Welcome to the second part of our article series “Linen aggression”. You have certainly heard tips from other dog owners, such as “You just have to assert yourself. That helped with ours too.” Hey Fiffi trainer Daniela Maletzki explains why you should avoid a few tips.
You already know how leash aggression can arise from our first part. And now you are the (often desperate) owner of a linen rambos and looking for help. The search for help is initially a sensible and welcome decision, but you should pay close attention to where the (supposed) help comes from. You have certainly already received one or the other tip from dog owners, your neighbors or within the family and maybe even tried it out. There are also many books and DVDs on the subject of leash aggression, both good and bad. And it can also be seen on TV time and again how the problem of line aggression is “fixed” in one episode, apparently quickly and easily.
Beware of thoughtless tips!
Unfortunately, many of these tips and training methods that you read and hear about and that are shown on TV are based on suppressing and inhibiting your dog’s behavior. And what is much worse is the fact that unfortunately there are still many dog trainers who work according to this principle of oppression and inhibition. It is jerked on a leash that the dog will soon roll over. Dogs are torn up in the air (and literally the ground under their feet). The dog is shouted at, hissed at, sprayed with water, physically pressed, choked with thin lines, pinched, etc. In addition to the fact that it is unfair and unnecessary to deal with a dog in this way, many of these “training methods” are harmful to health. There is a risk of mislinks. In addition, these tips put a massive strain on the relationship between dog and owner.
Fast success through inhibition and oppression?
The fatal thing about using such measures is the supposedly quick success. Many dogs can actually be inhibited quickly and therefore it looks as if the problem has been solved quickly.
But: The mob on the leash is only the symptom of a deeper problem, namely the negative emotions towards other people.
This means: Even if you manage to inhibit your dog’s behavior, you are only treating symptoms. The negative emotions remain, even if they are no longer so clearly visible. They are even likely to get worse because your dog has a negative to painful experience every time he sees another dog. And the negative experience is triggered by d i c h!
In addition, the learning theory is also valid when punishment is used. Punishment is subject to certain rules if you want to use it correctly. And it only works when used correctly. The stupid thing is that these rules are difficult or almost impossible to comply with.
These rules include, for example:
The punishment must be announced so that your dog has the opportunity to evade the punishment through desired behavior
Your dog must have learned alternative behavior so that it can behave as desired
The punishment must always and immediately occur with every “mistake” behavior
The punishment must be so hard that the behavior is immediately inhibited, but it must not be so hard that the dog suffers trauma (this is only for clairvoyants …)
Do you dare to do that?
Please ask your dog trainer about risks and side effects
You also need to be aware of the possible risks and side effects of using such methods. To put it bluntly: “Just punishing and inhibiting aggressive behavior is dangerous !!” What happens if your dog has learned through massive penalties that he is no longer allowed to show aggression, the inhibition is no longer large enough? And what does the dog learn if I only inhibit its behavior? At best, he learns what he is not allowed to do. That alone is rather unlikely, because then he would have to be aware that his behavior is wrong. As already described in the first article, the behavior has a function for the dog and it brings him success. Inhibiting behavior does not offer the dog the opportunity to learn how to succeed with other behaviors!
The risk of mislinks
And there we are with another risk that should not be underestimated: the risk of incorrect links. Your dog perceives a lot more than just the oncoming dog the moment you punish it. Everything that your dog sees, hears, smells and feels the moment you pull, for example, on a leash, can thereby be negatively proven for the dog. Do you really want to risk that your dog does not link his companion with the painful jerk on the leash, but the neighbor child? Perhaps he is startled by the spray of water from the spray gun and stops barking at his fellow species, but at the same time connects the cycling postman with this fright. People, situations, things, noises, smells, … At this moment your dog can combine all of this with the fright and / or pain he feels.
Practice unwanted behavior
In addition, a prerequisite for being able to inhibit your dog (also known as “correcting”) is that your dog must first show the aggressive behavior. But now it is the case that the behavior can continue to consolidate each time it is shown and carried out. This is the reason that the “endurance” also practiced does not lead to successful training. Every dog (like us) has an individual distance that is influenced by many factors and which he needs to feel safe. If the dog is brought into a situation for training in which this individual distance is repeatedly fallen short so that it learns to endure other dogs, this is not very helpful.
Do you want it?
And finally, of course, the question arises: “Do you want to deal with your dog like this?” Are you sure you want to put your dog in situations that overwhelm him, that he cannot cope with, and then tug at him, yell at him, splash water, pinch, etc.? I have great understanding for all dog owners who do not know better, and take desperate measures against their gut feelings. However, there are other effective and sustainable, non-violent alternatives to the methods mentioned above to tackle the “Mission ex-linen rambo”. Then we come to the third part. However, I lack any understanding for the trainer colleagues who are still working with these methods and should actually know better. I hope you clarify your customers beforehand about the risks and side effects.