Hexe and Xel two Child Aggressive Dachshunds – Pittsburgh Dog Training
Sibling aggression is a common problem, during which two dogs that are either biological or adoptive siblings show aggressive behavior toward one another. Typically, this is because they’re competing for dominance within the household. However, sometimes this aggression takes a turn and instead of growling, biting, and lunging between siblings, the dogs team up and show aggression toward an outside stimulus.
In the case of Hexe and Xel, that outside stimulus was children.
For some people, even some trainers, the immediate recommendation may be to surrender the dogs or, worse, euthanize them. But I never see a dog as a hopeless case. My knowledge in canine psychology and training methods dictates that any behavior can be modified, as long as the owner and trainer are truly dedicated.
My first impression of Hexe and Xel, during the in-home consultation, was that they suffered from anxiety and fear aggression. Children often don’t know the correct way to approach animals, and they can’t tell if an animal is frightened. Even when they met me—an experienced trainer who knows the correct way to behave around animals—they barked, nipped, and kept close to their owner.
Hexe seemed to be the leader of the pack—in a way convincing Xel to emulate his behavior. The concept of how to fix this problem was simple: establish the owner as the leader rather than Hexe. The execution was a bit more involved.
The first step was basic obedience training. Obedience training teaches a dog to respond immediately to commands such as sit, down, stay, and come. But, more importantly, it teaches the dog to keep his or her focus on the owner at all times. When the dog is constantly awaiting the owner’s cues, it’s almost impossible for them to be distracted by outside stimuli, even their own anxiety.
I taught the owner proper leash-handling techniques as a way to communicate with Hexe and Xel, and we worked on calming exercises and created some safe, quiet places where the dogs could relax.
In a relatively short amount of time, Hexe and Xel were calmer, quieter animals, and their owner felt more comfortable taking them into public and confident in controlling any situation.
We can help give you this confidence when handling your dog or dogs. Just call Three Rivers Dog Training at 800.629.7297 to learn more.