When you have an aggressive dog, there are numerous reasons why their behavior is not improving. If you are struggling to help fix your dog’s aggression, this video will break down the top 10 reasons why your aggressive dog isn’t getting better using science-backed research.
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Disclaimers: Jenna Romano is not a veterinarian. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog any food. Use of this information is strictly at your own risk. Jenna Romano will not assume any liability for direct or indirect losses or damages that may result from the use of information contained in this video including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death to you or your dog. This video is not instructional. This video is for entertainment purposes only.
Here are 10 things that you could be Doing wrong that are actually causing Your dog to continue his aggression not End it let’s get into it [Music] What’s up guys it’s Jenna with dog Liaison where I coach you on how to Enhance your dog’s mental health I’m a Professional dog trainer at this point In my career I work exclusively with Dogs facing behavioral issues including Aggression reactivity and other anxiety Related Disorders here are 10 things That you might be doing that’s actually Causing your dog to continue his Aggression and not end it now you might Not be doing all 10 of these things I Suspect you’re not doing all 10 of them But you could be doing a good handful of Them and here’s your opportunity to Change that let’s get into it the first Reason your dog might be continuing his Aggression is that you are fighting Violence with violence now yes your dog Is demonstrating aggression and maybe That’s against you maybe that’s against Another individual he is demonstrating The fight response right he is utilizing His growlies utilizing his teeth Utilizing his body in a very physical Violent way and that is concerning but If you jump in or if another individual Jumps in and just uses their body to Commit more violence you are not helping
The situation one individual fighting Another individual just means that There’s more fighting occurring and as The guardian as the human in this Situation it is incumbent upon you to Know that when your dog is demonstrating Violence against you you have to have The self-control the self-awareness to Say I’m not going to commit violence Back I’m going to defend myself yes I’m Going to protect myself and the other Individual who’s the victim here yes I’m Going to end this situation but we are Not going to commit more anger we’re not Going to commit more violence against The other now if at this point you’re Going well what should I be doing I know I hear you I’m getting to that in two Through ten let’s go the second reason Your dog might be demonstrating Aggression towards you is that you’re Not taking into account the emotion Behind the Behavior now as just like a Fundamental physical level your dog is Experiencing fear the bodily response Which is fight flight or freeze but if We put that off to the side for the Second and we just pretend adrenaline Doesn’t exist for a moment we’d be Thinking about the emotion perhaps your Dog is demonstrating fear the emotion Demonstrating anger demonstrating alarm Concern he is displaying this aggression As a way to protect his body and his
Resources and his existence in some Capacity and it’s important that we Acknowledge that from his perspective What he’s really saying is that this Aggression makes sense that given the Context given the circumstances that he Finds himself in aggression makes sense You have to acknowledge that perspective In the same way that if you want to Build a better relationship with someone Else and you want to you know have a Better therapeutic experience with Another individual who’s harmed you or Hurt you either emotionally or Physically you have to understand the Perspective you have to have that Perspective shift and that is the second Skill that you need to acquire to be Able to prevent your dog’s aggression in The future is you need to be able to Understand what emotional state what Perspective your dog has of that Situation that he finds himself needing To resort to aggressive displays this Leads me to my the third reason that Your dog’s aggression is not improving And that is that you are not worried About what’s causing the aggression You’re merely responding to the Aggressive display listen in the same Way that when an outburst happens from a Person and they punch another person or They attack another person physically it To them is Justified because there’s a
Cause there’s an inciting incident that Occurred that the aggression the Violence was the result of right it’s The same for the dogs your dog’s Aggression whether he’s growling or he’s Lunching or he’s biting towards whatever Stimulus had an inciting incident it had A reason for its display it didn’t just Come out of nowhere and if you can Address the reason for the display then The display can be treated right and the Display can be either avoided altogether At the very least put in a better Avenue Put in a healthier way and so you have To be addressing the cause of the Aggression not the aggressive display Itself the fourth reason why your dog May be demonstrating aggression still is That you are responding retroactively You are not responding proactively and This means that your dog is Demonstrating the aggressive display and Then you react and then you criticize You say no you pull on the collar you Respond after the event has occurred Instead of responding proactively and Preventing the aggression in the first Place when you respond proactively and You prevent the event then you’re not Necessarily stuck in this state of bad Communication when the dog is already Displayed aggression again if we could Take this back to our relationships with People or relationships with any
Individuals for that matter if there has Been a display of violence then that is Not the right time to sit down and all Sit and talk and analyze like hey what Happened what’s going on it’s not Immediately after why because the Individual who has displayed the Aggression is in such a state of fight Flight or freezes and such a adrenaline Cortisol dopamine rice that this is just Not the right healthy time to have a Conversation with your dog it’s just not And so what we actually want to be doing Is having that dialogue having that Communication before they get to the Point that aggression is displayed Before they get to the point that they Even feel aggression is required or Makes sense for the situation we want to Be proactive and this is a nice segue Into the next reason why your dog is Still displaying aggression which is That you’re paying more attention to the Actual aggressive behavior the lunge the Bark the bite the growl the whatever You’re actually paying more attention to The overt aggressive display than the Preceding stress signals the preceding Behavior if I’m working with a dog I Understand what a dog looks like when They bite I know what a dog looks like When he growls I don’t have to have much Education in anything to know what a dog Looks like when they’re attacking okay
