Recommended dog aggression books, tools and resources

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Categories

BOOKS

The Dog Aggression System Every Dog Owner Needs e-book (E-book ordered on site.)

The book is now available in print and can be purchased on Amazon.

Category: Improving dog aggression through a variety of approaches including training, diet, exercise, environmental enrichment, medical issues, etc.

You need this if:

You want to learn more about treating dog aggression or add to your existing knowledge. You are looking for an owner-centric book.

Why we recommend it

Not only addresses behavior modification, but looks at a wide range of things that can be done to treat dog aggression in order to set your dog up to succeed. For example,

  • What signs can you learn to read that will help you recognize when your dog is stressed so that you can act on that before you dog becomes aggressive?
  • How can you develop your dog’s ability to control themselves?
  • How does petting your dog help or hurt them?
  • What changes in the diet might help?
  • How can making your dog’s life more interesting in a species typical way help?
  • When is medication warranted?
  • When does behavior modification go typically wrong and what you can do to avoid it.

All this and much, much more.


Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats, 1e

Category: Treating Animal Behavior Problems through training, medical issues

You need this if:

You are an advanced learner such as a trainer, veterinarian or veterinary student wanting to more about about behavioral problems from a behavioral and medical standpoint

Why we recommend it

The veterinarian’s reliable tool for helping professionals help their clients resolve pet behavior problems.


Click to calm

Category: Improving aggressive behavior through training

You need this if:

You want to learn more about improving dog aggression using clicker training.

Why we recommend it

Emma Parson’s provides step by step training exercises that you can follow and she provides practical suggestions. More than 40 exercises in an easy-to-follow training recipe formatand includes many creative and effective uses of managing behavior through clicker training.


The Power of Positive Dog Training

Category: Dog Training

You need this if:

If you are new to dog training or clicker training and would like get teach your dog using clicker training

Why we recommend it

Our favourite dog training book. Pat Miller is a highly experienced dog owner that has written numerous articles. This book is full of great information and easy to understand on positive reinforcement training and is good for beginners as well as anyone interested in getting into clicker training. This book provides a six week step by step course.


Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 1: Adaptation and Learning

Category: Dog Training, research

You need this if:

You are an advanced learner and interested in learning more. Suitable for dog trainers hungry to learn more.

Why we recommend it

This book is filled with research both from the writers perspective and historical research. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer.
** K9aggression.com does NOT recommend Volume three in this series


Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 2: Etiology and Assessment of Behavior Problems – Vol 2

Category: Improving and discussing problem behavior in dogs, research

You need this if:

Volume two of this series covers problem behavior in dogs and offers a unique perspective. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer.Full of indepth research.

Why we recommend it

Stephen Lindsay has done his homework and if you are dog trainer with a thirst for more knowledge, this book has it all. 
We do not recommend vol 3 of this series


Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog

Category: Research, genetics

You need this if:

If you are interested in more than dog training, but are also interested in breeding and other dog behavior as it relates to genetics and dogs.

Why we recommend it

The book on genetics. This is an older book but still often referred to for it’s research. Suitable for the more advanced learner or trainer. Particularly of benefit to the breeder and those with an involved interest in canine behavior.


The Bark Stops Here

Category: Improving barking through dog training

You need this if:

You have a dog who barks too much

Why we recommend it

This booklet (58 pages) focuses on addressing the underlying causes of barking in order to improve it


Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household.

Category: Improving tension in multi dog household

You need this if:

If you have a multi-dog household that isn’t work quite as well as you would like

Why we recommend it

Focuses on using positive reinforcement to teach dogs to be patient rather than pushy. Excellent for the new multiple dog owner or any dog owner that has multiple dogs that may be experiencing tension in the home between dogs.


Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog

Category: Improving leash aggression through dog training

You need this if:

If you have a dog who displays leash aggression

Why we recommend it

Leash aggression is a very common for of aggression often made worse through frustration (on both the owners and dog’s side) and punishment. Deals with on-leash aggression using positive based techniques.


Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs

Category: Improving resource guarding through dog training

You need this if:

If your dog is prone to “resource” guarding. This can help with possessive and territorial aggression.

Why we recommend it

Another book by Jean Donaldson for dogs who respond aggressively over valued items such as toys.


The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

Category: Dog Behavior

You need this if:

If you are new to dog training or want to understand dogs better.

Why we recommend it

This is a wonderful read that has as much empathy for the human as the dog. It allows us to examine ourselves and our mistakes with empathy and in a way that we can feel encouraged to handle our dogs more effectively.


Conquering Ring Nerves: A Step-by-Step Program for All Dog Sports

Category: Improving stress

You need this if:

For those dog handlers looking for ways to conquer their own nerves and anxieties while working with dogs.

Why we recommend it

This is an excellent book for anyone involved in treating their aggressive dog. Although this covers sports, many owners dealing with reactive or aggressive dogs have found this to be a truly helpful book in learning how to be calm in order to avoid transmitting our anxieties about their behavior to our dogs.

VIDEOS

YOUTUBE VIDEOS

Here are some videos on YouTube that you may also be interested in:

[VIDEO] How to Fit the Gentle Leader Like a Pro

[VIDEO] Make a Target Stick Work For You

[VIDEO] What Everyone Ought to Know About Petting Dogs

[VIDEO] Who Else Wants to Teach a Dog to Drop it?

Teaching Your Dog to “Drop”

Teaching your dog how to drop things is a far better and safer option that trying to force your dog to open his or her mouth.  The video nicely breaks down a positive way to teach this.

Settle on a mat

Settling on a mat when asked is a really valuable skill for your dog to have. The video requires your dog to have already been trained to respond to the clicker, but this is easy! The video does not actually train your dog to relax, but if you can get your dog to lie down, this will help get you there.

TOOLS FOR MANAGING DOG AGGRESSION

Head Halters

While they don’t prevent bites, head-halters can provide you with a lot of control.

They are useful tools for dealing with aggressive dogs. The Gentle Leader is probably the most popular and recommended head halter by certified behaviorists and veterinarians. There is a fitting guide on the Gentle Leader site that should be followed, as the fit is very important. Haltis (see them on Amazon) is another popular brand and there are others although they all vary slightly in their design. They are like a horse halter that straps around the nose and neck. You can find a great variety of different brands and sizes of head halters and head collars on Amazon

With all head-halters, muzzles, and harnesses, using shaping through clicker training can be really helpful to encourage the dog to willingly put their head or legs in and desensitize them to wearing it. Head-halters are not appropriate for every dog or every situation.

Learn more about using head halters or head collars for aggressive dogs.

Basket Muzzles

Basket muzzles that allow the dog to easily pant and breath as well as drink are considered the most humane muzzles to use for dogs.

The fit and brand will depend on the shape of the dogs head. Choose a version that allows clear air flow.

Typically pet stores don’t tend to have a wide selection of muzzles. You may have more success finding a muzzle at any number of online stores that specialize in making them or get basket muzzles through Amazon where they can be easily exchanged or returned if they aren’t the correct fit. Stay away from occlusion muzzles which are only meant for very short term use because dogs can not open their mouths or pant.

Muzzles should only be used when you absolutely cannot avoid the dog’s triggers. You might want to check our article on muzzles first before purchases: Controlling Dog Aggression with a Muzzle.

Gates

Indoor metal gates can be used to separate dogs from other dogs or people inside the home. Many people use baby gates, but caution should be exercised since many gates can be jumped over or destroyed. From experience we suggest a metal gate over a wooden or plastic gate so dogs can’t chew through it, and one that attaches to a wall ideally so a dog can’t push it over. It is also possible to open some of these gates with one hand which is valuable. Your dog may not be accustomed to jumping gates, but if motivated enough, they may try it.

