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Over the years our business has evolved a great deal. While we work with plenty of puppies and dogs who need obedience and manners help we’ve become known around the country for solving some of the worst aggression cases.
Our proprietary system taps into the dog’s natural styles and patterns of learning to help them overcome the fear and anxiety that leads them to act aggressively in the first place.
A short time ago we started working with a new case.
This is a dog that has attacked other dogs and is one of the more intensely aggressive dogs we’ve seen in a while. We decided to turn this case into a case study to show everyone just what it is we do to help these dogs.
I wasn’t planning on releasing any video until we had the entire process filmed. But sure enough, within the first five minutes of training we already had some great results. I wanted to show it off, press play below.
Our aggression formula is the process we use with dogs to overcome any type of aggression. The three steps are:
Stay tuned to the site. When the training is complete we’ll be posting the full case study.
In the mean time, check out our Curing Dog Aggression DVD program.
The owner is describing the dog’s anxiety, aggression, or otherwise nervous or anti-social behavior. I’m hearing stories of attacks, lunging, barking, running away in fear, or other such symptom of aggression or anxiety. The owner is at their wit’s end as the issues are causing them to hate going out in public, dread encounters in the street, and fear any interaction with other dogs.
Invariably the next, self-diagnosed, cause of action is blurted out,
“My dog just needs more socialization!”
The typical course of action that the owner is considering typically falls along the lines of:
Folks, forgive me as I get frank. If your dog is scared to the point of anxiety or aggression in the company of other dogs…what good will it serve your dog to be tossed in with other dogs?
If your dog acts aggressively around dogs and you keep throwing him or her around piles of other dogs at the dog park how on earth will your dog learn the skills for dealing with this stress in the company of everything that is making him stressed at a dog park?
If your dog has anxiety that manifests itself in anti-social or even violent ways, how will your dog benefit from being surrounded by a group of other dogs who are trying to be obedient and are likely a wild bunch themselves at a group obedience class?
Picture this. This may or may not be true but go with me.
You are TERRIFIED of public speaking. The very idea of it gives you cold chills and standing up in public brings on bouts of immediate vomiting.
Now imagine if your well meaning spouse or significant other simply required you to keep getting up on that stage day after day to make you get over your fear.
What do you imagine the results would be? Would you learn to get over your fear and deal with it?
Actually, that might happen. It would depend, of course, on the setting of the public speaking, the level of inner strength you had to recognize inner anguish and compartmentalize that emotion enough to overcome it, and more.
Guess what, folks?
Dogs don’t posses those self-actualizing realizations of ‘Hey, I’ve got a problem. I don’t feel good. What can I do to change this?’
No, dogs are much more instinctual animals. They are going to look for a coping mechanism for their stress and ‘dealing with the stress in a healthy and rational way’ typically isn’t in their holster.
More often than not the ‘fight or flight’ instinct will kick in and each successive return to that dog park is more terrifying than the last leading to a quicker draw from that holster into the fight or flight response.
You see, the person on stage in front of 1000 may eventually figure it out and get partially or entirely over their fear.
Or they may simply grow to dread their obligatory nightly presence in front of that crowd and simply learn to cope by public speaking, but public speaking in an awful way. Perhaps, in this imaginary scenario, their adaptation method is to simply blurt out a few unintelligible words as they quickly run off stage, therefore completing their obligation to ‘publicly speak’.
This is one of the paths I’ve seen the dog take. In the scenario where the owner insists that the dog simply needs more socialization and takes the dog to the dog park multiple times per week more often than not the dog simply keeps getting worse and quicker to make bad decisions. But in scenarios where the dog doesn’t appear to get worse more often I see them learn coping mechanisms which, plainly put, just suck.
I see that dog slinking around the dog park, doing his very best to simply avoid contact with other dogs. He’s not growing or working through a problem. He’s simply replacing one problem with another.
So what is the solution, you may ask? No more socialization? What about if that guy NEEDS to get on stage because his job depends on it.
Very good question.
The answer is not, NO SOCIALIZATION. Simply, the answer is socialization in a way that is healthy and positive.
This requires a few things:
Folks, socialization IS important. But socialization is NOT throwing your dog into a group of other dogs to hope he or she works out those stress issues on his or her own without having been taught skills for dealing. Those skills for dealing are not going to be learned at the dog park and they are not going to be learned in basic obedience classes. Happy Training!
The following question about overcoming dog aggression came in from a reader of our site-
Thanks for the quick reply, Ty!
