Idea for Working on Pierson’s Dog Aggression



Dogs have been a part of my family for my entire life. The longest I’ve ever been without a dog by my side was during a three week vacation. So I understand dog behavior, and I am a good dog trainer. But I fall short in some areas, such as in dealing with dog aggressive behavior. More specifically, in dealing with Pierson’s dog aggression.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and asking questions on blogs about how to work with him. Some of the information just seems wrong and much of it makes a lot of sense. One of the methods I first learned about was in a book titled, “Feisty Fido, Help for the Leash Reactive Dog” by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen London, Ph.D. This method is now commonly called Behavior Adjustment Training or BAT. While I liked this method a lot, there was one thing that I had a difficult time with.

In order to do this training method, you have to have another person with another dog help you. Who has that kind of time? I could get a friend to help me now and then, but there is no way they would be able to help consistently until Pierson is trained. Even if I got two or three friends, something always comes up.

If I could afford it, I could hire a dog trainer who specializes in BAT. But let me be honest, I really don’t have the money for it. And I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who don’t either. There must be a way I can do this by myself.

Using BAT to Help with Dog Aggression By Yourself
Finally, someone sent me a link with information that will allow me to work with Pierson by myself and consistently. You can find the full article by Kathy Sdao HERE. She is a dog trainer and even has a dog training book available. Here is what I got out of her article and how I will use it with Pierson:

We will go to a park, a park where dogs have to be on a leash. We will hang out someplace where the sidewalk is in view but not so close that Pierson goes bananas when he sees another dog. This is called the threshold level.

Then I will use what I’ve learned from the BAT method. When Pierson sees the other dog, I will get his attention with the ‘look’ command. When he looks at me instead of the other dog, I will say ‘good boy’ and give him a treat. I believe BAT says to click then treat but I don’t use a clicker.

As Pierson gets better at turning to me whenever he sees another dog, I will reduce his threshold level by getting closer to the sidewalk where other dogs walk. As time goes by, I will eventually be able to sit right beside the sidewalk without having Pierson react at all when a dog goes by. He will look to me instead.

Since parks are often frequented by dog-lovers here in Lawrence, I will be able to consistently train him without inconveniencing my friends or emptying my pocketbook. When will we start? Well… since I hate cold weather, I have to be honest and say that we won’t start until spring. I will keep you posted. 🙂

Feisty Fido book cover

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7 Responses to “Idea for Working on Pierson’s Dog Aggression”

  1. rumpydog Says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your progress!

  2. Long Life Cats and Dogs Says:

    Wishing you all the success and looking forward to hearing how it all goes. These things do take time but I am glad you are using positive reinforcement.

  3. mollieandalfie Says:

    Can’t wait to hear how it all goes 🙂 xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  4. snoopys@snoopysdogblog Says:

    That sounds like a great plan, I hope it works well! Mum’s wondering whether to use something like that to distract me from Cats, yep, I get super interested when we see them!

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  5. aafke Says:

    Hi! I just found your website while browsing indeed for information about reactive dogs 🙂 I have also bought this book, and while i’m waiting I was reading some reviews.

    Tjido my dog is the typical friendly dog off leash but a real barker and lounger on leash… so we’ll see how that goes! I hope to read your progress soon!

    Nice website by the way! I will promote it on mine 🙂

  6. Francesca Villa Says:

    Hello Dawn. It is me Francesca from The Online Canine! I love this post, anyways Feisty Fido is one of the first books I have ever read on leash reactivity. From my experience what is really important with dealing any type of “aggression” is to never get the dog to a point where he has to reacts. Always work below threshold, and build up. I know what you are going through, unfortunatly I live in Italy. BAT hasn’t arrived here yet(I have asked around millions of trainers about it.. I seem to be the only one who knows about it). The same with LAT, and other ways with dealing with reactivity. So I pretty much have to do everything myself. PLUS most parks in my area people leave their dogs off leash so there is no way to work with counter conditioning in a more natural enviroment. Keep on doing what you doing. Teach coping skills, and on and off arousal games. Prevention, and management is the key!!

    ps Check out the book Control Unleashed it is really good!!

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