Let’s not mince words about aggression. I take on a very limited number of aggression cases, and the reason I don’t take many on is that Client Compliance is often an issue in an area where one would think owners would be most motivated to comply, namely that of dog aggression.
Aggression in dogs towards humans or other animals is a serious issue. I will guide you toward realistic expectations for your dog, which is part of the process of acknowledging and addressing that your dog may have an incipient or an ingrained aggression issue. I ask for complete client compliance with the protocols I suggest you follow and with training, as well as that a compliance Agreement be signed by the owners of dogs with aggression issues whom I agree to work with. If an owner with a dog with aggression issues does not comply fully with my dog behavior and dog training program, they will be dropped immediately as my client due to the seriousness with which I understandably approach aggression issues in dogs. This includes dogs which have been identified as fearful and apt to bite.
I may ask for a NON-REFUNDABLE payment in advance of six lessons at our first meeting, renewable at the each renewed series of three to six lessons (there are some provisions for refunds for subsequent sets of three to six lessons after your first set of lessons which we can talk about when we speak). Note that these three to six lessons are NOT part of a package and will not be discounted. I will and do terminate working with clients of aggressive dogs that do not completely follow my instructions and follow up with me as to their dog’s progress in the time required, which is within a few days of each session with me and never any longer than one week after any meeting or discussion, written or verbal, we have with regard to your dog. I will not commence work with, or continue to work with, clients that can not comply with my requirements or with those that do not have realistic expectations about the dog they live with. If you are to have any degree of success with your dog’s aggression issues, then you must commit to and take responsibility for complete compliance with my protocols, humane training methods, humane equipment recommendations (such as crates, gates, harnesses and muzzles, e.g.), management and supervision requirements, and communication requirements. You must also learn to accept and acknowledge the fact that if your dog is behaving aggressively that your dog may not become a therapy dog or be able to be shown in the ring. A trainer can not change wood into water, so to speak. While it may be that over a period of time your dog may come along very well with training and behavior modification techniques and be able to be “turned around,” the degree to which this occurs varies greatly; and, frankly, a turnaround does not happen quickly by any means, if at all.
Understand that NO trainer, no matter what he or she says, can not, nor should he or she ever, guarantee results with your dog. Any trainer well versed in canine behavior knows better than to think that they can control or guarantee with a Magic Wand any aspect of your dog’s behavior, especially in their absence, and will also know better than to guarantee the behavior of ANY living creature that has any degree of free will, cognitive awareness, and emotions and which responds and adapts to environmental and internal changes. However, when clients are compliant by following my protocols and communicating with me on schedule, most (if not all who “hang in there” and have the patience to “keep at it”) find that their dogs improve, and continue to improve to some degree over time if they maintain realistic expectations for that period of time, and continue training and behavior protocols, even after my work is done as their Trainer. In many cases I tell owners truthfully that I cannot make their dog aggressive dog ‘love’ or want to play with or even interact with every dog that comes along. Early socialization of the dog comes into play, socialization which can not be “made up” for, as does the genetic make-up of the dog which affects how the dog will respond to the world given less than ideal socialization at the opportune times in the dog’s development. The owner’s expectations for their dog need to be realistic, and I can assist you with realistic expectations and what to expect in any general amount of time for your dog. However, many dogs that are dog aggressive, e.g., can be made to tolerate the presence of other dogs or people much better, and to discontinue displaying aggression to other dogs and people under very many conditions. In some instances I have been able to help owners rehabilitate dog aggressive dogs to the point where their dogs can have a canine playmate. This is a joyful and ideal occurrence; however, I don’t “guarantee” that this level of rehabilitation will occur with any or every dog. When early socialization has been good, but the dog has suffered a traumatic event which has adversely affected how the dog behaves, often the effects of the trauma can be surmounted over time with the proper training.
Changing the attitude and behavior of a dog with aggression issues takes time. Only owners who make the commitment of time and seriously follow the requirements I have outlined in brief here will achieve any degree of success with their dog’s aggression issues.
If you have a puppy, there are LOTS of things you can do to prevent many aggression issues from occurring – things you probably won’t even think of on your own! DON’T wait to work with a trainer and behavior consultant until your dog’s problems develop or, even worse, become serious.
Beware of trainers or behaviorists that tell you they can resolve your dog’s aggression issues in one lesson, or even those that tell you how many lessons it will take to see improvement or for your issue to be “fixed” or “cured.” Dogs are living, cognitive creatures and the amount of time that improvement may be seen in varies with each dog, and also largely depends upon the compliancy of the owner and of everyone living with and interacting with the dog. I also maintain that a once aggressively-behaving dog is much like a recovering alcoholic in that the behaviors that have been extinguished can spontaneously recover, or recur, given the right situation or combination of factors and stressors. Therefore, I always recommend that the protocols I show you which have a positive effect on your dog be maintained to some degree throughout the dog’s lifetime.
Be aware that the very quick results with some dogs that you see trainers such as Cesar Millan having, also known as The Dog Whisperer, actually take more time to resolve (if, indeed, they are resolved) than they seem to be taking. Remember that The Dog Whisperer program is highly edited, and what may seem like a short amount of time for resolving a dog’s issues in edited material may actually take several hours, several weeks, or even several months. In editing, the chronology of events may have been changed. A dog that has actually regressed may be made to appear as if he’s progressed in episodes. Weeks or months are a realistic expectation, in my view, for chipping away at and resolving to any degree a dog’s aggression issues.
If at any time I feel that your dog is beyond my help and expertise, trust that I will inform you and do my best to refer you to someone who may be able to help you further. In such a case which doesn’t involve a lack of client compliance, I would of course offer a refund. It is also important that anyone dealing with the training and behavior of aggressive dogs know their limitations.
Agreeing to use my services means you are agreeing to all the terms on my Web site. If all of this seems excessively “fussy” and detailed to you, then you’ll be pleased to know that I apply the same kind of detail and “fuss” to training your dog! You’ve probably figured out that I’m a very organized, honest and responsible person, and that I have been teaching privately for quite some time! If you’re considering hiring me, then you’re probably as “fussy” about details as am I! So, I really am sympathetic to anyone who ends up with a genuine need to reschedule a session. But, many years of coaching people to train their dogs has informed me that there are always some people who try to “beat the system,” or who genuinely don’t comrehend how scheduling an appointment with an in-home trainer works. The way it works is that any appointment is part of a highly structured and challenging day for me schedule-wise, and your appointment is a time slot that will not be open for someone else when they call to schedule an appointment during a time that I’ve reserved for you. So I’ve learned to be clear and up-front about my policies, and my apologies are offered in advance to anyone who didn’t need all this information presented in quite such detail!
Please fill in the following form and press the “Send Information” button. This will send your information to Innovative Reality Dog Training & Behavior Consulting. The form must be received by the Trainer before the Trainer will speak with you about your dog’s aggression issues. When the Trainer receives your form, you will be sent an e mail acknowledgment by the Trainer inviting you to call to speak about your dog’s aggression issues. Please have an original signed copy ready for your Trainer at your first appointment, and keep a copy for your own records. Include your home, mobile, and work contact numbers so that I may call you; or feel free to call me within two days of sending me this page at 646-265-8743 if I have not been able to reach you. If I feel I can work with you and your dog’s aggression issues, I will contact you within two days of having received your information e mail from the aggression in dogs contact form. NOTE: Do not fill out this form as a “prank.” I am able to view my raw access logs which are archived and see your IP address if you’ve visited my Web site.