Aggressive Demon Dog! – The problem with sensationalizing bad behavior

In this video I give my opinion on sensationalizing bad behavior in dogs. For example, exposing dogs to what they react to in order to show what the dog’s response looked like before training. Then to go so far as to also label the dog rather than the behavior, such as calling the dog Aggressive, Demonic or Stubborn. This is my opinion and it doesn’t mean anyone else’s opinion is “wrong”. I know I rarely make videos like this that are just opinion based, but I get asked a lot why I do not show the dog “behaving badly” in the beginning of videos for behavior modification. Now that I am getting back into making youtube videos I plan to make videos on such topics as reactivity, fear and aggression and now if people ask me why I don’t show the dog behaving badly I can link this video as the reply.

I actually DO have a video where I show the dog behaving badly! It was during a time when we were staying at someone else’s house and my little Chihuahua was extremely stressed by people coming and going and started to sensitize to the door. I thought at the time that filming her just that one time before training would help show people that the method works. But I have to say after filming her, I found that I had taken 50 steps back in her training, and I regretted it. That I had thought because it was my own dog it was “ok”. Anyway, lesson learned. Here is the video if you would like to see the occasion where I filmed Kiko and Tug barking at the door.

You might be wondering, how is it possible to know what to do in the training plan for behavior modification if you don’t “SEE” the actual problem? And the answer is, that if you see a dog over threshold it doesn’t tell you much at all. What you need to do is expose the dog to the different aspects of the triggers where the dog has no reaction then gradually increase the intensity of the triggers, as you train you find out what are the different aspects the dog was reacting to, but in a very methodical way where you can see just the beginning of the behavior like the dogs ears perking forward, rather than letting the dog react. (I will be making videos on this method in the future) The goal in training is to have no reactions but of course there might be times when the criteria is a little too high, but the reaction should look very mild compared to what the dog previously would do. I think it’s perfectly fine to show mistakes and what to do when you raise criteria too high or if the training session has gone on too long. But I don’t believe in setting the dog up to react to something so that you can film the behavior.

Again, this is my humble opinion and I am not discrediting anyone who believes differently.

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Happy Training!

– Emily Larlham (AKA Kikopup)

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