So reality is that behavior is not very Important you know even from like of an Evolutionary perspective if people are Hardwired to recognize when a dog is Displaying aggression towards them in a Dangerous manner right so in the grand Scheme of things that behavior is not Important what is more important is These subtle Behavior occurring before The aggression starts what is more Important is what are these subtle Stress signals that the dog is Displaying before they start to display That overt aggression are they turning Their head and giving away a lie and Looking off to the side are they pulling Their cheeks out and really like putting Tension in their cheeks are they licking Their lips are they stiff staring and Holding a lot of tension in their Shoulders what is their tail doing is it Holding is it curled over is it straight All of these more my new behaviors are The behaviors that as a professional We Care far more about and if I’m having a Conversation with a client I’m going to Be asking them about what they see Leading up to the event not what does it Look like when he’s attacking you Because that doesn’t tell me very much Information again this goes back to Being proactive instead of reactive the Next reason why your dog’s aggression May be continuing is that it is the
Cause is to be talking about the cause Of the aggression has more to do with a Physical condition which is to say your Dog needs to go to the vet now Professionally I can tell you as an Ethical trainer anyone who is regardless Of what techniques they use regardless Of what style they’re using if they’re Not telling you you have to go to the Vet before they’ll work with you they’re Not the right trainer for you like That’s just like red flag and the reason Is because so much aggression can be as A result of some sort of physical Condition or physical concern primarily Of course pain right any individual who Is in pain is already going to be more Irritable even if it’s just like a Headache we know we get more irritable And more snarky but especially if it’s a More chronic issue or more long-term Issue that is absolutely going to be a Reason for more aggressive or angry or Fearful Behavior right take your dog to The vet and red flag if the trainer is Not telling you to take your to the vet That’s like the first red flag before I Work with any client they need to have Some sort of physical clearance within The last you know month before I’ll work With them the next reason why your dog Is not improving his aggression has to Do with the fact that you’re not doing a Process called counter conditioning and
Desensitization accounting conditioning And desensitization is based in science It’s based in what we would consider Therapy or therapeutic Solutions known As like classical conditioning operant Conditioning systematic desensitization It brings in ethology and neurobiology Into the process it’s really Understanding the mechanics of what Makes a dog a dog right and how dogs Function and on the most fundamental Levels not necessarily on the more like Higher order thinking capacities but on Those really like fundamental lower Order capacities that transcend species That are not just unique to the canine But transcend across the vast majority Of species that exist Auburn Conditioning classical conditioning and I know right now you’re thinking Yourself geez you feel lot of words out There I get it let’s simplify this right Classical conditioning is the process of Changing the association of something And then offering a behavior suggesting A behavior of what that individual Should do when a stimulus arrives so if Your dog has a negative association of Their trigger right now and that’s What’s causing them to have this Dangerous display this aggressive Display we need to change that Association to something that tells them Their body specifically that they are
Safe we need to change that Association By classical conditioning and we need to Tell the body you are safe there’s no Reason for you to go into fight flight Or freeze there’s no reason for you to Feel like you need to arm and defend Yourself you are safe everything is fine Once the body knows it’s safe then we Tell the brain hey what should we be Doing right now like what actual Behavior what makes sense for this Context you know you’re safe so now what Right and that is where we would Consider operant conditioning comes into Play and this is the more thinking Component of it right this is the more Like we’re really incorporating that Prefrontal cortex into the equation and I know I’m getting a little nerdy on With you here uh if you’re still with me Thank you I can tell you right now my Entire channel is very nerdy so if this Is something if I’m speaking your Language right now you want to consider Subscribing because my entire channel is Dedicated to this more nerdy approach But to simplify things if you’re doing Kind of conditioning and desensitization You’re changing the association you’re Giving your dog an alternative Behavior To do around that trigger and you’re Desensitizing you’re de-stimulizing the Event right so you’re taking something That is otherwise very exciting very
Arousing makes your dog very alert and On and we’re simmering that down we’re Bringing them down into a more like Neutral or indifferent or at the very Least peaceful and positive association With that event the other thing is is You might be able to identify what your Dog’s trigger is but you’re not able to Articulate the criteria of the trigger And this is something that I work with My clients a lot with there is a big Difference between between what a Trigger is and what the criteria of that Trigger is for example a trigger is People is dogs is me reaching and Getting the bull from their plate right And getting the food from their plate me Walking towards them the trigger is a Very specific thing right but the Criteria are all of the nuances all the Ins and outs that describe that trigger And you want to think of this as like The who what when where why you want to Think of this as all of the details if You were going to put this trigger and Describe it in a story and and basically Like capture it as a scene what are all Of the things that we would see in that Event what are all of the details we Would see in that movie if it was Playing out that is the criteria and When you’re thinking about criteria it’s Really important that you’re breaking it Down into smaller pieces once you know
