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Byron Katie, my spiritual teacher, who guides us to question our stressful thoughts so that we can live in the present moment and respond with clarity rather than react with stress.

Is there a guarantee?

We cannot exactly determine what the outcome will be after 12 weeks. Often, we see dogs that truly can shift out of aggression; however, because their owners cannot follow and excel at the most crucial parts of the program, their dog will not fully transform.

This disappoints us; but, we have come to see that transformation for your dog can only happen if the owner is willing to make some radical changes in their relationship to their dog.

You will be taking a leap of faith in many ways. This is an organic process with no linear path. Aggression and anxiety in dogs is not dissimiliar to reactivity and anxiety in humans. It takes a long-term, concerted effort to fully shift into balance.

What changes do I need to make to give my dog the best chance at stopping his aggression and/or reducing anxiety?

The most important aspects of this program we need you to embrace are:

1. Giving your dog an overabundance of daily exercise (2.5-3 hours per day for severely anxious dogs)

2. Solid, consistent, long-term structure in the home with a tie-down and a crate

3. Greatly reduced affection

4. Strong, neutral attitude with him all the time

5. Strong leash technique (we will teach you)

6. Daily, consistent practice implementing all that we teach you

Why does my dog have to wear a muzzle?

Any dog who has the potential to harm another dog or a person will wear a muzzle during the course of the program. We are not doing distraction or avoidance training. We are eventually going "into the fire." This means that once your dog has an understanding of certain commands and corrections, we will be working with him around his "triggers."

Our goal is not to avoid this situations any longer. We want to guide you to guide your dog how to behave in pressure situations. We will do this by gently, but firmly, teaching him how to cope with pressure. Also, how to look to you for guidance in these circumstances and how to relax, trust and even enjoy these once stressful encounters.

When the muzzle is on, he cannot harm anyone. His handler is able to show a calm and neutral presence on the leash because he knows that his dog cannot bite or hurt another. This assurance shows him you are grounded and guiding him with full clarity.

What's the relationship between a "tie-down" in the home and my dog being "dog agressive?"

Most people want a reliable dog out in the world, but do not show leadership at home.

They show him heaps of affection and allow him to roam freely even though he may be territorial, anxious or aggressive. This confuses the dog.

We teach that leadership begins in the home. When you give your dog a calming place that's all his own (with a tie-down crate), you're showing him that he is "off duty." He has no responsibility except to rest and relax.

This greatly diminishes many problem behaviors in the home. It shows the dog that this is your home and his is a part of it - not the other way around. This attitude translates to clearer messages outside of the home. Leadership is not just on the walk, rather, it's a moment by moment process of showing the dog you are always there to guide and protect him.

When will my dog be off leash?

There are too many variables in this program for me to say with assurance that your dog will be out of a muzzle and "off leash" after 12 sessions. We certainly hold that as a goal in mind and move towards it. The owner ends up being the most important common denominator in this situation.

What is more important than the final goal is to become fully present with your dog on every command, exercise and walk. This shows your dog that you are a consistant, fair and strong leader. As a great side effect in your relationship with your dog, he earns the freedom of being off leash.

My dog is not aggressive, but does not listen at all. Can you recommend a training program for him?

The Fundamental Focus Obedience Program teaches you how to become a fluid, centered handler and leader for your dog.

We cover all the most important commands that teach impulse control, focus and reliability in high distraction areas. This is a great program to build a strong, respectful relationship with your dog. It can also prevent future behavioral issues like anxiety, aggression or destructive habits.

Dogs have an innate need and desire to follow a leader. When your dog is not listening, there is a lack of respect. You dog is telling you that you cannot be trusted or relied upon for this position. Our obedience program focuses on developing a relationship that cultivates respect, trust and, of course, lots of love. We do this in a way that makes sense to the dog culture through structure in the home and strong obedience and a way of life.

I want to teach my puppy all the many commands my old dog knew. How will your training accomplish this for me?

When people first adopt a puppy, they want to form a strong bond and look forward to the dog being obedient and social. The urge for success leads to teaching the puppy lots of commands before the dog is mentally capable of excelling at the task. In other words, the command is not 100% reliable.

The puppy's brain is still developing and it is adjusting to living with aliens (human beings). Introducing too many commands early on can lead to frustration for the human and the dog.

To nurture a dog that will be obedient and social, we start by learning to read and communicate with a dog. There is limited verbal communication at first. Instead, we focus on energy and reading body language (like dogs), and then add commands.


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