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Remote Collar Level Setting Question

Remote Collar Level Setting Question

When we use remote collars, we train with low level stimulation. We have produced 3 different videos on how to train with remote collars. Remote collars are probably the most effective training tools ever introduced to dog training. They are also the most abused tool in dog training. Setting the level that you train with is key to effectively utilizing this tool. This question and answer is from a customer who is having some issues setting the levels with his dog.

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Question: We recently took in a foster dog and my dog has become aggressive. Why has my dog changed all of a sudden?

I adopted an 8 month old0 Pitt/Vizla mix from the humane society 4 months ago. She was an extremely great pet. Very loving, we could poke at her paws, ears and mouth. She loves to play with other dogs. This past week I began fostering a 10 month American Bulldog that she had previously played with. He is also a loving secure dog. Since the foster has come into our lives - my dog has become aggressive to my husband and myself. She won't let us look at her paws or rub her belly. She begins to low growl and then snap at us. She has been in training since I got her since she is a somewhat frightened dog. I'm at a loss, I don't want to lose her, and am willing to find a new home for the foster (we were planning on adopting him). Why has she changed all of a sudden?

Ed's Response:

There are many reasons that a dog can become aggressive:

Coming into maturity and wanting to establish a higher rank
Jealousy, etc.

None of that really matters at the moment. What’s important it making the decision to fix the problem or to give the dog up.

Frankly this dog is the way it is because you have allowed it  to display bad behavior without doing anything about it. So the problem falls to your shoulders. I don’t want to offend but I also won't sweet talk the issue.

In my opinion the solution needs to start with three things all at the same time:

1 - The dog should begin to go through a pack structure program. I did a DVD on this, Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet

2 - The dog must quickly learn that aggression to you results in unacceptable consequences. This is accomplished through the use of a dominant dog collar and a very good leather leash.  I did a DVD on this too, Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs.

3 - While both of the above things are happening you should be showing your dog that you can be an interesting, fun, and consistent pack leader. This is done through MARKER TRAINING.  

Marker training is simply a motivational training method to teach a dog a language that allows the handler to communicate with their dog. In the beginning markers are used to teach behaviors (come – sit – down, etc.). With experience, it will be used in the daily life of living with your dog.

So the first two points establish yourself as a leader, the third shows the dog that there is a fun and interesting side to you.

As far as this new dog goes, in my opinion, all of these problems are a result of the mistakes you made in how you introduced these dogs. Don’t feel bad, most inexperienced dog owners make the same mistakes. I wrote an article titled How to Introduce a New Dog into a Home with Other Dogs.

Good luck and I hope I didn’t offend you.

Ed Frawley

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Dog Aggression.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

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