This allows the dog to be able to see you so they don’t feel as socially isolated. On the other hand, if you are separating dogs that are aggressive towards each other, it’s probably best that they can’t see each other, so using some kind of material to block sight (such as a blanket) may help. You can find a variety of gates on Amazon to suit your purpose.

Window Clings

Window clings or film are sheets of plastic that let in light, but provide privacy. Some are simply applied by using water and a flat plastic surface to smooth out the bubbles, which make them easy to apply and remove.

These can be useful for those dogs who bark a lot and/or are anxious and hypervigilant to whatever may be going on outside, from people walking by to the wind blowing around debris.

Word of caution however, restricting the ability to see outside may be also restricting some important stimulation for those dogs. Those dogs who are left home alone during the work day and do not get that worked up by what may be outside may benefit be seeing outside.

You need to use your best judgment. The important consideration is to what degree your dog is able to relax. Some dogs can never relax knowing there may be something outside. For these dogs you may want to look into medications or other therapeutic aids that can help.

For those dogs who find it challenging to relax, or who tend to bark incessantly at everything that goes by or when the wind blows, it may be of some help. Search online to find them in your area or check out Window Clings on Amazon.

Drag Lines

Drag lines are essential lightweight leashes with no handle that can be dragged around by your pet. It allows them to range free, but gives you the opportunity of picking up the leash. 

They are handy for dogs that are aggressive towards their owners or other people as it helps you to guide your dog away if need be without getting your hands close to their mouth. Drag lines can also be used for leash training.

You can find draglines in a variety of places, including drag lines on Amazon but depending on the size of your dog you can also purchase a lightweight long dog or cat leash and cut the handle to avoid getting it snagged on your furniture.

Animal Deterrents on Amazon

Hopefully you will never have to use these, but sometimes you will want to keep an off leash dog from approaching yours if your dog is aggressive, or interrupt a pending dog fight.

We suggest that you don’t use this for training any dogs that are anxious, reactive or aggressive, but rather use it to keep other dogs or animals from approaching yours.

Pet Corrector is one brand that works by emitting a harmless hiss of air to mimic the natural warning that swans & other animals make. Petsafe Citronella spray is also another good option.

Break Sticks on Amazon

Another tool we hope you don’t need, but these definitely sounds worse than they are. Essentially these are used to pry open a dogs biting dog’s mouth that has clamped on to something or someone and doesn’t want to let go.

Generally they are used with breeds whose bite style is to bite and hold opposed to multiple biting. Those breeds that are not likely to hold, may turn and bite you if you use a break stick.

Break sticks are slid in the gap behind the teeth to pry open a dog’s jaws that may be holding on very tightly without breaking the dog’s teeth.

Snarum Noose / Catch Poles

But these tools will allow you to catch a dog without getting your hands too close to their mouth.May be useful for highly anxious dogs that you need to catch. These tools can be harmful if not used correctly. You can find Snarum noose on Amazon in some different countries (not currently the US as of writing), but there are a variety of different animal catch poles on Amazon.

THERAPEUTIC AIDS FOR EASING STRESS, ANXIETY AND AGGRESSION

There are therapeutic aids that may help reduce stress, anxiety and improve aggression in dogs from things we can alter in their environment to supplements and medications. You may wish to try some of these to reduce stress and anxiety in your dog over all, or use specific aids that will help with behavior modification.

To many options to list on this page, we’ve collected them together on their own page here: Therapeutic Aids for Dog Anxiety and Aggression.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT FOR TRAINING

PetSafe Easy Walk Harness

There are many of different dog harnesses, but we really like this one. It’s easy to put on and it doesn’t cause very much chafing. It does not take to long for your dog to get used to either. Unlike traditional harnesses, the chest strap rests low across the breastbone, not on the delicate tracheal area, so your dog does not choke or gag. Here is a YouTube video demonstrating how to put it on that was online as of the time of writing this: http://youtu.be/69rPBfh8GIA

PetSafe Treat & Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer

The original remote control treat dispenser designed be a veterinary behaviourist years ago and continually improved since.