Banzai is only aggressive toward other dogs, but absolutely loves every person he meets. We got him as a 7 month old runt from a breeder who didn’t think he would sell but then changed her mind because of his sweet nature and wanted him to have a family. He lived outside, there were other dogs, and what sold us was he was so very friendly! We also had an 8 yr old min pin (Batgirl, who we just put down @16, sniff, sniff), and thought she could use a playmate and it would help to keep her young, and they got along great! Banzai went thru his obedience class at PetSmart, and passed, and there were trips to the vet for vaccinations where he was always friendly to other dogs. Then on one particular vet visit, we were in the waiting room (we’d only had him about a month at this point) where he was friendly to other dogs, then a bigger dog comes in and he goes ballistic out of nowhere-this other dog did nothing! He had seen and been friendly to other big dogs before, so I’m not sure what precipitated this. And ever since then, it’s been ‘guard dog’ aggressiveness toward other dogs (except Batgirl!). We tried to socialize him on our own, but our attempts scared us into trying further for fear of injury to another dog (should’ve been the motivator, I know). Banzai did have TPLO surgery at 2yrs of age and there were several complications, which finally resolved in time. It explained why he was never a good walker, but even after the surgery he still will stop on a dime and lie down in the middle of a walk, but he pulls and pulls so we don’t take him really anymore. We have a huge yard but I know now that is no excuse. He sees the vet as needed as well as yearly, and takes arthritis meds regularly.
Banzai does bark at people walking by our fence, and once he was barking at a girl on her phone (we live next to a park) and she stuck out her palm, face up, and he just licked it! She laughed and petted him and shared the story with her friends (I was watching from the upstairs window, knowing she was not in harms way). A few years back a Chow Chow that lived up the street would get out and literally attack Banzai over the fence. Yes, Banzai would bark at him, but the dog was running loose and came up to our fence and Banzai was just protecting his territory. Banzai received puncture wounds from the fight and got antibiotics for his trouble. The Chow and his family moved away shortly after that, thank goodness. We have since built up the fence so this wouldn’t happen anymore.
Batgirl was the alpha for several years until her senses started to fade, but there was no aggressiveness, just ‘rudeness’, I’d say. Banzai would barrel past her running up the stairs or going into the house, sometimes knocking her aside. She would learn to step aside or hold back if she knew Banzai was coming. We would correct him or try to hold him back every time but he still did it. He would growl on their giant pet bed if she got too close, but she couldn’t hear so he just didn’t take it farther than that. They still licked each other and played together fine.
Banzai is not the most obedient– usually comes when you call him, and will chew things if not supervised, but he is very loving to all he meets.The fault lies solely with me, I take the blame for not pursuing his training further, and am ashamed of that. Why now? Well, Banzai seems lonely since Batgirl died (it’s only been 1 month), and I know that Banzai helped to keep Batgirl young and I’m hoping we can get another dog so he can stay young, too. We always respond to our pet’s medical needs, feed quality food, and play with them a lot. We also have 3 parrots, and a 100 pound tortoise who lives outside but has a shed he goes in and out from. Banzai just accepts these other animals with friendly avoidance. He never has potty accidents (sorry so random, just thought of that!).
I will follow your program to the letter, and carry on the training with our new dog, as well. Already I’m so happy to have found your program!
Here are a few ideas for helping him as a starting point:
At my Utah dog training company we get several clients per year who have two dogs, sometimes two female dogs other times two male dogs, who are fighting in the home. In most of these cases we actually find that the dogs were getting along for months or even years at a time. In most of these cases there was some sort of ‘aggression trigger’ that started one initial fight. These triggers have been varied, it could be a fight over food, over a toy or over and object in the yard. In other cases we’ve seen it happen when two dogs were hooked together.
Regardless of how it started we often see that the initial fight quickly leads to other fights and other problems. In many of these cases we’ve seen how the relationship between the two female dogs was one where there was an obvious dominant dog and an obvious submissive dog…but now the submissive dog is no longer willing to take the domineering attitude from the more dominant dog.
In any case, this is a common scenario that we run into several times a year. There can, at times, be variations with some of the variables. It’s not always two female dogs or two male dogs, perhaps it’s a mixture, or perhaps there are three dogs, but often the other elements remain the same.
While this is a common scenario we see in our training company in Salt Lake City, it’s also a common reason why dog owners invest in our dog training DVDs. One such person is Tiffani in Illinois. She invested in our training DVDs but also ordered our dog training with Skype.
