Dog owners make a lot of mistakes when they first get a new puppy. In this week’s video, I break down my science-backed perspective on six things I would do as a dog trainer if I were raising a puppy to avoid aggression.
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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.
I’m a professional dog trainer and if i Was going to raise a puppy to avoid Aggression and reactivity in the future These are the things i would do 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 on this Channel we break down scientific Research in order to inform us on how to Train dogs so if you’re interested in Training dogs in a nerdier way consider Subscribing here are six things i would Do if i was raising a puppy to avoid Aggression and reactivity in the future Now of course aggression has a genetic Component and even if you did all six of These things your puppy could still end Up demonstrating aggression in the Future through no fault of your own but I think it’s important you still Implement these six things not because It’s a lost cause and because your puppy Will have aggression regardless but Because the point is to stack the deck In your favor despite jeans dogs can Learn dogs can make healthy choices Despite what their dna coding suggests And it’s important that we are doing These six things to stack the deck in Our favor to ensure that to the best of Our capability our dog does not Demonstrate aggression towards us in the
Future number one if i was raising a Puppy between the ages of 8 weeks and About 16 weeks i would make sure i Learned everything about that puppy’s Breed and specifically what their breeds Natures are so if you have a mix for Example you’re still going to want to Get a dna sample on that dog to make Sure that you know what breeds lie Within him and you are understanding how That breed operates there are indeed Certain breeds that were designed as Guardians and therefore they’re more Inclined to protect things or you might Have certain breeds that are more Inclined to grab bite and shake right And so those dogs are going to be more Inclined to use their teeth to Accomplish things and it’s not that These dogs are inherently more Aggressive and that they’re more likely To be dangerous it’s that you want to Know what breed components are Artificially selected within your dog That may influence whether or not he Demonstrates what we would deem Dangerous or aggressive behavior while Also doing the research on your dog’s Breed to find out what their natural Inclination is for aggression or Protective instincts you also want to Find out if they are more sociable with Certain individuals perhaps they’re more Sociable with dogs or they’re more
Standoffish with other dogs perhaps They’re more sociable with small animals Or perhaps they’re more predatory Against small animals similarly to Humans perhaps your dogs from a brie Component more inclined to be around Humans or perhaps they’re not if you Have a more what we would call natural Dog or nature dog they might appear more Standoffish and less inclined to be Around people and crowds and it’s Important that we’re taking into account What our dog’s dna is telling him to be And it’s not that we’re trying to combat That or go against it necessarily but it Knows where we need to spend most of our Attention and this leads me into the Second step the second piece of advice That i have for you which is quality Socialization based on what we think Your dog’s dna is suggesting so for Example if your dog is hardwired to be More friendly with a bunch of people and You see naturally in those early ages Eight weeks nine weeks ten weeks that he Enjoys being around people well perhaps You’re not necessarily spending all of Your time getting people to interact With him perhaps you might spend a Little bit more time focusing on getting Him to interact with other dogs to build Those relationships to get him more Familiar with textures in the world and When we talk about socialization guys
We’re not just saying people and dogs We’re actually talking about how that Puppy interacts in everything in the World including textures of course i Have a science explained on Socialization and you can check that Video out next if you’re interested so i Won’t deep dive too much into how Socialization operates but the point of This particular step is to focus on Quality socialization i really steer Guardians away from thinking in terms of Quantity of like i have to get 15 people To touch my puppy today or i have to get 100 people to touch my puppy in the next Hundred days or i have to get you know My dog playing with 18 new dogs every Single week don’t necessarily think About the quantity of the interactions Focus on the quality of those Interactions what is your dog learning What is your dog taking away and if You’re noticing that your dog is more Shy or sensitive or is more quick to Dislike a certain interaction don’t Necessarily mean that that means your Dog is going to lean towards towards Aggression or that it’s going to Escalate necessarily any minute now Instead focus on okay my dog’s Perception of this is that it has a Negative association it’s bad it’s scary It’s not fun whatever it is how can i Find a way to make this interaction
Positive how can i change his Association with this stimulus or Individual now if you have a puppy and You’re focusing primarily on avoiding Reactivity avoiding aggression avoiding Some of these behavioral issues that Does not mean give your dog more Obedience my friends even when we are Working with dogs that are facing Behavioral issues aggression reactivity We are hardly ever focusing on obedience In those situations and in fact Obedience at that point is a nice to Have not a need to have and so in these Early early stages of raising your puppy In these early stages of really shaping And molding their personalities and Their likes and dislikes i don’t want You to focus on teaching your dog sit Down stay calm and the reason is because Those basic skills can be taught at any Point in your dog’s life those skills Can be acquired at any time whereas in These first 16 weeks or so sometimes Less of your dog’s life he is forming So much of his identity in these early Stages he is forming so much of what he Likes and doesn’t like and what he’s Interested in and what he wants to Partake and how he thinks and how he Creates associations he is learning so Much in this stage that you really want To exacerbate its benefits you really Want to give him as much opportunity to
