Yes, but first let me share with you how I almost peed my pants. I’ll admit it. I was nervous. Even after all the years I have been in the business, working K9 security, as an animal control officer, with shelter dogs; when I see a 125 lbs American Bulldog come after me full force, barking and showing every intention of me leaving on a stretcher, I still feel the butterflies.
A few weeks ago I met Quincy, the dog I just described above. He is five years old and his owners told me has dog aggression, scary stranger introductions, barks while they eat, and bad reactions to on leash stimuli (people, dogs, cars) meaning he is very reactive. And to top everything off, they have a baby coming in less than a month.
Luckily, they called me, a highly skilled, incredibly calm professional dog trainer with cat-like reflexes and agility.
And I almost peed my pants the first time Quincy came at me.
But I had a feeling from my years of experience that underneath Quincy was a big cream puff. So I informed the owners, Casey and Joey, we would have this big fella under control in three weeks or less. I know, a big bold claim when they had been dealing with this for five years. Did it happen? Did we get this big guy under control and calm in three weeks?
I wish I could say we did. But if I am being honest I must tell the truth. We actually did it in two weeks. The third session I brought one of my dogs and the formally uncontrollable, aggressive American Bulldog walked right past my dog. They even greeted face to face.
So how did I do it? I will tell you how but first let me share the Google review Quincy’s owners gave me:
“Quincy, our 125 lb., 5 year old American Bulldog and our family struggled with what we thought was dog aggression, stranger introductions, barking while we eat, bark at the cat etc., on leash stimuli (people, dogs, cars).
We called Eric because we are having a baby, but ended up learning more than we imagined and as another reviewer said, “it sounds corny, but it changed our lives.” After one session the barking stopped, the cat can’t figure out why he doesn’t react to her taunting and the plumber came over and I don’t think he noticed we had a dog.
After two sessions he walks without pulling and doesn’t react to cars or people, to the point I feel relaxed taking him alone at 9 months pregnant. In our third session he met a dog, and tried to play, which he hasn’t done in 4 years.
We plan to attend group classes, use what we learned daily, continue OUR confidence building and live happy and healthy with our big boy and baby on the way, which was a worry and almost impossibility before working with Eric. Couldn’t be more appreciative, rarely do things work out better than expected. Heartfelt thanks.”
– Casey, Joey, (and Quincy) Oliver, New Bedford MA
So how did we do it?
We followed the same formula I use for every dog I work with:
Relationship + Communication = Trained dog
The first step always involves showing the owners how to structure the relationship so the dog clearly understands the owners have status. This is done by controlling the dogs four basic needs.
Next step… Communication. You must communicate to your dog what you want them to do, and what you want them to STOP doing. A combination of YES and NO. A combination of positive and negative consequences. Or to put it more accurately, you must provide your dog with the INFORMATION they need to live with us (see my last blog post on this).
Once you get this straight it does NOT take months or years to help the dog. And I know Casey and Joey give me all the credit but to be honest they did all the work. There are a 168 hours in a week. 504 in three weeks.
I showed up for a total of three hours. They did the heavy lifting. I just showed up and pointed them in the right direction.
I share success stories like this with you because dogs are extremely important to us and there is nothing worse than living with a dog you love but feel can’t be helped. Your dog can be helped. With the right relationship and communication you can get the same results as Quincy.
I always offer a first time free consult for every dog I work with. The consult gives me an idea of what we are dealing with and what it will take to help the dog. So if you or someone you know needs help with their dog please request your FREE CONSULT today. You can get your free consult by filling out the form on the right.