Welcome to the third part of our series of articles “
Leash aggression. Hey Fiffi trainer Daniela Maletzki explains how you prepare your training and what you should pay attention to. What you shouldn’t forget, however, is that you need a competent trainer to effectively train the leash aggression, because it often comes down to trifles and excellent knowledge of your dog’s body language. You can read what good training looks like here.
And there it is, the third part of the Leash aggression series. Now that you know how line aggression arises and how not to train as an owner of a line rambos, this article is about how to start an effective training.
First of all, the equipment of dogs and humans should be checked and possibly optimized. I always recommend (if there is nothing to contradict this for health reasons) to guide your dog on a well-fitting harness. In addition to the fact that it can be very harmful to your dog’s health to pull on a collar and jump into the collar whenever they see a fellow man, this also leads to additional stress and negative associations with fellow animals. These are linked to the pain and the resulting shortage of air. In addition, the pull on the collar (regardless of whether it originates from the owner or the owner) will raise your dog up / forward. This not only leads to an unfavorable body language, which in turn not only affects your dog, but also affects the response of the oncoming dog. With a well-fitting and non-slipping chest harness, it can also help with an unfavorable size and weight ratio of man and dog to clip the leash carabiner into the ring on the chest (if available) of the dog, so that your dog is held better can. However, you should make sure that the carabiner cannot push or rub.
Leash and muzzle
Your leash should be of a comfortable length so that your dog has a certain amount of space and can sniff off the path, but you can also handle it well. But it shouldn’t be too long either, so that your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to take too much of a run-up and pull you off your feet if it jumps on the leash to roar at a fellow animal. Flexilines are therefore not suitable. You should also consider whether you can get your dog used to a muzzle. A muzzle gives owners of large or heavy dogs additional security. Even if there is no direct contact between the dogs, the thought helps many owners that nothing can happen in an emergency. So you can train more relaxed with your dog.
Rewards with treats
Before you start training, you must of course also think about what you can reward your dog with. Treats are a good and easy way to reward your dog when training. Since we want to provide positive proof of the same type for the linen rambo, this can of course be particularly good. Something that your dog likes very much and doesn’t get very often. Treats are also always a good indicator of your dog’s stress level. If your dog suddenly stops taking treats or becomes very coarse and the whole hand disappears in the muzzle, then this is an indication that your dog needs more distance from its peers. In addition, eating, for example in the form of a treat for treats, offers a good opportunity to share your dog’s attention, so that his focus is no longer solely on his companion. The treats should be stowed in such a way that they are easily accessible. Of course, game is also a way of rewarding and your favorite toy can be used in training.
Reward with distance and sniffing
Distance plays a major role in training linen aggression. You can increase or decrease distance and also use it as a reward. For dogs that react aggressively out of uncertainty or fear, increasing the distance is recommended. For example, you can increase distance by breaking eye contact, taking a bow, avoiding, changing direction, and so on. If your dog actually wants to contact the other dog, for example, sniffing is a reward. That means: As soon as the other dog is gone, your leash rambor can sniff its lane again.
The marker signal
A very important aid in training is the marker signal, either in the form of a marker word or the clicker. The clicker is of course also part of the equipment and you should always be within reach during training. Here is a small introduction.
In addition to optimizing the equipment, management is also indispensable and a very important part of the training. Management means: You design situations in such a way that you temporarily no longer enable your dog to have to disengage. Under certain circumstances, this can mean that you change the side of the road, climb into the bushes, or go back a path you have already taken, if there is no other alternative. Often at this point the statement comes: “But I don’t want to have to take detours and change the road side for the rest of my life.” (Most of the time you do that anyway to avoid the dog’s freaking out)
At this point I can reassure you: the more advanced the training is, the smaller the distances to your fellow species that your linen rambo can master without freaking out and the fewer detours you have to walk. Management is so important because we want to prevent your dog from going nuts again. It is of great importance for relearning not to repeatedly put your dog in situations that he CANNOT cope with. Management therefore often consists of increasing the distance in the form of dodging, reversing, changing the street or path, walking arches, waiting at the edge, using objects or vegetation as a privacy screen, etc.
In case of emergancy
If dodging but reversing is not possible, it makes sense to have one or more emergency solutions in your pocket. This can mean simply feeding your dog continuously until the other dog is over (open bar). Another solution that can be trained for emergencies is the harness handle. Please let a trained trainer show you this. I have often seen people say that they use the handle, but they do it wrong. You can also use the olfactory bomb.
Leash handling makes it easier
In parallel to training on the line aggression, you should always work on good line handling (you can find training instructions here). Firstly, because it is uncomfortable or even harmful to health for both you and your dog if the leash is constantly on the move. On the other hand, because pulling is an additional stressor and can lead to your dog reacting even more excited and increasing the risk of freaking out. In addition, walks with a leashed dog are just more fun, right?
Often you only have in your head that the dog should stop mobbing. But it is also very important to think about what your dog should do instead. So you need a so-called “alternative behavior”. This is a behavior that your dog should show instead of mobbing. This can basically be any behavior that your dog masters well and likes to perform. Suitable alternatives are, for example, sitting, looking for treats, hand touch, small tricks, carrying an object, etc. If your dog is not yet able to behave appropriately, you can practice this in parallel with the leash rambo training.
You need a trainer!
The things mentioned so far are important basics to effectively and sustainably change your dog’s behavior. The actual training can then consist of the following elements (in addition to the training of line handling and alternative behavior):
- Click for a look
- Show & name
- De-escalating sitting
- Dish handle
- U turn
- relaxation training
These training elements are listed here for the sake of completeness. You should tackle them with the support of a trainer who will create an individual training plan for you.
Last but not least: Even if life with a linen rambo is not always easy, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and your dog! Training can be effective and still be fun, and your dog is sure to have its good sides and can do something particularly well that another (not leash-aggressive) dog cannot.