Build associations to think critically And that does not require obedience Putting your dog in a sit doesn’t take Much thought from your dog especially Because most dogs offer it as an organic Behavior the reason you might put your Dog in a puppy class a more like basic Skills puppy 101 class is because of the Socialization component not because of The cool Down stay that you’re gonna learn that Is so minimal when it comes to what you Really should be focusing on and the Other thing is is that if you do want to Teach your dog sit down stay calm in These early stages then you actually Want to be prioritizing how you’re Teaching it in the same way that when Kids go to school they’re learning to Write a thesis not because they need to Know all of the ins and outs of what Makes a sentence but because they need To be able to make an argument right When you take your kid to school to Learn math it’s not because they need to Figure out what two times two is instead They’re learning problem solving skills Right so focus less on the actual Material and like what your dog is Actually doing and focus more on the Journey to get to that point because it Is the life skill that those obedience Behaviors are going to instill in your Dog that is more important than
Literally did he put his butt to the Ground that is so minimal in comparison Especially because as i said that’s Something that you can teach your dog to Do you can teach a dog to put his butt On the floor at any age at any point Assuming it’s a healthy dog the one Skill i absolutely do think you should Teach your dog is a process called Counter conditioning and desensitization Now counting conditioning and Desensitization are typically used for Reactivity and aggression cases that’s Usually where that skill comes into play Is once the dog is already demonstrating It but i actually promote that you teach This life skill to your puppy before They actually need it this is about Being proactive instead of reactive to The problem right if you can teach your Dog a skill before they actually need it Then when if they do end up needing it You already have that skill instilled And you just jump into the Implementation stage right you don’t Actually have to teach anything so Counting conditioning and Desensitization is a process in which we Take an association that a dog already Has switch it to a different association And then also attach a new behavior so Here’s how this might look realistically If your puppy has a negative association With
The crate you would first create Positive associations with the crate by Giving the dog things that he likes in The crate he likes kong full of peanut Butter he likes his toy he likes his Whatever you first create that really Really really positive association in The crate then once that association is Established then you focus on okay what Behavior do we do in the crates now that We have our puppy enjoying the thing What behavior should they do when They’re around the thing well in the Case of the crate they might lay and go To sleep they may rest on their pillow And sniff things in the air it’s a more Calm behavior similarly with people Right if we think about doing counter Conditioning with a person our first Tactic is give that puppy a really Positive association with this person How can we make sure that the puppy Really likes this person then once we See that that positive association is Occurring what behavior should we have Our puppy do around this person what you Do not want to do is jump to the Behavior stage when the puppy has the Incorrect association formed so for Example if you’re trying to jump into Interacting with people and your puppy Is demonstrating sensitivity caution Fear Anger is demonstrating a negative
Association which is not the association You want if that’s the case then you Would not jump to the behavior component Of it you would not put your dog in a Sit you would not worry about having Your dog actually meet the person why Because your dog is working off the Wrong association you’re building a Block on top of something that is not The right association so instead we need To get that foundation where we want it Which is a positive thing we get that Association built and we work off of That alternatively you might actually Just want to desensitize a stimulus so Perhaps your puppy has a positive Association with the person your puppy Has a really positive association with The whatever but it’s too exciting it’s Too positive your puppy is losing her Mind over how much she likes this thing And you just want to simmer that Positivity a little bit you want to Desensitize it the way that we would do This is by Giving your puppy a little bit of Exposure to the stimulus at a mild rate This is the process of desensitization Again another life skill that you and Your puppy should absolutely master Desensitization you can think of this in Terms of exposure therapy the only thing Is is that it’s only effective it only Really works well the way you want it to
