Petey: Child Aggression Case Study in Dog Training
Aggression is a serious and often scary issue for dog owners. The last thing anyone wants to hear about their dog is how they bit the neighborhood dog, or the visiting in-law, or, heaven forbid, a small child in the park.
As a professional San Diego dog trainer for many years, I have gotten a lot of aggressive cases with specific triggers. I got the dogs that are aggressive toward men, toward big dogs, smaller dogs, and even toward children! Aggression is an issue that should never go unchecked, but when it comes to human aggression, especially child aggression, it is time to do something quick! People don’t want to hear about their dog biting someone, because what follows after that might be something even more tragic, such as a quarantined dog, or a dog sentenced to euthanasia.
My most recent aggression case was a dog named Petey, who was experiencing severe fear issues when it came to children. Petey’s owner was at a loss and had NO idea why her dog was so afraid and angry toward kids. Whatever the cause may or may not be, it was imperative that we helped Petey become more confident in himself, and more responsive to his owner’s commands and leadership.
While no dog should ever bite or growl at any child, I always make sure that every dog owner I meet understands the etiquette of greeting and training a dog. Especially when it comes to greetings, I strngly encourage all dog owners who are also parents, to pass on this valuable information to their children. Many biting or aggression-related incidents are situations that could have been avoided. For our dog and our children’s safety, it is crucial to teach appropriate behaviors for both parties. Dogs should not bite a child (or anyone for that matter), but children should also know not to run up to an unfamiliar dog. A dog should know not to jump and knock over a small child, but a child should also learn not to pull on a dog’s ears. Like us adults, a child should learn about body language when it comes to dogs, and their own body language can great affect a dog’s response. With proper education and consistent training, a dog can learn that aggression is not an option, but a child can also learn how to avoid creating negative associations for the dog and keeping themselves safe.
With Petey, he does not live with any children, but his neighborhood is packed with them. Through a solid structure of obedience and focus, we are showing Petey how to trust himself, his owner, and eventually learning to trust the kids in his neighborhood. His owner is also making the effort to teach the kids on the block how to avoid any problems with Petey, so that success can be achieved and he can soon be the friendly neighborhood dog!
Do not let any type of aggression ruin your dog’s life, and potentially endanger yourself or others! Call 800-649-7297 to sign your dog up for my aggression training program. Aggression is serious, but change is STILL possible for your dog!