Certified, Skilled & Professional Help

Your dog is displaying aggression, now what?

Start by setting up a Comprehensive Behavior Consultation. All aggression consultations take place in the comfort of your home with Anthony De Marinis, who is an IAABC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. (Online Virtual Sessions are available as well.) Using positive reinforcement-based methods, Anthony will help provide you and your dog with some relief in a friendly and humane manner. Behavior modification and safety & management programs are designed to meet the needs of each dog and household. Anthony will NEVER use intimidation, force, fear or harmful training tools on your beloved family pet.

Behavior Modification Addresses Aggressive Behavior Such As:

  • Fear-related Aggression
  • Aggression toward people or strangers
  • Owner-directed Aggression
  • Aggression towards dogs, cats and other animals
  • Resource Guarding (possessive behavior)
  • Territorial Aggression
  • Leash Reactivity and Leash Aggression on walks, such as barking and lunging &/or biting
  • Aggressive, reactive and fearful behavior towards children
  • Aggression when being physically handled, touched &/or restrained
  • Aggressive behavior when conflicted, frustrated, overstimulated and aroused
  • Aggressive behavior between one or multiple dogs within the same home
  • Difficult Decisions: Consulting on difficult situations and potential outcomes
  • And Much More!

During the Two-Hour Comprehensive Behavior Consultation, Anthony will:

  • Get to know you and your dog with an in-depth & thorough behavior history form
  • Discuss your goals and concerns to develop a plan
  • Introduce training concepts
  • Provide helpful suggestions and information
  • Observe and evaluate your dog
  • Discuss options for behavior modification and how Anthony can help
  • Discuss safety &/or management strategies
  • Anthony will work in conjunction with your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist to provide the greatest success for your dog during the behavior modification process.
  • Implementation of strategies typically begins during the consultation

Aside from in-home consultations, Anthony also provides Online Virtual Behavior Sessions as another option for clients locally and across the country. If you do not have a qualified behavior professional near you, you can get help no matter where you live! Click here to learn more about Online Virtual Behavior Sessions. 

What is aggression?

Aggression represents a spectrum of behaviors, ranging from minor posturing to serious and dangerous attacks. Aggressive behaviors typically occur when a dog is feeling threatened, fearful, stressed, conflicted, protective, overstimulated, frustrated, angry or in pain. Dogs typically display aggressive behaviors to warn, intimidate, defend/protect and/or cause harm. In effect, aggressive behaviors serve the function of increasing distance from or cause harm to a perceived threat or danger. Aggressive behaviors range from warning signals to overt behaviors which include, but are not limited to:  lifting the lip; growling; baring teeth; snarling; lunging; muzzle punching (bumping or punching with a closed mouth); air snapping (biting the air); biting without causing injury; and biting while causing injury (to various degrees).

What is reactivity?

Reactive behavior represents an emotional response to a stimulus (i.e., the sight, sound and/or smell of something) that triggers an abnormal level of intensity (i.e., an over reaction). A common example would be a dog who barks excessively when seeing someone (the “trigger”) walking across the street. Reactive behaviors vary from dog to dog and often include barking, lunging, snarling, snapping, stiffening, hyper-vigilance, alertness, fearfulness and/or avoidance.  When dogs become reactive, the overstimulation may cause loss of their conscious control. When this happens, overreactive, frustrated and/or aroused dogs can exhibit aggressive behaviors.

 

“Animals who respond to normal stimuli with an abnormal (higher-than-normal) level of intensity. The behaviors used to ascertain reactivity (or arousal) are: alertness, restlessness, vocalization, systemic effects, displacement behaviors, and changes in solicitous behaviors.” – Dr. Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD

What is behavior modification and can it help aggressive behavior?

Behavior modification is a treatment approach for changing the undesirable behaviors that your dog exhibits. Behavior modification can address a broad range of aggressive behavior issues. After discussing your dog’s aggressive behavior and learning why they might do the things that they do, plans and protocols are created to help manage and modify the behavior(s) of concern. Behavior modification uses counter conditioning and desensitization approaches, a variety of training skills as well as implementing management and safety protocols. Behavior Modification programs are designed to meet the specific needs of each dog and household.

Does positive reinforcement training and behavior techniques work for aggressive behavior?

The quick answer to this is YES! Positive reinforcement training and behavior techniques work in a few ways:

  • Decreases behavior issues and prevents behavior issues from occurring
  • It teaches dogs what to do and how to make better choices
  • It teaches a dog to build a positive association
  • Helps reduce fear, anxiety and stress
  • Builds confidence and skills through rewarding good behavior
  • Sets clear rules & boundaries
  • DOES NOT USE physical force, intimidation, fear tactics, electric shock collars, chokers & prong collars as this can increase aggressive behavior and behavior issues.

How long will it take to fix my dogs behavior issues?

The answer to this question really depends on a variety of factors. These include:

  • What the behavior issue is
  • The severity of the problem will determine how long it can take to address a problem
  • How long the issue has gone on
  • How the issue may have been addressed prior, if at all.
  • How long it will take your dog to process and comprehend behavior modification protocols and training
  • If the owner chooses to follow through on implementation of training and behavior modification protocols

Helpful Tips for Behavior Change

Upload Video Footage

If you have any videos of the problem behaviors, it is helpful to upload them to your computer. You can also upload a couple of videos where your dog is just being him/her self, regardless if it shows any of the behavior issues. If possible, please upload videos on Youtube and make sure to select it as “Unlisted” so that it is not public. Once your appointment is scheduled, you can send Anthony an email with the links to each video. You can also upload video to Google Drive if you prefer. If none of these options work for you, just save them to your computer and Anthony can share the screen view option together during the consult. All videos will be reviewed together during the consult. If you do not have video footage of the issues, do not worry. It is NOT worth trying to provoke your dogs behavior or put yourself or your dog in harms way for video footage.

 

Keep a Behavior History Journal

In a notebook, you should be writing down specific incidents when the problem behavior(s) happens is key! You should also include what happens before and after the behavior(s) as this provides valuable information. Include as much detail as you can.

 

Understand What Your Dog Is Saying

Our dogs are constantly communicating through their body language and behavior. Understanding canine body language and communication signals is important because it can help us learn about how our dogs are feeling and why they are doing the behaviors they choose to display. Taking the time to learn about canine body language and communication signals is the first step in treating any behavior issue. Here are some credible sources of information to learn about canine body language and communication:

Certified IAABC Behavior Consultant
CBATI Certified BAT Instructor
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Michael Shikashio's Aggression in Dogs certificate of completion photo.
Family Paws Parent Education Certified Educator