If it starts off at a mild rate so Here’s the wrong way to do Desensitization we’re going to put our Puppy against a person have them be Bouncing off the wall put them in a sit And have them just be like a volcano Waiting to erupt waiting for them to Burst right that is not the way we do Desensitization because they’re already Bouncing off the walls they’re already Living at that tent or perhaps if we Think of this in terms of a human Interaction if you are afraid of spiders Desensitization does not work by me just Putting a spider on top of your head and Say get used to it That would be inappropriate why because Your association with that spider is so Averse your association with that Fighter is so extreme that you’re not in A healthy state to be desensitized but If we took that spider and put it way Way way way way away from you 20 feet 50 Feet 100 feet 300 feet away from you Where you were confident that that Spider couldn’t get you in immediate Danger then we could mildly expose you To that spider and increase the Difficulty over time it’s the same Principle for your dog if you want to Desensitize something don’t put your Puppy in the middle of the pandemonium Don’t put your puppy in the middle of That excitement whether it’s good or bad
Don’t put your puppy in that state where The emotion is so overwhelming instead Separate the two far enough decrease That difficulty enough so that you’re Operating at just a slight exposure just Slightly around the stimulus and then You can build the duration builds the Distance build the Interaction over time and gradually and This leads me into another life skill That i absolutely recommend you teach Your puppy which is something we call Impulse control now impulse control is When a individual really really really Wants something but they’re willing to Hold off and not take that something in The expectation that if they wait they Get something better instead and that Really is the key component impulse Control relies on the individual getting Something better If they choose to wait as opposed to Responding to their impulse right what i See a lot of times with puppies is People will have their puppy in a sit But then the payoff is comparable to What they would have gotten if they just Bolted across the stay and gotten Whatever they wanted so for example with A weight if you put your puppy in a sit Stay and then put a treat on the floor And then they get it and then they run Up and get the treat that is not Teaching impulse control why because the
Payoff is comparable to what they would Have gotten if they had just raced for The treat in the first place the only Benefit to waiting was that they didn’t Have to listen to your scolding but that Wasn’t much of a benefit really not in Comparison really the benefit is one is Less scary than the other that’s not the Kind of relationship we want to have With our dog instead we want to show Them that okay i see that you really Really want this thing and i get that But if you ignore that thing i’ll give You something more valuable something You love more If you wait that is treating impulse Control impulse control has a way of Increasing adrenaline increasing the Arousal increasing the excitement and Asking them to harness that excitement Again this goes back to what we were Talking about with life skills it’s not About can you put your dog in a sit stay It’s not about can you put your dog in a Down it’s not about can you give your Dog a bunch of treats when he’s at the Park that’s not what it’s about instead You’re instilling critical thinking You’re instilling life skills into your Puppy and so what this might look like Is you are giving your dog puzzles food Puzzles or even just not even food Puzzles but toy hunts where they have to Look for something and think critically
Maybe they have to swat over boxes to Get to stuff they have to push things With their noses they have to really Hunt and put their nose on the floor and Sniff you’re giving them opportunity to Think about what they’re doing despite The fact that they’re in a state of Excitement and hopefully it’s a positive Excitement right despite the fact that They’ve got adrenaline pumping through Them despite the fact that they are Stimulated and aroused and like oh my God something’s happening they’re still Thinking logically they’re still Operating in their prefrontal cortex up Here in the front they’re not responding Too much with those like ancient parts Of the brain which are more compulsive Or emotional sometimes right we really Want them thinking in the front and this Is a nice segue to the next thing i Would do if i was raising a puppy to Avoid reactivity and aggression is that I would give my puppy the right Enrichment not just any old enrichment Not just like take my dog out for a Fetch because that’s what the book told Me to do not just take my dog for a walk Because that’s what the book told me to Do but i would be looking at what my dog Tells me what my puppy tells me she Needs i would be looking at what her Breed tells me she needs does her breed Need more hunting more sniffing
Opportunity does her breed need more Listening and observing and studying and More pause something that can be really Detrimental to a puppy’s enrichment is If you’re always thinking that you have To go go go that enrichment is only About exercise enrichment is only about Cardio enrichment is always about you Know getting that heart rate pumping That’s not true guys enrichment is so Much more than just like how much cardio Can you give a dog instead it’s also About how are they existing in alignment With what their needs are that is Enrichment how are they having the Opportunity to exist as deemed by what Their internal experience their neurons Their dna their internal experience says They require that is enrichment so you Might be thinking about how they eat how They sleep how they drink how they use The bathroom how they interact what Their social skills are those are all Components of enrichment if you enjoyed This video do me a favor give it a Thumbs up it’d be super helpful consider Subscribing and hitting the notification Bell so you get notified when i drop a New video make sure to check out these Next two videos and i’ll see you guys Next week