Approaches & techniques
There are several ways to heal, train or comfort a dog. And it's true, there is not one single approach, which suits every dog and every dog owner despite of philosophy based on consistency, scientific knowledge, patience and mutual respect. Yet some parts of a method will work on every dog if not working through force or pain. Even aggressive dogs, who bite people and other dogs severely, should not be trained just by breaking their spirits. If a spirit is broken for good, there's really no reason to live. Please keep that in mind, always, since many people want the best for their dog, but aren't guided properly!
Dealing with dogs, who are acting out, doesn't require techniques, which shut them down. On the other hand ignoring unappreciated or even bad behavior is not an adequate approach. Ignoring things, which are bad, will not help you modifying bad behavior. Only if an attention addict does stupid things to gain our attention, i often recommend ignoring the dog, yet it depends on how bad the behavior really is. Harmless restrictions, redirection ie teaching an alternate behavior, the win+win-game, positive experiences and step-by-step change/development, as well as a friendly, yet assertive body language and tone are of great assistance. If you overtax an aggressive or anxious dog, you will be responsible for increasing the problems.
Do not force your dog to act out! Remember, he trusts you! Besides, if your dog is as aggressive as you've been taught he will act out eventually.
If you are not coping with simple behavioral issues usually it takes a little time, due to the long time the behavior could entrench itself. Even regarding lucky cases it won't take just one lesson. Sometimes it just takes a fractional amount of the time, yet that's nothing you should expect if you're dealing with severe issues.
My task is to teach humans and dogs to build an unique bond, thus become a way better or even a dream team. Hence i am working on people and dogs. I do not use one method, i use the method which is the right one for you and your dog(s). To be precise, i am a human and dog behavior consultant, because most issues caused by dogs are rather caused by their people. If not they have been enhanced by the dog owner's behavior in many cases. Even if people just want the best for their troubled dog they often make the problem worse due to their way of handling it. Don't setting limits or pining a dog to the ground are examples for human mistakes, even though one is humane and the other one isn't. Physical prompting is one technique, still it shouldn't be if not necessary.
Yes, it happened and will happen again that a dog changes after one lesson, nevertheless that's nothing you should expect, because it's a case of perfect harmony and the right approach at the first time. If dogs feel attracted to a behavior consultant, mostly they will feel save. Therefore the perfect match will achieve something, which is eminently exceptional. The success depends on how quickly the dog's owner can evolve!
I usually don't use food for positive reinforcement, when working on dogs without their people i never do, but i am a professional, hence i have many options, which dog owners don't have, thus i will recommend using food if it is the right path for you and your dog. I am not a lure-trainer, and i will never recommend luring your dog to get him to do what he is expected to do. It works if used properly, but it is just not my philosophy. Any kind of attention, games, a dog's desires is what i use to reward the right behavior. And i am using their drives and precious goals to show them what they're expected to do. Consistency, Patience, Respect and Trust - That's my simple base. Add a large amount of physical and/or mental exercise, and we are done.
The owner must love and accept their dog for what he is, a canine mate, who needs some improvements due to OUR expectations or HIS limitations. And the dog needs to respect his owner for being his leader, because humans are carrying the responsibility. Look at yourself as a mother or father, you are an authority, but you do not have to be Mussolini! You never even have to imagine, that you are, because your dog will follow you, if you stay consistent, assertive, relaxed and trustworthy.
One the other hand i am not at all into violent and old-fashioned methods, and i am also not into the whole dominating-theory. Yes, dominant dogs do exist, yet there are far more and moreover better explanations for the behavioral issues, misbehavior and big troubles regarding to canine behavior.
When i trained my first dog, dominance was all over the place. I was 17 using positive reinforcement, without knowing the name, my calm, yet firm leadership style and consistency. I knew that i could frighten or comfort a dog just by using body language. This dog was not aggressive towards people, but he was going crazy when he met other dogs, regardless of the gender. He neither wanted to play with them nor just greet them; he wanted to tear their heads off. He seemed like a bad ass, but in fact he was scared to death. So he learned during our lessons, and i with him. A small female teenager walking and training an English-Mastiff. He never tried to pull me off my feet, he never even growled at me, and he became calm in the end.
