Dogs have the ability to communicate with signals that are so subtle they are undetectable to an untrained observer and they can communicate with one another precisely. Their ability to establish social structures for cooperating along with the ability to communicate has allowed canines to survive and flourish. The pack structure is a truly elegant example of genetic and cultural evolution. Along with their keen senses, speed, agility, endurance, power and well designed teeth they have evolved communication devices to signal submission. This is the first and last line of defense among canines within their own pack. If aggression erupts between pack members, one will usually signal submission before any actual physical fighting (biting) takes place. In most cases the mere threat of physical aggression is enough to cause the more submissive of the two animals to assume a defensive-submissive posture. When this occurs the two will separate and the submissive animal will adopt an even further submissive posture supplicating the dominate animal. Dogs know instinctively how to signal and recognize submission. When a dominant animal has established it’s superiority and the submissive animal signals its willingness to give in, the dominant one backs off. This reduction of intensity in the interaction prevents and escalation to all out aggression.
Remember the first step in submitting is to adopt a defensive-submissive posture. This indicates the submissive animal’s willingness to both submit or to defend itself if necessary. Most people are completely unaware of the signals for submission. When they have dominated a dog and established superiority, they don’t recognize it as such. Many times it is at the exact moment that the dog indicates its willingness to give in by adopting the defensive-submissive posture that a person would misinterpret it as a sign of increased aggression. Instead of backing off and relieving the pressure, they increase it. When they increase the intensity the dog will go into full defensive posture and from it’s point of view begins to fight for its life.
When the above scenario leads to a dog biting a person, the dog gets labeled aggressive. It should instead be evaluated as confused and afraid. Dogs that are in relationships built on trust and understanding never do this. It is possible to within this relationship to take the food from a dog’s mouth without challenge. A basic presupposition of the “Kinship™ Training Method” is to establish an underlying relationship built on trust and understanding.
The biggest cause of aggression is simply the lack of training. Dogs that have been allowed to become too dominant cannot handle it, which causes them to become insecure, afraid, and out of balance. Being out of balance causes the dog to misinterpret normal day to day situations to be threatening and well meaning owners often aggravate the situation by correcting the dog or trying to sooth the dog. There have been many times that I have seen an owner stroking their dog and saying its okay, while the dog is being aggressive. Another problem is when owners try to correct their dog without realizing that they are being confrontational. Confrontation causes confrontation. In other words corrections cause the dog to be aggressive. NEVER CORRECT YOUR DOG AGAIN (link).
We are often called in by other professionals to work with dogs that have been evaluated as aggressive. We often find that these dogs are simply confused and afraid. The dogs have no other choices available to produce responses they can live with. They are literally fighting for their lives. We’ve seen this in puppies as well as fully adult dogs. Until the underlying relationship is reconstructed, it’s a no win situation for the dog or it’s owner. The basis for the “Kinship™ Training Method” is offering the dog alternatives that allow it to successively live with it’s owner. What started out as a no win situation becomes a win-win solution. This means shifting the underlying premise of correcting to teaching. You must teach the dog what it needs to learn to be successful. It is common to find advice for dealing with dogs displaying aggressive type behavior that inflames the behavior. Typical training techniques for dealing with dominant and aggressive dogs include:
(disclaimer: reading what’s on the next page may upset certain individuals, please do not read if you are upset by unneccesarily cruel training methods!) You can solve your dog’s aggression problems without having to do any of what’s on the next page here!
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