Diffuse Awareness and Dog Aggression

Diffuse awareness

To pour in every direction.


Men are single focused which means that we only pay attention to one thing at a time. If we are watching TV, we are not really listening to what you are saying. Women have diffuse awareness, they can pay attention to lots of things. It means they don’t really do single focus. They can be focused, but in a different way to men. This is not controversial, this is the way our brains are wired.   Alison Armstrong has done some amazing work regarding this and it is very cool to read about. 


For a dog with levels of aggression, if we can start to diffuse their brain so there are many different distractions, then we may be able to lesson the focus where it is directed towards one particular dog / human  stimulation. That way, we can perhaps get more access to the brain as they are not 100% focused on what is directly ahead of them. Chad Mackin does this very well with his “Oh Sh!t” training where the dog is focused on one dog and then with the use of a long line and a helper, the owner removes themselves from the situation and the dog then looks around for the owner, thinks, “Oh Sh!t” and then goes away from the dog it was aggressing towards and hunts for his owner, thus giving it  more to focus on, instead of just the one dog. There is also a reward involved here for the dog, finding it’s owner again. 


There are certainly layers of other training techniques that need to be used, things like critical distance, +R, -P and more, however, with the removal of the handler, in this instance, the dog then needs to be more aware of what is happening around it, concentrate less on the single focus and more on everything in it’s surroundings.


A dog with fear aggression for instance, may be helped by having 5 or 6 calm dogs around it, outside or at the critical distance where there is no single focus. The saying of divide and conquer just may work in this scenario. This is one area that we tend to have a lot of success with at  group classes as we are in a “safe” environment, people have control over their dogs, we have control of the area and situations and we can work really well on all of the aspects that need to be taken care of in these situations. If you run group classes or have access to relaxed, calm and obedient dogs, this may well be something that you could look at trying. 


Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this blog and it gave you something to consider and explore!


Much Love,


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