Home » Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog

Click to Calm

When Emma Parsons, professional trainer and canine behavior consultant, discovered that her own prized golden retriever, Ben, was aggressive toward other dogs, and that traditional remedies took his reactivity to nightmarish levels, she turned to clicker training. In the process, Parsons developed innovative and effective strategies to calm, alter, and re-shape Ben's aggressive displays. Her clicker-based strategies have since helped many of her clients successfully reduce—and even erase—their dogs' reactivity to both dogs and humans.

With more than 40 clear exercises presented in an easy-to-follow "training recipe" format, Click to Calm teaches both pet owners and experienced trainers how to:

  • Desensitize a dog to approaching stranger dogs.
  • Grab a dog's collar, without snapping from the dog.
  • Train a dog to perform canine calming signals, instead of aggressive displays, on cue.
  • Train a dog to turn and give eye contact whenever another dog approaches, to avoid leash tightening.
  • Use your own body language when under stress as a cue for your dog to remain calm.
  • And many more creative and effective uses of managing behavior through clicker training.

Parsons discusses how aggression is a behavior that, like any canine behavior, can be re-shaped with thoughtful use of marker signals and positive reinforcement. She explains how giving a previously fearful dog the empowerment of learning how to earn a click and a reward can switch the dog's jitters to joy. Full of remarkable insights and practical information, Click to Calm holds the answers for any owner who struggles with this most challenging behavior problem.


My dog is not aggressive with other dogs.  In fact, he's just the opposite.  He loves other dogs. When we train and other dogs are around, he pays no attention to me.  I am not able to get him to do much.  What can I do to get his attention?

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