These are on the pricey side, but come highly recommended by a number of trainers and behaviorists. Formerly, the Manners Minder is a remote control feeding tray for dogs and includes a training DVD.

The treat & Train can be used to teach a dog to run to a remote location or reward them when they are away from you. This can valuable for those dogs who tend to bark at people coming through the door. One creative trainer used the manners minder to help people her dog not to bark in her apartment building even when she wasn’t there! You can read about it here: A Creative Way to Improve Dog Barking. Genius!

Dog Training Food Tube

Feeding tubes are similar to a toothpaste tube, except you can fill it with your own choice of food for your dog such as spreadable cheese, ground meat and gravy, etc. When you need to reward the dog, simply let the dog lick the end. We’ve used these for dogs that snatch treats and tend to bite fingers accidentally (especially those excitable dogs). It also is good for those of you who work with your dogs in colder climates and prefer to keep your gloves on!

NOTE IF THE LINK TO AMAZON GOES TO YOUR LOCAL COUNTRY SITE AND DOES NOT BRING UP THE RIGHT PRODUCT, DO A SEARCH FOR “Food tubes for camping”

CAUTION Dog Collars Color and Leashes

We at K9aggression.com have yet to use these but we’ve seen them being used and think they are a great idea, too. A colored leash gets people’s attention. Every opportunity you can to encourage people to keep their distance is really helpful when training dogs.

There is actually a number of leashes, collars and harnesses on Amazon that you might consider such the “no dogs” leash or the “working” dog leash (even green “Friendly” leashes and collars for those of you who own friendly pit-bulls, German Shepherds, Doberman’s etc.).

Clickers with Wrist Straps

Using a sound marker, such as a whistle or a clicker has a long history in being used to train marine animals (after all, you can’t put a collar around a dolphin) and is now used to train all sorts of animals.

It is one of the most effective ways to train dogs in a way that is fun and stimulating for both dog and owner. The practice is being used to train horses, cats, birds, and even wild animals in captivity in order to get them to accept medical injections.

Clickers are inexpensive and can be found in many pet shops now. Any clicker will probably do, but if you have a dog that is sound sensitive and they tend to startle easily with the clicker, you might want to try a quiet clicker, such as the Karen Pryor i-Click Dog Training Clicker

Terylene Dog Training Treat Bag

These are great. When you are using a clicker and holding a leash, you may find that you need to have a treat pouch that is easy to get treats out of.

We’ve tried a few different ones and so far the kind that have a stay-open hinge top that pops open and stays open allows easy access for treats, yet at the same time snaps easily closed with a pat comes out on top for easy of use and convenience.

Simply snap it around your waist and you are ready to go. But be careful your dog doesn’t learn to pay attention only when you are wearing it. It helps to stash treat around the house so your dog never learns when he or she can ignore you.

However, you may prefer a food-grade silicone treat pouch that you can wash and if so you might be interested in check out the one below.

Dog Clicker Training Kit with Silicone Dog Training Pouch

Clip on training pouch that attaches to a waistband. Easy to access with one hand. Automatically closes after feeding.Can take wet or dry food which is convenient for those who feed train their dogs with the food they would eat for their meals.

Waterproof, magnetic buckle, food-grade silicone. Can turn it inside out to easily wash. Comes with two clickers that has a coiled wristband.

Pointer (Target stick)

Target sticks are not essential, but they can be used to train dogs to do many things, including loose leash walking. It works by teaching the dog to “target”, i.e. touch the end of the pole.

This way you can teach your dog to follow it, and as they learn you can slowly fade out the stick by making it shorter and shorter. Here is a video example of using a target stick with a dog.

There are a variety target sticks for training around but you can also simply use a teacher pointer, so have a look. You could even use a simple piece of dowling. However, the most convenient ones we found to use are those that can extend or shorten as needed. Not only does this make it more convenient to carry around, but it is useful when you start to fade it out the target during training.

Agility equipment

Now you can do dog agility training at home!