The criteria once you have your nice Little scene and you’ve written it down Into a big giant paragraph and you can Articulate all the who what when we’re Wise of this event of this trigger then You gradually increase the criteria you Gradually incorporate more criteria you Don’t just pack all the criteria on in One event and say GO train go learn so If you’re if you’re doing that right now If you’re putting all of the criteria in One bucket and training you’re not Getting success it’s because you’re Doing too many criteria at once right And you need to be able to pick that Criteria apart methodically and Tackle Different pieces of the event one at a Time and then slowly incorporate them Together so that your dog is able to Follow along on this Learning Journey You’re not thrashing them into the big Triggering event and this kind of is Like a side piece of this is like we’re On step eight this is 8B we always want To train our dog sub threshold and what That means what threshold means is that It is a point which is in sort of an Arbitrary line at which the dog is no Longer able to respond and think Critically in the best capacity for Learning right at this point once a dog Is over threshold they are responding in That more ancient part of that brain They’re displaying that aggression
They’re lunging they’re working they’re Pulling they are not in a capacity for Learning so if we are training sub Threshold that is because we know all of The criteria that’s going to push our Dog over threshold we know exactly What’s what instigates our dog to go Over that line and we’re not going to do That we’re going to keep ourselves below That line so that our dog is able to Actually be successful and stay in that Thinking part of the brain the next Reason why your dog is not improving on His response to a trigger and he’s still Displaying that aggression is that you Are not tracking progress correctly Here’s what I mean by this a lot of Times when I’m talking to Guardians They’re like well he still lunges he Still barks he still does this and then If they’re going to talk about something That he did right he go well he didn’t Bark he didn’t lunge he didn’t do this He didn’t do that and the problem with Measuring it in that like he did or he Didn’t state is that it’s very black and White and progress is not black and White right progress is not linear it’s Not either or it’s he did this and that It’s very gray it lives in that gray Area and so when you’re tracking Progress you actually want to be very Specific about what your progress Actually is and you’re actually looking
At over a period of time not like last Week he was barking and this week he Isn’t you might be looking at it more Statistically for example if a dog Encounters his trigger 10 times and six Of those times he displays a safe Behavior he displays what you want in That situation then he has a 60 success Rate which is beautiful right you Wouldn’t necessarily want to be just 100 Successful right out of the gate your Dog is in therapy your dog is in Recovery your dog is in the process of Changing his behavioral responses to a Stimulus that’s not something that’s Just going to change overnight it’s not Just like tomorrow he’s never going to Aggress towards it again we have to Anticipate that yeah he’s gonna make a Couple mistakes along the way and it’s Not going to be 100 success so for that 40 percent where he fails or for that Forty percent where it’s not good we Need to make sure that we’re Implementing enough management so that That failure is not dangerous that Failure is not yielding harm and injury The next reason why your dog might be Still displaying aggression is that you Were focusing on the wrong enrichment a Lot of times what I see with aggressive Dogs is that we focus on giving them More exercise and cardio is beautiful Cardio is required and there are
Certainly many dogs that are not getting The cardio that they desire or that they Need for that matter and so I don’t want To like discount cardio I just want to Say that cardio is not the solution to Everything longer walks is not the Solution to everything getting the heart Rate more and tossing the ball more Often is not the solution and if you are Trying to treat your dog’s aggression With just like more endurance more Running more going to Tire him out what You’re really doing is you’re just Establishing an athlete you’re just Getting your dog to become conditioned To more exercise because our bodies are Really good recognizing when we’re Expending more resources and when it Needs to streamline that process become Conditioned to it to habituate it you’re Not tying your dog out you’re actually Making it harder for you to tie your dog Out so instead of focusing on exercise You actually want to be thinking on okay Enrichment holistically what are all of The things that make my dog a dog that’s What enrichment means and you want to be Thinking about how can we stimulate his Brain how can we feed some of his needs That don’t actually mean that we have to Go out into the Heat and walk him three Miles or that we don’t actually have to Throw the ball a whole bunch enrichment Doesn’t require a heart rate to be
Racing enrichment does not always Require a bunch of adrenaline enrichment Does not even always require a bunch of Cortisol right it doesn’t have to be This Rush of excitement enrichment is Very happy living in its serotonin Living in its oxytocin world and so we Have to be okay with giving our dog Enough opportunity to just think Peacefully and this is what I mean by Giving your dog the right enrichment if You don’t already you know your dog’s Breeds and you don’t already know what Those breeds require oh my gosh please Do the Google search please please Please please please please please Please please please please understand Who your dog is and how he’s operating Because it’ll change it’ll absolutely Revolutionize the way that you perform Enrichment now I do have a video on how To provide your dog’s enrichment and I Go deep dive into it that’s that video Right here if you’re interested you can Click on that if you enjoyed this video Hit like consider subscribing and hit The notification Bell so you get Notified when I drop a new video and I’ll see you guys next week