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When it comes to child aggression or aggression towards kids we are talking about serious business. It’s one thing if a dog is aggressive towards other dogs or aggressive towards cats or adults or other such behavior problem. It’s another, though, when we are talking about aggression towards kids. The stakes are much higher and the risk is much greater.
Over the years I’ve met a lot of trainers who won’t deal with it. Their recommendation upon encountering a dog with kid aggression is to immediately recommend euthanasia. While I can definitely understand the fear of working with this type of problem we’ve been able to successfully help many dogs with this issue.
I’ve found the solution hinges on two main components:
1- High level obedience
2- Management techniques
Below this video I’ll explain what I mean about these two components.
Obedience training is one of the biggest things overlooked by most professional dog trainers. I’m constantly surprised by this fact. You would think most trainers would be anxious to work on obedience training with dogs that come through their doors.
But I find that most dog trainers, and dog owners look to go after the moments when the dog is being aggressive instead of working on the foundation the dog has. The wrong foundation or a lack of foundation is the reason why we see most aggression.
With child aggression the foundation that the dog is lacking is the inability to process stress. The lack of capacity to deal with a small little human who makes him or her feel stressed out.
The best way to start instilling that foundation is through solid obedience.
No, not the obedience that you already have.
I’ve heard it a million times.
“My dog IS obedient. He knows how to sit and lie down and come and etc., etc., etc.”
Digging deeper, though, we find that the dog isn’t obedience trained. He’ll listen to commands without distraction but, really, who cares about that?
We need our dogs to be obedient at a much higher level. With distractions. Off leash.
Once we get that level of obedience we have a dog who is calmer and under control. We have a relationship that is very deferential to YOUR leadership.
In addition to the required advanced obedience training we also need some very solid management.
If you’ve had a dog with child aggression issues you can’t put dog and child together with no supervision or boundaries and expect things to go well.
You’ve got to always be supervising.
You’ve got to work on things like down-stays when kids are around so that the dog can be calm in a corner of the room.
You’ve got to teach the children to leave the dog alone and not be a nuisance.
Are you dealing with aggression towards children? Follow these steps.