'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Emma Parsons - 'Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog' chapters 5-6

'It's crucial that you keep an eye on your dogs when they are playing. Interrupt the play behaviour if it gets out of hand or becomes violent. Remember, there is a fine line between overstimulation and aggression.' (p139)

'If any dog in your household begins to show threatening behaviours to another dog, then that aggressive dog should lose the opportunity to be with you and his canine companions. Silently remove the problem dog from the situation immediately and put him in a separate room.' (p139)

'If a fight should break out, separate the dogs as quickly and safely as possible. It is usually best to grab them by the hind legs or tails and attempt to pull them apart. Don't grab their collars; stay away from their head and neck areas. It is not uncommon for dogs, in their frenzy, to whip their heads around and sink their teeth into their owner's skin accidentally.' (p140)

'As the human in a multiple-dog household, it's your responsibility to educate your dogs in order to manage them properly. ... Without careful management, aggression may lead to injury, and you may have to give your dog away or, in the worst case scenario, euthanize him.' (p140)

'Dogs that are aggressive toward people present the most serious canine behavioural problem. Owning a dog that could potentially harm a person, especially a child, is risky business.' (p141)

'To be successful, the dog needs his human family members to guide him and tell him which behaviour is acceptable and which behaviour is not.' (p144)

'Core Management Plan for the Dog That Is Aggressive Toward People
1. Incorporate clicker training sessions into your schedule.
2. Feed your dog by hand.
3. Your dog works for all rewards.
4. Ignore attention seeking behaviour.
5. Praise and pet for short periods only.
6. Do not approach your dog in a threatening way.
7. No roughhousing or tug games! [*]
8. Keep a long line attached to your dog's collar.
9. No dogs on the furniture. [-]
10. Your dog does not sleep in bed with you. [-]
11. Your dog does not pull you on the leash.
12. Your dog is not allowed to jump up on people. [-]
13. Your dog should always come when he's called.
14. Double the amount of exercise your dog gets.
15. Practice safe home management.
16. Toys are earned and rotated daily.' (p146-p153)
([*] - This is mostly for dogs that have bitten, and/or who have low self control/impulse control around humans. Tug is a highly valuable reinforcer for L though, so I still use it.
[-] - Oops. I can't imagine not letting L on my lap/the couch, not snuggling up with her against my chest in bed, and not letting her jump at me.)

For (all) dogs, 'frequent clicker sessions--five to fifteen minutes at least twice a day--will not only build new behaviours but will also mentally stimulate them and begin to change their outlook on life.' (p146)

'Be aware of what your body language is saying to your dog. Common examples of human body language that distress our dogs and can result in a bite include an outstretched hand, leaning forward over the dog, stepping over the dog, and/or patting the dog on the head. Avoid intimidating your dog simply by the way you move.' (p149)

'Allowing your dog to play rough with anyone, including yourself, sets him up for failure. Dogs that are reactive toward people in general need to learn to respect humans and to practice self-control around humans at all times.' (p149)

'Training Recipes: Managing Specific Aggressive Behaviours
Eating in Peace [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- Hand feed your dog for a limited time.
- Sit with your dog's bowl in your lap, click, and feed him wonderful treats as he is eating his meal.
- Walk by your dog, and as he is eating, click as you drop great treats into his bowl.
Object Exchange [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- Practice object exchanges with your dog from the very beginning.
- Never forcefully pull anything out of your dog's mouth.
- If your dog should steal something, try not to make a big fuss. Simply go to the dog and practice an object exchange.
Sharing the Space [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- Clicker train your dog to jump on and off objects on cue.
- Teach your dog to say "Please" should he want access to a certain area.
- Change the location of dogs beds and crates so that the dog doesn't guard one area or another.
Living Together in Harmony [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- Socialize your dog properly.
- Clicker train your dog.
- Implement some sort of management plan immediately upon the dog's arrival.
- As hard as it is, try not to overindulge your dog's wishes. Aggression can quickly become the mark of a "spoiled" dog.
- Do not use punishment-based training techniques on your dog. Aggression can be a side effect, as can other abhorrent behaviours.
Repairing Relationships [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- All family members need to take an active role in the dog's training and socialization.
- Your dog needs familial structure.
- All members of the family should clicker train the dog.
- One member of the family should not overindulge your dog's wishes.
- Do not use punishment-based training techniques on your dog.
Greeting Gracefully [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- Introduce your dog to many different kinds of people.
- Let your dog go to "puppy sleepovers."
- Clicker train your dog from the very beginning.
- Ask other people to clicker train your dog as well.
- Beware of [some of the] human body language cues that are intimidating to the dog ...
- A wagging tail can be a sign of stress; it is not always a sign of happiness or friendliness.
- Continue socializing your dog well into his middle-age years.
Becoming Child-Friendly [...]
Aggression Prevention Tips:
- When adopting a dog, make sure you know the dog's previous reinforcement history if you have children under ten years of age.
- Socializing your dog with lots of children is key.
- Have each of the children clicker train the dog: they should work with standard obedience cues.
- Never allow the children to do annoying things to the dog ... no matter how well the dog might seem to tolerate it.
- Teach your children to respect the dog's space.' (p154-p175)


An English Shepherd said...

Some good tips :-)

Sara said...

Good stuff.

Bailey Be Good! said...

Great tips! I like the puppy sleepover idea!

Woofs & hugs,


Nat said...

I got this book a couple months ago and it's great! Thanks for the summaries.