Owning a Dog with Aggressive Behaviour in London’s Urban Jungle
Navigating the bustling streets of London with a reactive dog is a unique challenge. With a dense population and numerous dogs, understanding why some dogs remain calm while others struggle is crucial.
The Root of Dog Reactivity: Confidence and Environment
A dog’s reaction to their environment hinges on their confidence in their protectors and surroundings. Reactive dogs often perceive situations as threats due to a lack of confidence, leading to them choosing one of the three ‘F’s: flight, freeze, or fight.
Flight Response in Dogs: The Art of Avoidance
Flight involves escaping the threat, ranging from obvious running away to subtler behaviours like turning away or maintaining distance.
Freeze Reaction: Submissive, Assertive, and Aggressive
Dogs exhibit three types of freeze reactions:
- Submissive freeze: Lowering or rolling over to appease the threat.
- Assertive freeze: Showing unease while maintaining position.
- Aggressive freeze: Lunging, barking, or growling as overt responses.
Fight: The Last Resort
If flight and freeze don’t eliminate the threat, a dog might resort to fighting to protect themselves.
See video underneath for visual examples of the body language
Your Role as a London Dog Owner
In London, it’s vital to build your dog’s confidence in you as a leader and safekeeper. This involves choosing a defensive response of flight or freeze, steering clear of the fight response.
Choosing the Right Environment
Holland Park, where dogs are mostly leashed, is ideal for gradual exposure training. Start at a distance where your dog doesn’t react, establishing a baseline for training.
Clear Leadership Language: Flight, Freeze, and Treats
Demonstrate leadership by choosing the appropriate response:
- If your dog is uneasy, opt for flight, moving away from the threat.
- Use treats to reinforce calm behaviour when your dog walks away with you.
- Gradually decrease the distance to the threat, prolonging training sessions with the freeze response as your dog remains calm.
Progressive Interaction and Training
Begin interactions with other dogs while keeping yours behind you, stepping back if there’s any reaction. A strong reaction indicates a need to revisit previous training stages.
Summary: Confidence Through Consistent Training
Employing flight and freeze responses, rewarding calm behaviour, and progressively reducing distance will build your dog’s confidence in you, their environment, and their actions.
See a video of me underneath working with a dog that display aggression to other dogs by lunging and barking.
Need dog aggression training in London?
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