One of our specialties as a dog training company is behavioral rehabilitation for aggressive and fearful dogs, “red-zone dogs” as Cesar Milan calls them. We use a unique approach that focuses on addressing the root cause of the behavior, which, in most cases is fear, and then we slowly and methodically work the dog through its issues to help the dog become its best self. This is the most effective way to fix problem behaviors as it ensures the training is a long-term solution and not just a band-aid for the issue.
We are currently booked six months out and on top of that, we have a wait list that’s 6-8 months long. Behavioral training is hard work and takes a lot out of our trainers, so we space dogs out in order to ensure that our trainers aren’t overextending themselves and to ensure that every dog in training with us is getting plenty of one-on-one time with its trainer. And every day we receive messages from people seeking help for their dogs’ aggressive and reactive behaviors. I am always sorry that we cannot get them in for training when they need it, but as I see message after message with words like “it happened out of nowhere” and “he has to get fixed now or he’s going to be put down” I can’t help but think: Why now?! Why do people wait until the last minute to get help for their dogs?! The reality of it is, nothing “happens out of nowhere.” Aggression doesn’t just appear out of thin air. The problem is that people have a “No…no…no…NOW!” mindset.
No (my dog is not aggressive)
“No, my dog doesn’t have a problem.” People are often in denial that their dog has an issue when the issue first rears its ugly head. “It was the kid’s fault for getting in his face! It was my neighbor dog that started the fight! He didn’t growl at you, he was just talking!” People refuse to open their eyes to their dog’s issue and as a result, the prime time for fixing the issue vanishes into the past. (Hint: The best time to fix a behavioral issue is right away- before it gets worse, which it will inevitably do.)
No (my aggressive dog does not need help)
“No, my dog doesn’t need help.” After people realize their dog has an issue, they usually refuse to get their dog the help it needs. “It’s nothing. It’ll go away. He’s just protecting me. It’s not a big deal.” That state of denial is a dangerous place to be as it often leads to enabling the dog’s behavior, because let’s be honest- if you’re not stopping or preventing behavior, you’re allowing it.
No (I’m not paying for dog training)
“No, I’m not spending that kind of money!” It’s always dumbfounded me that, if their dog has a medical issue, people don’t blink an eye at the cost of veterinary care. They’ll drop thousands of dollars for knee replacement surgery or allergy testing or emergency surgery to ensure their dog is pain-free physically. And I think that’s great; no dog should live in pain. But when it comes to behavioral training, people get up in arms over the cost of training. Why is $5000 spent on emergency surgery a justifiable expense, yet $5000 spent on training is “outrageous”?!
(I’ve never understood why physical issues trump behavioral mental health issues. Health is health. It all matters! No dog should live in a constant state of fear, anxiety or aggression. That dog might be physically sound, but he’s not healthy. All dogs deserve to live healthy, both physically and mentally, day-in and day-out. All dogs deserve a good quality of life full of exciting and enriching life experiences. This is what good training does for dogs who suffer from behavioral issues.)
NOW! (Help me train my aggressive dog!)
So people deny their dog has an issue and then refuse to get their dog the help he needs or spend the money required to now fix their dog’s countless behavioral issues…until they change their minds. And then they become the NOW people.
“My dog needs help now! He bit the neighbor!”
“My dog needs help now or he’s going to get put down!”
“My dog attacked my child. If you can’t fix him, my husband is getting rid of him. I need help NOW!”
And what that’s implying is, “If you don’t help my dog…if you don’t make room in your schedule to FIX MY DOG…he’ll get put down and it’s YOUR fault.” And that, dear reader, is completely unfair. It is not our fault that your dog has struggled with behavioral issues for months or even years and you denied it, refused to get help and wouldn’t invest in your dog’s mental health. We do the best we can with the time and energy we have to help as many dogs as possible.
The best way to set your dog up for success will be to 1) research common behavioral issues associated with your dog’s particular breed and be proactive about preventing them and/or identifying them early and 2) pair up with a good trainer who can help you along the way as your dog matures and develops.
Good trainers can see teeny tiny red flags that can help you identify and stop issues before they become problems. I can evaluate 6-week-old puppies and tell you which puppies have a greater likelihood of developing certain behaviors compared to others. A good trainer has a trained eye.
So please, I beg you: don’t be a no, no, no, NOW dog owner. Let us help you help your dog before it’s too late!
See before and after videos of our aggressive dog training:
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