Posted on September 6, 2016
Set Up For Success
Meet Koda, this 4 year old little fireball is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua
mix adopted 6 months ago.
Koda's family, 2 parents and 2 teenage daughters, had already seen
Koda bite several people before calling Zen Dog Training for help.
The bites were not severe however his biting was definitely a problem
that needed fixing! Even worse, a majority of the bites were
happening to friends and visitors inside their own home.
We immediately got to work on setting up the right home environment
for Koda’s success. Management tools are absolutely essential when
creating a training plan for a dog with aggression issues.
A few important training tools:
- 6’ Drag Line (indoor leash that drag’s behind your dog)
- Tethers (tying your dog to the couch, radiator, etc...)
We recommended using a drag line, a leash that drags behind Koda
when visitors or friends are in the house. Koda’s family learned how to interrupt his inclination to nip and bite by ALWAYS keeping a leash attached to his
collar INSIDE the house.
Quickly they realized how useful the drag line was, especially when
he tried to nip at us during the visit. Having him on the leash inside
the house, allowed Koda’s owners to immediately remove him when
he got nervous and gave them more time to interrupt aggressive
We also suggested that Koda be tethered to the couch or kitchen
table during higher stress times like when someone rang the doorbell,
or was entering the house.
Tethering should only be used when someone is home!
An ideal time would be when visitors arrive, or when kids and their friends play
inside. Using the tether allowed Koda’s people and friends to have the
freedom to safely move around the house, while simultaneously
managing and restricting his movement.
Finally, treats are important tool in these situations since Koda was
fearful, and nervous when new people enter the house.
Giving Koda treats when visitors arrived (a counter-conditioning
technique) encourages relaxed body language. Treats plus gentle
persistence, can help him understand that new people in the home
are welcome are not a threat.
Training Koda not to bark or bite visitors can only be achieved with
the right tools and environment. Training needs to happen in
situations where everyone is safe and relaxed. Now that the right
environment was in place we could start working on actually changing
his reactive tendencies.
To learn more about Management Tools, and other solutions for
having a reactive dog, check out Zen Dog Training Online.