Bites can be as a gentle warning or may cause real damage. Remember, unless the dog is actually faced with a real threat, he or she, likely is over-reacting to a normal situation. Start now, even if symptoms are mild.
I love it when dogs discover their "bully" could be their best friend.
It may sound strange, but I love working with dogs that display aggressive behaviors.
Charlie's human reported that during walks, starting from 75' away, Charlie pulled, barked, and lunged at other dogs.
Walks were a chore at best. We did about 8 private sessions and Charlie stayed at camp with me for two weeks. This is his first actual face to face friendly interaction after training.
The moment that brings happy tears to my eyes is the micro-second expression on the dogs face, as if they're thinking...
"Holy cookie! I thought that dog was out to get me but he wanted to play all the time. Gosh, I feel so silly. Hey, I'll try that play bow thing I learned".
Sloppy dog smiles, tails wagging and I'm in happy tears. This can be a lot of work but its' worth every second. No force, no shocks, no pinch collars.
This training is fun. You'll love it. No kidding. Don't be afraid, take the next step. Call and tell me what's going on. I'm not scary at all.
Fin, the dog in background between his two humans, was lunging and barking at dogs on walks, as well as through fences. We did about 12 private sessions in 14 weeks. The three photos above were taken during one session. Slow, steady, desensitization and counter-conditioning (among other reward-based protocols) worked well for Fin.
My goal is not to GET Fin close to other dogs. I want Fin to WANT to get closer to other dogs. If it's his choice, he'll be happy. If he's happy, there is no reason to bark and lung. The photo below (taken a couple weeks later) shows why I call this program:
Growls to Grins
Fin continued to improve, with his human’s effort and support, working him on a regular basis to prove to him that dogs are fun, not scary.
Brandi, the Golden, is now retired from working dogs. She loved her job.
We may offer to accompany you on a visit to a Veterinarian Some medical issues can have similar symptoms to behavior issues. We test (medical vs. behavior) by using accepted Veterinary practices, however I am not a Veterinarian. I do ask that you follow through with your Veterinarian if I suggest it's appropriate and it's always a good idea to get your Veterinarian's opinion on any dog training plan by any trainer including myself.
My current belief is that most Veterinarians support thoughtful, investigation of environmental factors and modification of environment, communication styles, nutrition and implementing gentle leadership practices and reward based training to guide our dogs to more acceptable behaviors.
Making sure a medical issue is not the cause of a behavior concern is an important part of the process.