My dog is very aggressive to people and other dogs, and barks a lot if it's a stranger near by. What do I do? I would like to train her to stop that when I say stop and to be quiet.
Hello Tiana, To start, teach Hoshi the "Quiet" command using the "Quiet" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once Hoshi knows the command she will be able to understand what you would like for her to do instead of barking. Because of her aggression she will likely not have the self-control to obey in situations with strangers and other dogs at first though. The next step is one of two things. If the aggression seems to be fear based, then recruit as many different friends as you can that she does not know or like, and also friends with calm dogs. Have the individual people or person-dog couples walk up to her but stay about ten feet back with people and twenty feet back with dogs. Have the person by himself or with the dog toss her treats and stand or sit there extremely calmly without looking at her at. When she starts to calm down a bit, then have the person only toss her treats when she does something good like stop barking for a second, relax a bit, want to say hi, or calm down in anyway. If you feel like she is safe to do so, then if she wants to meet the person let her when she is ready and chooses to go up to them but keep the interaction calm and do not allow petting yet. If there is any chance she will bite, then have her wear a soft silicon basket muzzle during the interaction to prevent your friend from being bitten and to prevent Hoshi from learning that she can bite. If she fights other dogs when she meets, then do not let her meet the dogs without the help of a trainer. Repeat the treat interactions with as many people as you can. One-hundred would be ideal but get as many as you can. A few is still better than none, but it will take a lot of interactions for the aggression to significantly improve. If her aggression is not fear based or if you do not feel comfortable dealing with it on your own or she is not responding to your training, then hire a professional trainer to help you. Aggression is a complex issue and can be hard to tackle by yourself. Look for a trainer who is part of a multi-trainer group and has access to calm dogs, like her own dogs or other trainer's dogs. You will want a variety of trainers to do individual sessions with Hoshi to help her get used to strangers and dogs also. Look for a trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair, well communicated discipline. Fear-based aggression can often be treated with just a positive reinforcement approach but other types of aggression often need a combination of training approaches. This trainer should also have a lot of experience with aggression. Once the aggression is less of an issue, then when Hoshi sees another dog or person and begins to bark, tell her "Quiet" and distract her. As soon as she gets quiet for just a second, praise her and give her a couple of treats. Start to also tell her "Quiet" before she barks when you spot something that she would usually bark at, and praise her and reward her while she is being quiet before she has a chance to bark. This will teach her to automatically be quiet also when she sees something rather than bark first. It will also help her to like the presence of other people and dogs more. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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