A few weeks ago she and I got to work through Skype. She told me a similar story to one I’ve heard many times. She has two female dogs who aren’t getting along and she’s even had to resort to keeping them entirely separated throughout the day. I wanted to take a minute to share this blog post on exactly what protocol I take when dealing with aggression under one roof:
We’ve only just started the process but so far so good. You can see in the upper left hand corner of the article how the dogs are lying in ‘place’ close to each other. This placing in the same room will be big in helping the dogs learn to re-acclimate to each other.
Additionally Tiffani tells me, “We went on a walk this morning and we passed a dog for the first time without any noise or reaction – Yahoo!” Previously, before working on our ‘crazy man method’ for teaching proper leash walking her dog would ‘flip out’ when she saw other dogs.
She also says, “Thank you so much for working with me, it is great…. I don’t think I can ever get too much teaching in this area as I have realized that I need more work on my timing and praise. I was correcting a lot of the time but forgetting to praise when she did it right. I’m growing with her.”
The reality is, folks, that there is no need for lots of trial and error. Anything you are dealing with has already been dealt with. I wanted to share this brief case study as two dogs fighting in the same house can be a very stressful thing to deal with. We’ve got a long way to go with Tiffani and her dogs but in short order, with the right tools, the right techniques, and some good work from the owners, we’re already seeing nice results.
You can see this, too. There are always formulas and protocols to work on whatever issue you are dealing with. The key is finding the right techniques and getting to work. I encourage you to set aside any excuses that you may have previously had in not getting the right results with your dog and getting to work! Happy training.
I wanted to write a quick post to let you folks know that I’ll be coming to Birmingham, Alabama in May of 2013 during the week of May 6th. I’m honored to be invited by Rick Clark of The Barking Zone. Rick has come up with some interesting and unique ways of running his dog daycares and even offers Dog Daycare Franchises for those looking to get into the industry.
Rick and I have gotten to know each other over the years as he has been studying from my dog training DVD’s and we’ve talked about dog behavior and training. I even had the privilege to interview Rick about his business for my marketing radio show for pet business owners.
I’m excited now to be able to come down to his neck of the woods and work with him on his dog training goals but to also work with the dog owners from Birmingham and the surrounding areas on their most pressing dog training issues.
While I’m in Birmingham we’re going to be setting up group sessions and private sessions for local dog owners. Space will be very limited. For those interested please contact us to let us know of your interest and we will update you on availabilities, pricing, schedules, etc.
I’ve become known over the years for standing out with various skills. If you are in need of help in one of these areas I invite you to contact us for more information:
I invite you to come out and enjoy a workshop, private session, etc. Contact us for more information!
I’ve been hanging out on a forum recently where I’ve been speaking with dog training expert, Chad Mackin, of Pack To Basics and DePaw University Canine Campus Inc. in Illinois. I noticed that Chad kept using a term that I hadn’t heard in the dog industry and I wanted to get his take on it.
He kept talking about ‘adrenalized dogs’, ‘dogs in an adrenalized state’, and other terms relating to adrenaline.
Now, I know what adrenaline is, but I hadn’t thought of it’s relation to dog training and dog behavior. I decided to invite him onto the podcast and he was kind enough to lend me a half hour of his life to explain these terms and how they can benefit the every-day dog owner.
Overall, this is just under a half hour of a podcast jam-packed with information and tips for dog training, fixing dog destruction, fixing anti-social behaviors, aggression, and more.
If you’re dealing with any of these issues I recommend you listen with a pen and paper because you will definitely walk away with a few critical changes that you can start making today in order to see more success with your dog tomorrow.
Press play below to listen in. Enjoy!
The following question comes from a reader of our site:
Why are some dogs just flat out scared of men? I have a 2 year old husky and he’s scared of men. I don’t believe there’s any history of abuse. He’ll run away or refuses to come to men and paces back and forth frustrated.
Thanks for this question, Rachel. Dog fear is one of the biggest things I deal with in my company simply because it’s at the root of so many behavior problems. Issues like dog aggression, some destruction, anxiety behaviors, and others all find their root in fear. In order to solve these issues it’s important to understand where these issues come from.
The reality is that there are only two places that dog fear comes from:
It’s the old Nature Vs. Nurture argument that has been waging in the halls of academia forever. In fact, I find it unfortunate that many people these days are ignoring the science when it comes to dog behavior.