There are a couple of different reasons agility can be so useful.

The first is in strengthening the animal-human bond. The second is in providing valuable environmental enrichments.

Agility can be both great exercise for both body and mind while increasing the bond between owner and dog.

One of the other challenges owners of aggressive dogs have is how to exercise their dogs when their dogs don’t like other dogs or whose anxiety or reactivity levels go up when outside or they live in a busy area.

In addition agility can be a great activity for older tweens and teens to participate in.

There are a number of different pieces you can get on Amazon. You can also build some of these things yourself.

There is a how-to on wikiHow How to Build a Dog Agility Course. You might find this book The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility helpful as well. We recommend one of the cheaper starter kits if you are just beginning. They may not last very long, but you will be able to tell if it’s something you might enjoy before spending more.

Dog Training Shirts

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Dog owners with fearful, anxious of aggressive dogs know first hand how challenging it is to prevent people from coming too close.

Printed both front and back, we’ve designed these t-shirts and sweatshirts to attract the attention of others and communicate caution even when you are focusing on your dog. Check them out in our Shop.

FINDING AN EXPERT TO HELP, TEACH OR DIAGNOSE

You might be interested in the article Who Can Help? that discussed the different types of professionals that might help you treat your dog.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT

Research has shown that environmental enrichment has a whole lot of benefits in animals from reduced aggression, anxiety, fear and excitability to reduction of stress, as well as an improvement in learning and memory.

Affordable Agility in the BagNow you can do dog agility training at home! One of the challenges owners of aggressive dogs have is how to exercise their dogs when their dogs don’t like other dogs or are reactive on walks.

Agility can be both great exercise for both body and mind while increasing the bond between owner and dog. Agility can also be a great activity for older tweens and teens to participate in.

There are a number of different pieces you can get on Amazon. You can also build some of these things yourself. There is a how-to on wikiHow How to Build a Dog Agility Course

You might find this book The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility helpful as well.

KONG Classic Dog Toy, Large, RedKong toys have been long known for their durability, their crazy bounces and the fact that you can fill them up with a variety of foods, or even freeze them with frozen liquid. Now there is a greater variety of them than ever.


Flirt Pole Dog Exercise ToysGood for exercising your dog in your back yard or garden when you can’t get them out for a walk. There are a variety of these available.

OurPets Buster Food Cube Interactive Dog Toy, Large (Colors Vary)These are also good food puzzles toys for dogs. There are a variety of food puzzles available now. We suggest you feed as much of your dogs meals in these as possible to keep their minds busy an content. You should get a variety of different kinds of food puzzles and switch them up frequently to keep your dog interested.


The Company of Animals Boomer Ball, Large. You can find the original Boomer balls used for zoo animal’s enrichment here: Boomer BallsThese were initially created for environmental enrichment for zoos. We found these were the only toys our pitbulls could not destroy.

They come in different styles, but the classic version is hard plastic with holes at either end. You fill these up with something like kibble in a ball too big for them to get their jaws around.
Some dogs who have been trained with aversive techniques or those with some anxiety may be unwilling to investigate these toys intially. However with some encouragement may grow to love these.

They roll it around delighting in the food that comes out of it. Amazon Boomer type balls
GENETIC INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Breeding Research – 20 Year Study

Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog book, last updated in 1998, is still considered to be the landmark research project on dog behavior and how it relates to breeding.  

Based on over 20 years of work, this academic book is a must have for anyone seriously interested in dog breeds, dog training or dog behavior.

Behavioral Assessments by Breed

The Canine Behavioural Assessment & Research Questionnaire can provide you with standardized evaluations of canine temperament and behavior.

DNA testing for dogs

We like to get DNA tests for our mixed breed dogs because it’s fun and entertaining but there are also legitimate reasons for doing so.

Understanding the predominant breeds in your mixed-breed dog can be useful both for health and behavior reasons.  To learn more about genetic testing check out our articles Health and Your Mixed-breed Dog: Can Science Predict Future Problems?


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