Training

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Training for aggressive dogs case study

Mike and his family enjoy having Otto, their yellow Labrador, around their home. But they sometimes encounter problems when the kids would play in the backyard with the dog. Otto would repeatedly knock them down and when Mike would join in to play with them the dog would try to mount on him. At times if Mike scolds at his children to reprimand them, Otto would get distressed and start growling. Mike tried spanking Otto or tapping him on his nose, but nothing seemed to be curbing Otto's aggression.

Bruce had finally given up on Matt's behavior. He was talking his frustration over Matt's aggressive behavior with a neighbor, who recommended a dog trainer. His neighbor advised him that the trainer would visit them in their house to work with Bruce and his family to aid them curb some of these behaviors.

When the trainer visited Bruce's house he observed as Bruce and the kids huddled and talked to Bruce about what behaviors Matt was exhibiting. The trainer suggested that the family stop allowing Matt to assert that he was the Alpha Dog, and that Bruce would need to establish himself as the leader of Matt's pack. The trainer further explained that dog's have a pack mentality wherein one dog has dominance over everyone. Matt's behavior was a way of him presenting he was in charge.

Mike followed the trainer's advice and started taking control over everything. The trainer explained to Mike that Otto should wait first for permission to use any toy or even to eat. Otto needs to accept that Mike and his family were in control. Mike put up Otto's toys and refrains from letting him jump on the couch or bed unless he sat first.

When Matt would want to play or go out, Bruce began training him to sit in front of the toy box or doorway. For when he sat on command, Bruce would let him play with a toy or open the door for him. If Matt would not follow, Bruce would not give Matt what he wanted. Bruce also instructed his kids how to do the same thing. At first Matt would not respond, but realized that he was not getting what he wanted, so he would follow to commands.

The trainer also discouraged Bruce from playing tug-of-war with Matt. Even though this was one of Bruce's favorite games to play with Matt, he observed that Matt's behavior worsened after a game of tug-of-war. The trainer cited that these kinds of games are instinctual ways for dogs to assert dominance in the pack. He suggested games of fetch and using other active toys to excite Matt.

Months have passed and Matt's aggression dissipated. Every now and then, Matt would try to reassert himself as the alpha dog, but the family now knows not to give in to Matt's demands. Matt had improved and no longer knocks down the kids when they would play, and he definitely stopped mounting Bruce. Bruce was now able to even teach him other tricks that he never thought Matt was capable of.

The key to Gab's success with Teru was that the family had to establish dominance over Teru. After Teru realized his spot in the hierarchy, he was better-behaved and the aggression subsided.

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