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Categories: Dog Aggression

Q. When our Rottweiler gets excited if we try to correct him he becomes aggressive, is there a way to prevent him from escalating to aggression?

I'm new to your Facebook but love it!
We have always had dogs and rescued many as well (of course they end up staying with us for the rest of their lives). We've rescued aggressive dogs scheduled for euthanasia however I am now faced with a tricky one that I'm not sure how to correct.

Jack is a 1.5 year old rottweiler that was abandoned as a puppy. He is our 5th rottie, therefore we do have some experience with the breed (my favorite). He is the most loving boy however he challenges aggression with aggression. We have learned to make him do learned commands (sit, down, heel, etc) to remind him and that seems to work... however when there is excitement or when he gets going or when the others have a toy he wants he literally is out of control, biting at the closest thing near him whether that is furniture, your arm, etc. Upon being corrected he shows his teeth and becomes defensive. Any time of manual control makes the situation worse which is why the sit down heel process works.

Is there a way to prevent the escalation or stopping him? Nothing stops him, yelling, snapping his lead, etc he seems to feel absolutely nothing. For example when going outside, or for a hike etc he is constantly charging and knocking over dogs, humans etc... it literally is smash up derby... I just recently had my cast removed...

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you

A. A lot of dogs become overstimulated and when physical means are made to get control they have a knee jerk reaction of lashing out. This can be incredibly dangerous for bystanders or other dogs... The key to fixing this is to interrupt the behavior at the slightest hint... tensing of the body, ears forward, etc... if you wait until he's showing a big reaction it's too late and you're setting yourself and the dog up for a lose/lose situation. He can't think in that state of mind, so trying to correct him is futile and only damages the relationship & gets you injured. I would stop taking him into environments that you can't control for right now and start over with his training.

I teach my dogs to focus on me, on cue in a NO distraction environment. I teach them that paying attention to me is hugely valuable. This is called engagement and it all starts with first using food and then (if the dog is toy motivated) I also use a toy. Focus and engagement is a learned skill which requires some patience and the willingness to not skip steps and put the dog in positions that set him up to fail.  Distance from any distractions is key. If he can't take food or play with you then you are too close to whatever it is that he’s distracted by.

The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog
Advanced Concepts in Motivation
Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis
Training the Recall

I would eventually use an ecollar with a dog like this, but not until I had a great relationship and very solid obedience with no hint of aggression.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you.

I hope this gives you a place to start.

Cindy Rhodes


Hello Cindy;

This is very interesting and obviously you've given us a lot to work with. We are very anxious and it was helpful to see that you agree that once he begins this behavior it's futile to continue a manual correction as it is futile. Many say "he has to learn," "make him listen," etc and I fully agree but every dog is different and I would rather make him understand what we want. He hurt his eye last night with a branch so I brought him in to the vet today, they know him very well as when he was dying and rescued he was taken there and they are the ones that called me to see if I could take him. He was sweet, loving, kissing everyone, let the vet and tech examine him completely and turned to Cujo when they tried to give him drops. I told them to simply leave him be, let him calm down, I showed him the tube, let him sniff it, and gave him his drops while he licked me. He will obviously be a great learning experience for me and I don't want to fail him. I will go through all of the links you've provided and will keep you updated. Thank you again so very much!
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This collar is not intended to give a painful correction. It is intended to take the air away from a dominant aggressive dog. More dogs are put to sleep everyday for aggression problems than they are properly trained. Killing a dog must ALWAYS be the last resort. Learning how to use a dominant dog collar can and will often make the difference between having a dog put down or ending up as a pack leader and a dog the you can live with. Some dogs will often get over-stimulated by a prong collar resulting in a more hectic and aggressive dog. The Dominant Dog Collar is designed to be used on handler aggressive or dog aggressive dogs. Using a Dominant Dog collar correctly on the takes the drive and fight out of the dog. Leerburg's Dominant Dog Collars If you have a problem with dog aggression or a dominant dogs, we recommend that you get the Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs DVD. We also have an extensive collection of articles pertaining to dominant and aggressive dogs We recommend you read the article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog written by Ed Frawley. Individuals who use this collar for handler aggression should have their dog undergo through a solid pack structure program. For adult dogs, we recommend the Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD. For puppies, we recommend the Living with Your Puppy - Establishing Pack Structure DVD. Due to government restrictions, countries such as Australia and a few in Europe do not allow the use of remote or electric collars. These dominant dog collars are a viable alternative.

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