These days you don’t have to go far to find certain ‘breed apologists’. Just log on to your Facebook account and you’ll see your dog loving friends posting graphics about how awesome Pit Bulls are and how any aggressive Pit Bull is simply that way because the owner trained it to be that way.
This type of thinking completely ignores basic tenets of dog behavior.
Nearly everyone will agree that both nature and nurture compose the makeup behind temperament, personality, and character. Yet in the case of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, etc. people suspend this understanding in their attempts to protect their favorite breed.
Now, let me set the record straight first of all. I’m a big fan of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers (I own one), German Shepherds (I’ve owned a few) and Dobermans. And I’m not trying to tell you that ANY of these BREEDS are more prone to fear, aggression, or any other sort of behavior. But I will tell you that certain representatives of those breeds (and ALL breeds for that matter) can have larger propensities than others for fear, aggression, and other related behaviors.
I know I’m on my soapbox right now. You may be wondering why I’m off on a tangent about Pit Bulls and other powerful breeds when the question was about a Husky and fear. The reason is that people seem to be willing to accept that fear can cause bad behavior, and many of those same people are willing to accept that a Husky or a Beagle or a Labrador MAY have been born with a greater propensity for fear and that MAY be why they are acting inappropriately. But many of those same people are unwilling to accept that a Pit Bull was born with a fear issue and that is why she is acting aggressively…they seem bound and determined to blame aggression in these powerful breeds on bad owners.
This is a damaging style of thinking, though. Many of our clients own these breeds and we deal with a lot of aggression. Based on what these folks have heard many are convinced that they are awful owners and somehow ‘trained’ their Pit Bull or Rottweiler to be aggressive. The reality is, though, that they’ve been good dog owners (everyone can be better) and they did NOTHING to cause their dog’s fear or aggression. The dog was born with a greater tendency towards aggressive behavior.
The majority of the dog fear that I see for genetic reasons comes from poor breeding. Most breeders these days have no clue how to make pairings that will result in mentally sound puppies. It may be that they are breeding for looks and not temperament, it may be that they are pushing out puppies just to make a buck, or it may be that they are incompetent but these bad breeders have flooded the country with dogs who have weak nervous systems and low thresholds for dealing with stress. And, unfortunately, it is the public who is supporting their efforts by always looking for the best deal.
As I mentioned, though, genetics are just one piece of the puzzle.
Upbringing is also very important. When I’m referring to upbringing I’m typically talking about socialization.
Dogs have what I like to call a ‘socialization window’ between about 8 weeks and 6 months of age where it’s important that the dog receives the correct doses of the correct type of socialization. Errors that lead to the type of fear being described with this Husky typically fall into two categories:
Dog fear comes from what I call a ‘chaos mindset’. That means that the dog isn’t thinking when she’s reacting fearfully, she’s simply giving in to her surroundings.
The opposite of chaos in the natural world is structure, control, etc. With our clients we immediately start on a healthy diet of obedience training to overcome these fear issues. As the dog’s mind learns to focus on structure it can’t also be focusing on the subject of her fear.
Here’s the catch, though. Treat based obedience training or other such ineffective methods don’t get the job done. The only way to overcome big-time fear issues is through advanced obedience training and that simply doesn’t occur with treat training. You need a style of training that properly balances correction with motivation to show the dog that obedience is the rule but it’s also enjoyable.
The following question came in from one of our readers from our site on how to stop dog aggression:
We have a dog who is mid-size and has always been well behaved. He’s a border collie mix. As he has been indoors for more and more time over the winter he has become very protective. He starts barking at the doorbell and growls when friends or guests want to pet him.
Has even snapped at my brother-in-law after my brother-in-law continued to try to pet him again and again even after being warned with growls again and again. He turned and snapped and scared all of us.
He even trapped our neighbor in his car… Protecting their home (I was inside their home visiting his wife).
The following three steps go over my recommendations for how to stop dog aggression in this case.
The three steps I recommend in this case are:
A big majority of our clients come to us trying to figure out how to solve dog aggression. I find that in nearly all cases it comes down to structure, structure, and more structure. Structure is nature’s enemy of chaos, aggression, and anxiety.
The following question comes in from a reader of our site-
I have the same question as Brenda did on thatmutt.com. (I wrote this message there a few days ago, also.) How about if its aggression towards another dog within the household? Same method? Or what can i do? I have 3 dogs (littermates) – I will call them Dog #1, #2 and #3 to differentiate them.