His owner tried to be his Top Dog, the Alpha, the dominant one. He used alpha rolls, spoke harshly, didn't show his love and he never recognized that his huge dog was just a big coward due to being bred badly. Each walk was full of leash jerks and pinning his adorable dog to the ground. What happened to this giant happens to other dogs every day. Many dog owners and even a few 'behavioral experts' are not able to read (their) dogs. It's a pity, but it's natural, especially with the whole dominating-talk out there.
Most tools people can buy to train their dog do not mirror my attitude towards this wonderful species. Although not every tool mirrors punishment and pain, i know for sure there's another path. Besides, some of them should never be used without a professional looking over your shoulder!
Based on my knowledge and experience i developed some ways to redirect or admonish dogs devoid of intimidation or even fear. I am not just able to teach you how to read them right, so you will be able to recognize fear in a behavior which screams aggression, but also to become the right leader for your dog.
My work is based on scientific knowledge and many experiences. My motto: Respect isn't a one way street! I am against: Choking, shock-collars, neck-shakes (or neck-hits), strangling, flooding, alpha rolls, prong and choke collars or giving them shocks by using electric collars are NOT part of my work, NEVER.
I'm able to show you during 30 minutes how to approach a dog, who is aggressive towards people and/or other dogs. I didn't say, the problem will be solved within this period, but i will have shown you a better way to handle your aggressive dog than pinning him to the ground or giving him leash jerks. That's a promise – And i use to deliver on my promises always!
I am aware of all the dogs, who can't be changed without boundaries and consequences. Yes, some dogs will never learn how to follow orders reliably, if you don't draw consequences. Yet there are several regulations or warnings, which neither hurt a dog nor scare him. I will not describe them, because even with these simple and harmless corrections it's all about timing and redirection. People tend to try things out, even if they do not suit their dog. A sibilant for instance can have a great effect on many dogs, but some dogs can't deal with it, they get pretty scared. And others don't give a crap!
Actually there is not one approach regarding consequences, which suits all dogs, besides only giving them what they want if they do what we want. ;-) Negative punishment, btw, is something propbably all of us use. Taking away something dog likes, because he behaved badly, is negative punishment. By removing the object we want to decrease an unappreciated behavior.
Positive reinforcement, negative punishment, verbal reprimands, patience, discipline and an assertive, yet affirmative way to deal with a troubled dog is very important. Issues are to be solved for good, and we do not want them to come back or another issues instead of them.
Control does not mean to just restrict your dog, it means to find a secure and nice way to lead your life together. Controlling a dog's impulses can be achieved without any pressure, punishment and force! Body language, the right tone at the right time, SOFT Touches with fingers, joyful times on your terms, an effective sound signal used as an abort-code, relation ship work, using the dog's instincts to become a great unit, and obedience training are other pillars of my work. Positive behavior due to positive experiences is another precious part of showing troubled dogs how beautiful and free of stress or worse emotional conditions their live might be.
And if you got a dog, who is really aggressive, he might rise like a phoenix from the ashes. Or he doesn't learn to love all people or/and dogs, but he will learn not to attack them and he will feel save with you by his side! Worst case you have to extract him from encounters every once in a while by using an abort-code or redirection techniques, best case he's playing with most of the dogs you meet, avoids fights and dogs, who try to provoke him, and maybe he will be trying to get in touch with some of the people, he could not stand before. Of course it depends on the depth of the issue, your dog's personality, and your way of handling it.
Most dogs can be cured, and none of these dogs has to be punished nor scared nor forced to submit! In the canine world dogs usually submit without being physically forced to do so. All of 'my' dogs have known when it' was time to throw themselves on their backs, and i never even touched one of them! As for that matter a true leader does not harm his dog(s), he's not always the one walking in front, and he definitely does not want a robot dog, because all the fun will be gone for good.