This owner's request involves a question I'm sure some of you have already wondered about: Is there a dog aggression problem that cannot be resolved with training? Just as you're beginning to give up, professional dog trainer Adam G. Katz's answer can hopefully shed some light to some of your concerns.

Dog Aggression and Genetics…

By Adam G. Katz

Dear Adam:

I know you probably get a ton of e-mails from people needing help but I hope you have time for this because I have tried to follow the videos and information as closely as possible to not ask a question you have already answered.

[ To read more about the videos he’s referring to, please see: The Secrets Book ]

I have been working with my girlfriends 30lb mix bread female dog (2 1/2 years old) for about 4 months now. Gabby has problems with aggression towards people and other dogs. She can one minute be fine with a person and the next minute go crazy snarling and biting ( but she has never actually got a hold of anyone).

The dog fights are the same one minute fine the next attacking but never really drawn blood. Some of these incidents might be attributed to situational things like food or toys but put in the same situation 10 times - the reaction may only happen 1 out of 10 and sometimes the reaction happens with nothing causing it that I can tell. There is plenty more as far as detail into these events that I can go into if you need it.

We have seen improvement since starting Gabby on the loose leash training and the down stay training. The structured discipline has helped as well as setting the tone for who is in charge. But sometimes I just feel like she is totally void of knowing what is going on - it's like a switch is flipped and no amount of correction can bring her out. In addition she never seems to relax - almost like she is always afraid or needs to know everything going on - hence we hardly ever get to relax.

Like I said I am seeing improvement but it is slow going 4 months now of strict discipline is wearing on everyone and the results aren't exactly as good as I hoped. I totally believe in your training methods - I'm not questioning that - but my question for you - is it possible to have a dog that can't be trained out of aggression or does it just take a really long time?

Thank you for any and all suggestions you might have.


Dear Phil:

Thank you for the e-mail.

First, I get the impression that you’re letting this dog interact and play with other dogs. This is a big “no-no.”

As for your question about aggression: With some dogs, aggression can be controlled but never eliminated. A lot also has to do with the temperament mix of owner and dog.

But there are always triggers.

For a dog like you’ve described, I would recommend using an electronic remote collar. The correction can be matched exactly to the dog’s temperament, you don’t need to be at all physical with the dog, and the texture/sensation of the correction tends to be more “strange” feeling to the dog—which creates a “break in her state.” However, since it’s an aggression issue—and sounds like a pretty serious one—I’m going to recommend that you work with a professional instead of trying to use the e-collar by yourself, as there is a greater possibility that you may be misreading the situation. (And I can’t tell by e-mail). So, I’d prefer
to error on the safe side and recommend professional supervision.

Although it may take some searching to find someone who is competent.

Just remember: As long as the options for the dog are clear, the dog will not continue to do a behavior that has a negative association linked to it. When you teach her that it’s a lot easier to stay calm and get the praise than it is to be aggressive and receive a negative association—you’re on the path to recovery.

As for her never feeling relaxed: This is one of the problems with adopting a mix-breed from unknown genetic stock and unknown puppy imprinting. If she has poor nerves, you can use the obedience exercises to make her more tranquil, but you’ll never overcome her genetics.

That's all for now, folks!

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Adam G. Katz warns : Do Not Attempt To Train Your Dog, Or Even Think About Hiring A Dog Trainer Until You Read this Dog Trainer Web Page!

Tip: Would you like to have this dog trainer solve your biggest dog problem once and for all? It's easy! Order his book, Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer, and get free consultation! You can get the details at the Dog Trainers Web Page.






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