We got Dog #1 at 7 weeks of age, Dog #2 at 9 months, Dog #3 at almost 11 months old. Dog #2 and Dog #3 were owned by a person who then decided they didn’t have time for them (first Dog #2, then Dog #3). Those 2 dogs did fight at times and I don’t know the exact conditions they lived in. Dog #1 was neutered at 6 months old, we had Dog #2 and Dog #3 neutered as soon as we got them. Dog #1 gets along fine with both Dog #2 and Dog #3. However, Dog #2 and Dog #3 do not. Dog #2 attacks Dog #3 for no reason (we don’t have them all together now – we alternate keeping either Dog #2 or Dog #3 in a separate room with a gate in the doorway).
We bring Dog #2 on his harness and leash multiple times per day and there are times he can lay quite close to Dog #3 with no problem but you can see/feel him wanting to attack him again. From the time we had them all loose together in the house, we know that Dog #3 does not want to fight but will if he has to. (One time the attack happened under the kitchen table and it took me a little longer to be able to get at Dog #2 enough to pull him off of Dog #3.) I do not want to/will not re-home any of these dogs. I want to do the right thing to get them to get along or if not get along, at least tolerate one another so they can live together.
I never bring them outside together because we have a large fenced in yard and a fight could break out too far of a distance from me. I realize I am lucky that I have not gotten bit when I have pulled Dog #2 off of Dog #3. It just makes no sense – when we did have them all together, they could pass one another in the doorway 9-10 times, then in a split second, the 11th time, Dog #2 would instantaneously attack Dog #3 – no advance warning whatsoever. They will all be a year old at the end of this month (Dec 2012). I have spent countless hours researching on internet for ideas but don’t want to try the wrong thing. I found Ty Brown (you!) and have seen some of his videos and they seem so down to earth and sensible. Any help would be appreciated so very, very much.
The following is my response:
For dogs with this level of aggression we recommend our curing dog aggression program.
Ty, I just had to write to tell you THANK YOU! We adopted a roughly three year old female rottweiler about two years ago and have loved having her. She is, however, 100 plus pounds of dog! While we had worked on basic commands, she would not follow them if distractions were present. Thus, they weren’t much good. We’re on week three of using your training videos and the ecollar. It has been wonderful. I only regret that we did not know about or look into this earlier. She walks at a heel, sits, a…
I have tried quite a few programs/trainers in the past and I have be honest in admitting that yours is by far the best I have ever seen. Now for the first time, I believe that I stand a good chance in solving my dogs aggression issue. I am now focusing on the obedience which I ignored and failed to understand how important it to get started and do it the way you have suggested. Yours is more realistic and not theoretical like others. Most miss the structure and way to solve problems. I have a…
Your videos are worth every penny… A true investment to training your dog!!!
I must say that your videos have helped me enormously. Charlie was hugely leash aggressive but he is now around 98% improved after only a week of me implementing your training methods! Thanks so much,
You will NOT go wrong with Ty as your dog trainer. You’ll only go wrong if you don’t have him help you with your dog. Ty is amazing and knows his stuff! Thanks Ty
Ty, I just wanted to say thanks for the training for Boo. He has just been awesome. He is so much calmer and we have been practicing the things on the list and he is doing great. I thought he was good on a leash when we went walking, but he is tons better now. I love it. I will definitely recommend you to anyone who is having pet issues. Thanks again!
I can’t tell you how much you have made my life a lot more enjoyable as well as my dogs. You truly are a Dog’s best friend. Thank you again.
People are asking us all the time what we have done to get her to obey so well. Well, we have to say all the glory goes to Ty! Thanks Ty I was at my wits ends and ready to give her away and now she is the dog we hoped for! Thank you for turning our terrorist dog into a great family dog- now only if you took teenagers for 3 weeks!!! Thanks!
Ty with DogBehavionOnline.com, helped me so much with the entire doggy process. He helped me along every step of the way, beginning with the breed of dog, to finding a reputable breeder, then finally training our newest family member. Thanks to Ty we don’t just have a dog, we have a great addition to our family.
Hi Ty, Just wanted to check in and let you know that Sierra is doing REALLY well. I am so happy with her and she is so much better behaved. It is nice to be able to sit on my front porch and have her out there with me enjoying things. She is great on trail and responds well. Overall I am so very pleased with the changes your help brought about in her behavior. Take good care and thanks again.