AH HA moments.

People would be much, much less likely to touch your dog if he was in your crotch.

And, I am pretty sure it wouldn’t matter if you were male or female, that is a societal no fly zone!

If this dog could do it, it could also be a training technique used for other dogs.

Especially dogs with aggression issues!

And, it isn’t terribly difficult to teach.

Getting Started

Teach your dog to target something.

I begin by teaching my dog to target my hand, then I move on to a lid or some other kind of target.

IMPORTANT: This would NOT have been effective if the dog had not first gone through Emotional Re-calibration Training (ERT).  What he learned in his ERT training was what gave him the emotional control he needed to actually do this ‘Crotch Heel’ out in public.  If your interested in taking your dog through Emotional Re-calibration Training, we have just opened enrollment to our last class of the year, where we will be teaching this training method via an online MASTERCLASS.  CLICK-HERE to learn more about this MASTER CLASS.

Now put your dog on a sit to down directly behind you.

It is easier for your dog to get into position if he is slightly behind you and doesn’t have to duck far (some of you will be lucky enough to have smaller dogs that don’t have to duck).

Squat down a little and bow your legs, then have him come through your legs and touch the target.

Work on all kinds of different angles.

Make it fun!

The weave and entering and getting into place should be like a game to your dog.

Getting him to do it randomly (but on command of course) around the house is also a great way to solidify this behavior.

Once he knows where to be, it isn’t hard to lure him with food and teach him to move with you as you walk (remember you may want to get away from the oncoming person or dog).

I also like to teach him dogs to sit or lay down in between my legs too, this gives me more control.

Another Benefit

Not to mention this is FUN!

You don’t have to have an aggressive dog to teach this behavior, you could simply want more control and another fun game to play with your dog!

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There are 16 Comments

  1. Thanks for information. this is so amazing for those who don’t know much about pets like me. Thank you for sharing this. I will share it to my Pet group.

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  2. Jen Gabbard says:

    I would have never in a million years thought of that – and it’s brilliant. I was surprised when I taught my dog Laika how to weave between legs that it wasn’t difficult at all compared to trying to teach her to weave around cones I had set up on the floor. It is a really fun trick, and now I even have a more practical use for it as well.

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  3. Steve says:

    Thank you for this idea! And the web site. Your ideas and techniques have been very helpful with our white German Shepard.
    I will try this as people seem approach him as they don’t recognize his breed. He is very protective and growls and barks when friendly strangers approach.
    Thanks!

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  4. Steve says:

    Thank you for this idea! And the web site. Your ideas and techniques have been very helpful with our white German Shepard.
    I will try this as people seem to approach him as they don’t recognize his breed. He is very protective and growls and barks when friendly strangers approach.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  5. Fiona Macpherson says:

    Love your blogs – the links often appear on our training club’s Facebook page to try to get the word out there! I have used this ”between the legs” behaviour for years (learned it originally with freestyle) but particularly in the off lead park when large energetic dogs arrive and come rushing to say hello to my dog, who is small and has a bulging disc. He is happy with any sized dog and wants to say hello too but I need to ensure he doesn’t get bowled over so call him between my legs as the new dog/s rush up.

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    Minette Reply:

    Great point!!! And thank you for reading :)

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  6. Lainie blum says:

    How do you get a a3 month old puppy that is being trained with treats and praise to stop biting. I am not worried about other people as I can’t even get him past me. He goes for my hand when I go to give him a treat. to show him affection he bites my face. He draws blood. I try to give him iced things to chew on thinkng he was teething but this is NOT teething. He is biting.
    Lainie Blum.

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    Minette Reply:

    use the search bar at the top to search my free articles.

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  7. Gonza says:

    Thanks.Am one of those who love aggressive and huge dogs.The more aggressive the better but I always have them tamed so as to control them on command. But of course I have had a few stubborn ones.My current Challenge is one of my most discplined dogs is beginning to act the wrong way. This is a dog I move with a lot and I can leave it with any stranger provided I intoduce it to the stranger.But of late when barking at anything on leash it gets so mad that it turns to bite you the holder.This it does to me and any other person out of frustration.It even bites any dog next to it when backing.And yet if not agitated yiu can command it to do anything,including walking thru a pack of other dogs or people.Please advise. Because I don’t believe in stopping a dog from barking.

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  8. Carole says:

    Sounds like a great idea!!
    Thanks!

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  9. Karen Stone says:

    Always appreciative of your tips. Not enough time to take a class, as yet…Hope to in the future.

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  10. Dayl says:

    This is an approach to my dog’s aggressive behavior that I actually just randomly tried before I read your article. I have very cute, 7 yr. old female Wheaton terrier, who everyone wants to pet, as she looks like a stuffed animal. She has only started being agressive after about 2 years old. She is aggressive when people we don’t know (other than children) approach me. I instinctively started putting her between my legs in a down position for basically my own sanity…and it does working with her and “recalibrate” this behavior. Your are my last hope as all other trainers just tell me that Wheatons are hopeless…this I don’t believe. She is so very sweet and gentle to all our family, men, women and kids.

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  11. Fiona says:

    Yes! This will be fantastic for our stressed GSH/staffy rescue. Thanks Minette!

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  12. Liz Misa says:

    My problem is the reverse. I have a small dog and when I am walking him other large dogs come up to us running and want to attack him. They are usually not on a leash. I have had run ins with 2 pit bulls. The man said the older dog just wants to play. His younger dog wants to kill my dog.

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  13. Betsy Richardson says:

    Just wondering…. wouldn’t it be dangerous for people to approach you with your dog between your legs? I would think it might trigger your dog’s protective instincts to guard and defend you if someone approached you to shake your hand or hug you, or even get too close to you.

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  14. Gail says:

    My dog is very large (100 plus pounds). And I am 5’4″. I don’t think he would fit between my legs! But I run into unleashed dogs all the time. The owners are always well behind their dogs, calling out “don’t worry, s/he is friendly.” It’s so annoying. Then the “friendly” dog dashes up and sticks its nose and where dog noses go, setting off my dog!

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