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  • Writer's pictureMecca Curtice, CCDT, CTDI

Aggression in Dogs 4th Annual Conference 2023

Aggression in dogs those behaviors we need to be aware of. This year was a great conference, and I took so many notes and pictures, absorbing new information. There were twelve speakers in the lineup. Some speakers, have a Ph.D. there was also Board-Certified Veterinarian Behaviorist there to speak. Others are Certified Dog Behavior Consultants and Certified Dog Trainers. This was a good combination to pull together.

Symptoms of Aggression:

• Barking

• Lunging

• Snarling

• Snapping

I've handled enough canines to have witnessed many of these. It's important to always ask the question of "WHY"? Why is the canine doing this? Could it be the breed? Is the canine getting enough enrichment? What about social, has the canine had a social life? I've met several pandemic dogs in the past couple of years that did not get it. Could it be medical? One of the first questions I will ask a client, does the dog have any underlying pain issues you are aware of? When was the last veterinarian checkup? Pain in canines can cause aggression. What about the environment? There is so much to consider and ask "WHY" is the canine doing this?

When choosing a breed of dog, it's important to understand the breed. Understanding the natural behaviors of a canine and is it's the needs being met? Will the home be a good environment for the canine? Adequate space and places to sniff and explore? There is a lot of valuable information on breeds. Look at the natural behaviors of the breed.

Dr. Kristina Spaulding Ph.D., CAAB This was the first year I heard her speak and I found her information to be so valuable and informative. I remember her words as she spoke. Think About It? What connection if any have you noticed between impulsivity and aggression? I took many notes, and I am sure I will add more to this blog on this topic. Below is information from one her slides I will share with you.

What is Impulsivity?

Red Flags

• Difficult settling

• Little to no sleep during the day

• Poor behavioral inhibition

• Low threshold for frustration

• High levels of frustration

• Temper tantrums

• Multiple issues in multiple different contexts

This gave me a whole new view on impulse control. I teach dogs impulse control, and this really had my attention. I had really never given any thought of connecting the two together. This will be in my toolbox as I do assessment on dogs. I already do exercises for the (on/ off) switch. The dog is aroused and must give a behavior then engage in the activity. I generally use a toy like a "Flirt Pole" or a toy the dog really likes. There are other calming exercises I use to help dogs. Teaching dogs' impulse control using positive reinforcement training.

Behavior modification does take time and there is never just one plan that is going to work for all dogs, because each dog is an individual. Safety is always first, management, set training plan.

Dr. Tim Lewis he was one of the speakers and recently I had taken course, where I learned about his book. Biology of Dogs: From Gonads Through Guts to Ganglia.

I completely enjoyed learning at this conference and look forward to many more. Understanding behaviors and asking "WHY"? I am located in Sheboygan, WI. and offer private one-on-one Sessions.

You can learn more about me at where I try to post new blogs.

Mecca Curtice, CDBC, CCDT, CTDI

© 2023 Mecca Curtice, Mecca's All Breed Dog Training

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