Training for Aggressive Dogs Case Study

Dog Aggression Out Of Control?
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Curtis and his family enjoyed Bo, their yellow lab, but they often had a problem when the kids would play in the yard with Bo. He was often knocking them down and if Curtis was playing with them he would try to mount him. Sometimes if Curtis raised his voice to his children to reprimand them, Bo would get upset and start growling. Curtis had tries spanking Bo or tapping him on his nose like people had told him, but nothing seemed to be curbing Bo's aggressive behavior.

Curtis had finally had enough. He was discussing his frustration over Bo's behavior with a friend, who recommended a trainer. His friend told him that the trainer would come out to the house to work with Curtis and his family to help them stop some of these behaviors.

When the trainer came out to Curtis's house he watched as Curtis and the kids interacted and talked to Curtis about what behaviors Bo was exhibiting. The trainer recommended that the family stop allowing Bo to assert that he was the Alpha Dog, and that Curtis needed to establish himself as the leader of Bo's pack. The trainer explained that dog's have a pack mentality in which one dog has dominance over all of the other dogs. Bo's behavior was a way of him showing he was in charge.

Curtis took the trainer's advice and began taking control over everything. The trainer told Curtis that Bo would start having to wait for permission to use any toy or even to eat. He needed to learn that Curtis and his family were in control. Curtis put up Bo's toys and stopped allowing him to jump up on the couch or bed unless he sat first.

When Bo wanted to play or go out, Curtis began teaching him to sit in front of the toy box or doorway. Once he sat on command, Curtis would pull out a toy or open the door. If Bo did not listen, Curtis would not give Bo what he wanted. Curtis also showed his family members how to do the same thing. At first Bo was non-responsive, but learned that he was not getting what he wanted, so he would listen to commands.

The trainer also discouraged Curtis from playing tug-of-war with Bo. Although this was one of Curtis's favorite games to play with Bo, he discovered that Bo's behavior worsened after a game of tug-of-war. The trainer explained that these types of games are instinctual ways for dogs to establish dominance in the pack. She suggested games of fetch and using other active toys to stimulate Bo.

After months of training, Bo's aggressive behavior dissipated. Once in a while, Bo would try to reassert himself as the alpha dog, but the family had learned not to give in to Bo's demands. Bo was no longer knocking down the kids when they would play, and he completely stopped mounting Curtis. He was now a much more fun and easy dog. Curtis was now able to even teach him other tricks that he never thought Bo was capable of.

The key to Curtis's success with Bo was that the family had to establish dominance over Bo. Curtis had to tell Bo that he was the boss. Once Bo learned his spot in the hierarchy, he was better behaved and the aggression subsided.




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