What is the best way to train a dog not to be aggressive towards other dogs?
Cesar Recommends It
Do you ever watch The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel? Cesar Milan has visited many dogs who tend to be agressive toward other dogs and/or people. Though some professional dog trainers criticize his "dog psychology" methods, I, for one, believe he knows what he's talking about. Below are the tips I've noticed Cesar gives to dog owners who have agressive dogs. Most of the time it is easier to control the situation when the dog is on a leash.
1) On the first sign of tension (your dog goes from a relaxed state to a tense, fixated state), correct the behavior immediately. Stop, and firmly tug on the leash or make your usual disciplinary action (a quick "no", or a firm touch to the dog's side). If your dog respects you as the "pack leader" and is used to following your commands, it should snap out of the tension right away.
2) Force the dog to sit and relax beside you. This will only happen if you have already diverted the dog's attention away from the object of fixation.
3) If the dog is still in a tense state, then you need to clearly show your dog who is "boss". I find that standing firmly and confidently directly in front of the dog and saying "no" gets its attention and reminds them that he/she looks up to you, not the other way around. "Blocking" the dog also shows you are controlling the situation and that it is not allowed to go forward any further.
4) Once the dog is relaxed, you can then keep walking. Make sure you don't lose sight of the his/her facial expression and body language. Some dogs will be quick to re-focus on the object that they got fixated on a moment before and get tense all over again. You need to stay calm and make sure that you show your dog that the situation does not bother you, so it shouldn't pay attention and just keep walking as well.
5) Lastly, Cesar always stresses the importance of excercise. If you have a particularly energetic and active dog, letting it out in the backyard for potty breaks isn't gonna cut it. The dog should be walked daily for at least 30 minutes. This activity is rewarding to them and reinforces your place as the "pack leader" (assuming your dog walks calmy beside you, not pulling and tugging in front of you!). When a dog does not get enough exercise, or does not have a leader to follow, it may get frustrated and will sometimes release the pent up energy by being aggressive. This is unhealthy dominant behavior and must be corrected immediately.
- Dog Treats, Chews, and More
Let your dog release some nervous energy by giving him some rawhide chews that will keep him entertained for hours!