I always focus on my dog's emotions and stress levels in a situation. I teach Pip to make good choices when she's stressed and teach her healthy coping mechanisms such as being able to look at and look away from the things that used to trigger her into an aggressive display (barking and lunging). I teach her she should sniff the ground when feeling mildly stressed instead of fixating on her triggers until she reacts.
In the above video, which is from April 2016, I'm teaching her that she has the choice to move away, ask for space, and you can actually see that this has carried over to so much of her other training as well. Her behavior issue of biting me after walks is completely gone and I can safely take off her harness after walks without risk of a bite. And... Pip went to a picnic!
These two videos above are of Pip at a picnic which are very recent (June 2016)! She did amazing and was comfortable and quiet. I could not have done in a few months ago and she would have been panic-barking at everyone without all of the work I've made on teaching her how to cope with stress, make good choices, and trust me.
What helped her a lot was Otis being there. Otis is the black and white dog. He's a chow-dalmatian mix and is, believe it or not, ten years old. He's my dad's dog, but I was the one who trained him, so I often say my dog when referring to him. Otis used to be incredibly dog- and human-aggressive, but you can see from the videos how Otis is always welcome at picnics and parades now. I used the same training I used for Pip (teaching to make good choices and stay relaxed). I used all positive methods and did not introduce punishments in any part of the behavior modification.
I can't wait until Pip is able to be chill like Otis. Her temperament underneath her nervousness is actually a lot better than Otis's anxious one so I believe she'll eventually be confident enough to trial.
|Otis sniffing Pip calmly. It's very important to me that my dogs are able to|
show calm interest in other dogs instead of being aggressive or too excited.
|Otis walking away after sniffing while Pip shows interest in a person.|
|Otis is probably the most photogenic dog ever. Show him a camera, he models.|
|In comparison, Pip really has to work on her modelling skills.|